Oddball Theory #1: Our Only Chorus Lies In Lucid Dreams

20 02 2009

How about we try an experiment? If you’ve heard the new Franz Ferdinand album, this won’t work as well, but you can still play along.

Here’s step one (step two is below the jump):

Franz Ferdinand - Lucid Dreams (Pre-Album Version)Listen to the original, pre-album version of “Lucid Dreams” by Franz Ferdinand, which originally streamed on their website a few months in advance of the album:

Franz Ferdinand – Lucid Dreams (Pre-Album Version) (Download) https://songsaboutradios.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/lucid-dreams.mp3″

Listen to it 3-4 times over a couple of days. Get used to it, like you might have over the few months between the release of the pre-album version and the release of the album. Sing along, get familiar with the way the song is put together. Come back and continue reading below the jump when you’re ready.

Step two:

Listen to the version of “Lucid Dreams” which appears on their new album, Tonight:Franz Ferdinand:

Franz Ferdinand – Lucid Dreams (Album Version) (Download) (Buy It) https://songsaboutradios.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/10-lucid-dreams.mp3″

Franz Ferdinand - Lucid Dreams (Album Version)Notice that we start with the middle of the pre-album version with the lines “I’m gonna give my aimless love, my angry heart, my desire / I woke with wings, from Lucid Dreams.” Wait for the chorus. Are you ready? Excited? Here it comes…

…wait, where’d it go? More importantly, what was your listening experience? Were you still playing the original chorus along in your head over the new version?

So, obviously Franz Ferdinand switched around the chorus at some point between the pre-album version. In fact, that goes right along with their account of the recording process for the album – lot’s of long jams that got sliced up, with the best parts preserved. You can still hear the sutures on the first chorus as Alex Kapranos’s voice cuts from “There is no” to “dreaming nation of you.”

Here’s the oddball theory: had FF already decided, when they leaked the pre-album version, that they were planning to change the chorus? Did they deliberately release a fake out version precisely to impact the listening experience of the album version? The effect on the chorus is to produces an effect akin to a lucid dream, i.e. a dream in which you become aware that you are dreaming. In a very peculiar way, the doubling of the chorus allows you actively apprehend the extent to which your listening experience is haunted by dreamed or imagined melodies that continue to play in your mind long after they’ve ceased to play on your iPod. As the album version defies the expectation created by the long build-up and the phrase “there is no,” the cognitive dissonance between the two choruses recapitulates the opposition between waking and dreaming.

Bonus for putting up with my ravings: the best song on Tonight, and one of the best of the year so far:

Franz Ferdinand – Ulysses (Download) https://songsaboutradios.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/01-ulysses.mp3″

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