The Killers New Album Is Anthology of Frontman’s Hometown For Better or Worse
3.9 out of 5 stars
Being a Las Vegan myself (here for 15 years now), I feel like I should really like The Killers a lot more than I do, but there is just something about their style of rock that seems totally unoriginal.
They seem to be chasing down Bruce Springsteen’s legacy of hometown rock music that recounts tales of the “good old days” in ironic and fleeting ways.
What I mean by this is that just like the Boss’s songs suggest that the days of past were “pure” where joy could be had by many, but at the same time there was a duality of bitter hatred, racism, sexism and more that lied beneath the surface.
It’s as if the process is to look at the world through rose-colored glasses all the while writing lyrics about drug abuse and other middle-class vices and culture that creates a self-destructive behavior.
No one believes that the world is all pure. I am not saying that, nor am I implying that’s what Brandon Flowers’ (lead singer and songwriter) is saying.
However, to use the duality as a crutch for song after song gets a bit stale.
Not only that, but this album is riddled with interviews of people from (assumedly) Flowers' hometown of Nephi, Utah to show just how the naivete and/or blissful ignorance is a preference of these people.
Yet, Flowers tears down the town through the subject matter, but somehow still tries to lift them up spiritually through the music.
If this isn’t classic Springsteen or John Mellencamp, then I don’t know what is.
So, while I can’t say I dislike this album (because I do like it to some extent), I just wish that The Killers would try to branch out a bit more.
Over the last 10 years or more, the music has become really folksy, which is fine in some ways (i.e. if you want to sell millions of albums), but creatively it is so bland that I just can’t get on board fully.
The best song on this album, for me, is probably “Desperate Things” which is a song that details a cop pulling over a woman who was fleeing a domestic violence situation then later the cop actually kills the abuser out of revenge.
The song is longer than all but one of the songs on the album, and it is much slower than pretty much every other song.
I think the only reason I like this song most is because I can visualize it so clearly. Whereas, with the rest of the album, I just kind of let the words come in and go out without much connection to the context or characters (except in a few spots here or there).
While Flowers does a good job of acting out the scenes as if it is a musical about Nephi’s working class using his old memories and even specific people he knew, he doesn’t seem to be giving them any sort of hope or advice or basically any reason to pull themselves together. It's just more like a grieving for a town that he grew up in.
It's almost like a musical of news reports in 11 different scenarios. The key element missing there is that it's not entertaining enough to really be drawn to for very long periods.
I get why the album is so cohesively put together, but every once in a while, you just have to step back and say, "Maybe we shouldn't have the same sound for every song on an album."
I also expect more from The Killers on each effort, and then I get disappointed for hoping something new means “something new.” Not the same type of thing but slower.
If you are a big fan of the band, you will likely enjoy this album (due to the very personal connection that Flowers has to the community and some of the people) as you have enjoyed past albums, but you may not like it as much as their first 2 albums.