Franz Ferdinand have spoken about how the 2001 film Enemy At The Gates inspired their classic hit ‘Take Me Out’.
The band’s frontman Alex Kapranos broke down the writing and recording process of the 2004 single during the latest episode of the Song Exploder podcast (released yesterday, January 26).
“The night before [the idea emerged] I’d watched a film called Enemy At The Gates, and it’s set during the Second World War around the siege of Stalingrad. One of the themes of the film is this stand-off between two snipers,” he explained.
“Jude Law is the Soviet sniper and Ed Harris is the evil Nazi. They’re both kind of tucked away, hidden from each other, waiting for the other to make a move and expose themselves. ‘Cause as soon as the other makes a move, the other will know where they are and will take them out.”
Kapranos went on to say that the Jean-Jacques Annaud-directed movie was “fresh in my head” when he was “mucking about” on what would eventually become ‘Take Me Out’, which featured on the group’s self-titled debut album.
“This image of the two snipers left quite an impact on me; it felt like a very good metaphor for the kind of romantic situations that we sometimes find ourselves in,” he continued.
“You know, where you both know you’re into the other but no one wants to kind of, like, expose their vulnerability and make a move, and let the other know how they feel. And so I could write [the song] so you can’t really tell what I’m talking about.
“Am I talking about snipers or am I talking about some kind of romantic situation?”
The singer also explained that he used the war imagery for the track, revealing that the earworm guitar line was inspired by the work of US blues musician Howling Wolf: “I always loved the way that he would sing to the guitar and then the guitar would sing back to him.”
As for the single’s title and chorus, Kapranos said: “Are you asking me to take you out on a date, or are you asking me to take you out with a bullet? I always loved that in a song lyric; a degree of ambiguity and immediacy, simultaneously.”
You can listen to Franz Ferdinand’s episode of Song Exploder in full above.
Franz Ferdinand are due to release a ‘best of’ album, ‘Hits To The Head’, on March 11 ahead of a UK and European ‘Greatest Hits’ tour. The band have shared two new singles from the record: ‘Billy Goodbye’ and ‘Curious’.