Monday, January 12, 2009

This is a good "Day & Age" for The Killers (an amateur music review)


I bought The Killers first album, Hot Fuss, in October of 2004. I remember the month because around the same time I took a trip up north to Monterey to visit my best friend who was living there with her family at the time. On the short plane ride up north, I distinctly remember listening to Hot Fuss on my pink, Sony Walkman. Having already fell in love with The Killers first single from Hot Fuss, "Sombody Told Me", I quickly warmed to the whole album and by the time I got off the plane in Monterey,I was a fan.

For me, Hot Fuss was indeed something to make a fuss about, as I will do here:

First off, Brandon Flowers is one hell of front man and his Opera like wails that are heard on such tracks as "Mr. Brightside" and "Believe me Natalie" make me want to stand on a chair and sing along with one hand on my heart and the other extended to an imaginary audience (yes I have done this). Along with packing in the long melodics, Flowers also gives us some good new-wave/dancey songs like in "Sombody Told Me" and "Change Your Mind".

As far as lyrics and sound, the stand out track for me on Hot Fuss is "Andy, You're a Star". The sexual ambiguity of the song's lyrics are kinda confusing but yet they make perfect sense at the same time. I believe, around the same time The Killers were breaking, Franz Ferdinand were also releasing tracks from their self titled album and their song, "Michael", which is also pretty damn sexy, seemed to bring back the old school gender bending days of David Bowie. Also, for a time, Brandon Flowers sported pink tuxedos and wore lip gloss... which he was able to pull off, I think. However, I'm giving too much credit to Flowers and not enough to the band as a whole.

I believe I saw The Killers twice in concert after the release of Hot Fuss. Both were great shows and the entire band really put on an excellent show, which is something that not all bands are good at.

Skipping ahead to 2006, The Killers came out with their sophomore album, Sam's Town. Now, Sam's Town was suppose to be, I think, some kind of concept album that would show case The Killers hometown of Las Vegas. From its curtain raising "Enterlude", a way of welcoming all their listeners to their city of sounds and lights, to its not so catchy "Uncle Johnny", I felt that Sam's Town was missing the lyrical power that was heard on Hot Fuss. However (big however), "Read my Mind" is one of my favorite Killers songs and its the only track that seems smooth enough to be on Hot Fuss. Oh and yes, I did see The Killers a third time when they went on tour to promote Sam's Town.

Now The Killers are back with Day & Age, released in late 2008. I admit that I did not hear the first single from the album till weeks after it came out and when I finally did hear it I was kind of indifferent about it. It took me awhile to be able to listen to the entire album but after getting through it 5 or 6 times I knew I could say it was just as good as 2004's Hot Fuss.

Riding on the coat tails of the Las Vegas/ Southwest themed songs of Sam's Town, some of the tracks on Day & Age seem to be, like a fine wine, day and aged to perfection as opposed to some of the lack luster songs found on the sophomore album. For example, "Joy Ride", which has wonderful, descriptive, desert lyrics-" The desert wind is howling /Rattlesnakes and romance/Are spilling with the rain/Candy apple red dress/Bleeding when she kissed me". "Joy Ride" also features some awesome 80s- esc saxophone sounds which makes you want to say to yourself " did I just hear a saxophone in there?!". Of course the first single off the album, "Human", is a great pop song that grabs listeners and makes them answer the question "are we human or are we dancer" but listeners will find so much more in the lyrics and synth sounds of the other songs throughout the album.

Day & Age is close enough to the successes of Hot Fuss while still being faraway enough to be innovative and fresh. If I was a real music reviewer and not an amateur I would give Day& Age 4 and a half starts out of 5

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