Despite the best efforts from your friend group to dissuade you, you decided to dedicate four-plus years of your life to procure a Bachelor’s in English Literature. Now that the runner’s high of completing your degree has worn off, you’re probably wondering “how do I show my companions it was all worth it?” We’ve got you covered. If you’ve ever listened to Scotland’s dance-punk kings, Franz Ferdinand, you probably know that they’re huge fucking grammar nerds. We’ve compiled ten of their most pretentious-sounding songs that are practically begging for your analysis. You can finally put your degree to use and prove your friends wrong once and for all.
The title and themes of this track both reference James Joyce’s sprawling masterpiece ‘Ulysses.’ Of course, you already know this, having written your boring Master’s thesis on the 732 stream-of-consciousness behemoth during your final semester. You can spend most of this song talking about how you can’t believe your professor referred to it as ‘pedantic.’ Your guests will likely nod along while silently hoping the track’s final refrain of ‘you’re never going home’ isn’t some sort of cryptic threat.
“Dark of the Matinee”
This little ditty is a long-winded account of skipping class to make out with a newfound crush at a daytime showing of a movie we can only assume is pretentious. A rebellious act you were always too chicken-shit to commit when you were in college. While listening to this song, your friends are sure to be dazzled by your linguistic intellect when you abruptly pause it to explain the meaning of some of the track’s more high-brow words like ‘refectory’ and ‘corridor.’
Some people claim this song is about someone contemplating their life before hurling themselves off a bridge. Others argue that it was written about a rumored ‘money pit’ in Nova Scotia that taunts excavators with treasure ‘forty feet below’ no matter how far they dig. You, on the other hand, took an Analysis of Poetry class. Thanks to your studies you can confirm that, without a doubt, the lyrics are much more complex than either of those interpretations. Your pals all have tech degrees, though, so it’s doubtful they’d understand.
“The Universe Expanded”
Many know you as the English buff of the group, but they always forget that you once got a C in Theoretical Physics to fulfill your Sciences requirement. While you didn’t retain much, the chorus of this song will certainly bring you back to what you’re pretty sure is a reference to the multiverse. Talk long enough on that subject, and at least three of your buddies will be so utterly mind-blown that they forget about all the money that you owe them.
English is serious business and nobody knows it quite like you. It’s not all stern faces and analysis, though. Words can also be fun! The second verse of this excellent cut from the band’s third album details the punching of a number into a calculator to spell out a ‘dirty word.’ You guessed it… it’s ‘boobs.’ Time to dust off your old TI-84 from that one Math course you had to take and wow your dinner party guests. They’ll not only be delighted with your amazing musical taste but your incredible humor as well.
The opening track to Franz Ferdinand’s perfect debut album features a glaring grammatical error in which lead singer, Alex Kapranos, ends the introductory verse with a preposition. This didn’t bother you before, but now that you’re upwards of $50,000 in debt, it may as well be the bane of your existence. Feel free to spin this track and rant about how much the small detail bothers you. Chances are that your friends will just be relieved to have a break from hearing about your screenplay.
With a noir backing track that would suit a Bond film quite well, ‘Walk Away’ likens a melodramatic breakup to the horrors of World War II. Maybe your friends don’t know this, but like most English majors nearing their late thirties, you are becoming quite the WWII buff. That knowledge combined with your extensive ability to analyze song lyrics makes you quite the threat in regards to this song. Anyone who is actually willing to listen to you ramble about Stalin, Lenin, and the myriad of ways that evil ultimately wins when a good relationship grows cold will be riveted for hours after the final note plays.
“Darts of Pleasure”
In addition to this track being written about the sensuality of words, the outro is sung entirely in German. Many debate what the actual translation is, but most agree the line is “My name is Super-Fantastic. I drink champagne with salmon.” We don’t know about you, but that may be the hottest thing we’ve ever heard. You were so focused on English in your college years that you never bothered to learn a second language, so consider playing this track as an easy way to trick your loved ones into thinking you did. As a bonus, you’ll also be proving that English majors can be sexy.
This one is more of a personal jam that you should maybe wait to put on until you have some privacy. You’ve reminded your friends that you are the pinnacle of literary excellence, but have you really checked in with yourself? This song will have you asking yourself the big questions like “should I have picked a reasonable degree?” and “can the written word really change the world?” Just be sure to stop the track before it gets to the outro about the “Over 30s Singles Night” because as Kapranos suggests, “it’s bleak.”