2006, Island/Def Jam
Ah, The Killers, we were all obsessed at one point with Hot Fuss with it's uncanny catchiness. It had hip, headbobbing melodies and glamorous lyrics. It was very different from anything else we had pretty much heard in a long time and needless to say, made us very interested in what they were gonna do next. Well, here it is and damn if we're not disappointed. Sometimes instant success can hurt a band and rather going with how they feel and putting their own emotion into it they end up trying too hard.
It's not that this album sucks because it doesn't. It's undeniably catchy albeit overdone at times and it's enjoyable to listen to. The real problem with this album is that it doesn't feel like the band put their hearts into it. It feels like a lot of ego and too much testosterone was put into it. Glam-rock doesn't need ego and testosterone, it needs sex, drugs, alcohol, and past regrets. The lyrics on this album feel more like an artist attempting to sound intelligent and experienced than really just writing from the heart. It's very retrospective and these guys are still kids. They are singing about the past when they basically have no past. They should be singing about learning experiences and the future. 2 pictures in the album artwork very much show a band that's trying too hard and thinks it's bigger than what it really is: the back cover looks like a band that thinks they are U2 and then one of the pictures on the inside shows all the band members floating a few feet above the ground, which is cool if you're Pink Floyd.
Songs like "Read My Mind" and "Bones" are undeniably catchy and have fantastic melodies but have repetitive lyrics and lack substance. "Uncle Jonny" feels like a personal experience the singer never had and "Bling (Confession Of A King)" is a ridiculous enough of a song title that I practically don't want to like it even though it is one of the strongest tracks on the album. "My List" shows a band not very good at writing a slow power ballad. Another I should point out is the order of the songs on this album. "Sam's Town" is a big bold song that's probably one of the best on the album but it should be places somewhere towards the end of the albums if not at the end. The "enterlude" and "exitlude" are both unnecessary and uncreative. The placing of "enterlude" is akin to a movie with an action sequence to start the film and then the credits. This is music and that is just not needed.
Sometimes a band feels they need to make that one album that will make them legendary versus creating an overall body of work that spans an entire career. Sometime sticking to a formula is a good thing and doesn't need to be meddled with and sometimes progression is a good thing but only in small doses. Radiohead did that but was lucky enough to make a few classic albums before getting too big for themselves and going off the deep end. Here's hoping The Killers have a humbling experience and realize that being yourself is a good thing before they record a new album.
Key Tracks: This River Is Wild, When You Were Young, Bling (Confessions Of A King)
Monday, November 06, 2006