As you may know, good ol’ Franz Ferdinand released a new album in the beginning of this year, called “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand”. The first single from the album was released in January and was called “Ulysses”. While it was a pretty neat lil’ track, I was a bit surprised when I heard the second single from the album, released this month, called “No You Girls”, since it seems vastly different — at least musically. While “Ulysses” presented us with a slower beat and more silent parts, this is really one of the most upbeat singles I’ve ever heard from the big F-band. Right from the start, you’re presented with an incredibly groovy mix of various guitar riffs that only accelerate during the chorus — which by the way is sure to stay in your head for the rest of the day, like it or not. It even goes to the point that Wikipedia categorizes it as “dance-rock”, which really doesn’t sound incorrect. This is a song that has really hit me, and I found myself dancing everytime this little tune happened to appear on the radio.
They say the album is a concept album, “loosely” based on a night of partying and the events and effects afterwards. Now, I have not had the chance to listen to the album its entirety, but still — let’s play along. What meaning could the song possibly convey? One thing’s for sure: We’re at the height of the party in this song, primarily due to the aforementioned upbeat nature of the track. But here is where it gets interesting: Because, from looking at the lyrics, the meaning of the song doesn’t seem to be as happy or as upbeat as the music implies. A classic case of things not being as they immediately seem, really. When you dive into the lyrics, it’s pretty clear that this is a song about miscommunication between different genders at young insecure ages, and the generalizing statements that result from this (“No you girls never know how you make a boy feel”). The internet also tells me that the song is inspired by a first kiss between a boy and a girl at a young age and the misunderstandings connected with this, so it seems to be pretty verified that that is the case. (And that is always good; you can’t always count on anything related to the meaning of a song being actually verified.)
Going over the various parts of the song, it seems that in the beginning he wants a little more of her that she wants of him, highlighted in the sudden full stop and change of lyrical course in the first verse; “… you know you know that yes I love — I mean I’d love to get to know you”. He’s not all particularly pleased by this; claiming that (and this is the chorus) the girls “never know” how they make a boy feel. However, an interesting twist arrives later in the song where he realizes he’s been saying (and thinking) stupid and shallow things, and with his own words, ironically because he never wonders how the girl feels. At the end he concludes that the boys never care how the girl feels — as opposed to the girls that just don’t know. Not caring probably appears to most people as being the worser crime, and thus he feels what he does is worse than what she does — and that’s interesting.
The whole song is about looking at things in a different light than intended, and then suddenly it is very appropriate that there later on the album appears a song called “Katherine Kiss Me” (listen →) that appears to be another angle at the same situation. That’s even more interesting: It’s much more tender and intimate version — as an example, we find out what the name of the girl is, and after that, “No You Girls” suddenly stands back there looking incredibly shallow for not even mentioning the name of the damn girl. Additionally, in the slower version, he admits his mistakes right off the bat in the first verse. The much more slow and less upbeat version also seems to indicate that this situation (assuming it’s the same one) may not actually have been occuring during the height of the party. But that raises the question: What was the person that experienced it as the height of the party seeing, that the other angle didn’t catch? Or vice versa? Is the angle in “Katherine Kiss Me” just so swallowed by the situation that the party going on right next to them just doesn’t matter any more? (And is that good or bad?) Or perhaps the situation occurs right outside of the party building, as could be hinted in the cover image? This we may never know for sure.
But looking back on it all, this is a very great track that just gets in your head and stays there. And then it’s really not a problem that it has a fascinating depth as well; one that you really don’t notice at first.
Tip o’ my hat to the clever guys over at SongMeanings.