No band is perfect, but The Killers come pretty close. That said, there is at least one song from each of their albums that I honestly don’t like. On Hot Fuss, it’s ‘Believe Me Natalie’, on Sam’s Town, it’s ‘My List’, on Day & Age, it’s ‘Goodnight, Travel Well’. What? Stop judging me. I bet there are tonnes of people out there who don’t like ‘A Dustland Fairytale.” No, wait, bad example. Really bad example.
Anyway, BattleBorn isn’t exactly out yet, but I’m a terrible fan and I listened to it already. What? The fools wanted to put previews on their website and let iTunes stream the whole thing. It’s not my fault I’m not in the USA or Canada and couldn’t listen to the official iTunes stream. Anyway, I’ve listened to the album – YOLO, right? (Sorry for calling you ‘fools’, my babies, I didn’t mean it, I love you all kthanksbye).
I had some mixed feelings after listening to the short clips on the website. After hearing Miss Atomic Bomb live twice, I had expected it to be my favorite track on the album, but I was sorely disappointed with the studio version in the clip. Meh. Nothing can ever beat a live verison. The next disappointment was ‘The Rising Tide’. I didn’t expect it to be amazing, but the backing track is purely grating… it’s almost as bad as Princess of China. I realized it was going to be far too difficult to pass judgement on the album without hearing the songs in full.
Roll on the next day and… (I’m not reviewing track-by-track, these are just the ones I have an opinion on so far, I’ve only listened to the full album about three times, and I can’t even tell some of the tack apart yet, that will come.)
Goodness. Freaking. Gracious. Miss Atomic Bomb is suddenly up there with River and Dustland as one of my favourites! It’s amazing how much better it sounds when I’m hearing the full version instead of a 20 second clip. Basically, I want to put this song on repeat and listen to it for the rest of my life. “Racing shadows in the moonlight, through the desert on a hot night, and for a second there we’d won, yeah we were innocent and young.’ Oh that line destroys me! I’m in danger of becoming an incoherent mess on the floor everytime I hear it. Can I get it tattooed on me? Can I get it engraved into my brain? Painted on my wall (ooh, there’s an idea)? Can I name my mother’s newest adopted stray cat Miss Atomic Bomb?
Wait, what do you mean there are other tracks on the album? Oh. Okay then. I’ll move on if I must.
I stick by what I said about Flesh and Bone after seeing it live: it’s like something out of a horror movie, and that’s a good thing! That creepy intro, the almost-menacing shouts of “flesh and bo-one”… I’m assaulted by images of car chases, street fighters and general violence. It’s brilliant. Please, Killers, continue to assault my senses. I will not complain.
Runaways – storming, epic, a better set-opener than Human could ever wish to be. Oh Brandon, if you must run away, can I come with?
A Matter of Time is another matter of pure perfection. I swear I hear some ‘50s/’60s influences… Brandon croons about Charleston Avenue and vacant starlight motels like he’s Danny Williams or something – that line wouldn’t be out of place in any song from that era, and yet it’s such an upbeat song that it might even make it onto the radio one day.
The Rising Tide is slightly better in full version than the clip. Thank goodness that horrible grating synth only kicks in during the chorus. I wish there was a bit more of a kick during the first verse: some extra drum and guitar bits when Brandon’s vocals pause, but I do like the lyrics. Everytime Brandon starts going on about neon lights I can’t help but giggle. So for that reason, I’ll stop hating on this poor song.
Deadlines and Commitments, however, is another story altogether. Oh, just make it go away! Can I scratch it off of my disc, when I get the CD? I know, I’m being melodramatic, it’s not that bad, and I’ll probably love it by tomorrow, but for now, it really gets on my damn nerves. So-so lyrics that sound like they’d fit in with a really bad 80’s comedy-drama about stressed people in an office. Just my opinion. There’s that song that I don’t like, I told you there was one on every album.
From Here On Out makes my soul so unbelievably happy. Yes, The Killers are cowboys at heart! Go on then, boys, grab those hats, mount your horses and gallop off into the setting desert sun. Grab Johnny Cash while you’re on your way (I know he’s dead, I am just joking), because he’d fit this song perfectly. Yes! County! How often is it that a stadium rock band (as missy Lauren says, a commercial band) makes a country song – and makes it well? Not very often. Let’s just say that if The Killers brought out a country album, they’d become the darlings of the genre faster than Kanye West can say “Imma let you finish”.
Be Still is lovely, quiet, calm, unexpected and beautiful. This is the part of the album where the band makes all of the people with hearts cry their little eyes out before….
BattleBorn bludgeons us into submission (yeah, I stole that line from a review of the Leeds show, it’s appropriately descriptive). What a way to end an album! I’m reeling as though I’ve just been to a concert! What an epic song. It builds slowly and then attacks the listener in a crescendo of crashing drums, guitars and vocals. It’s perfect. Yes, they’ve channeled their inner-Springsteen, but I swear they could teach The Boss a thing or two.
It’s an album of power-rock, if that’s even a genre. And if it wasn’t, The Killers have just invented it. They are flawless in vocals and instruments. Mark, Dave and Ronnie’s instruments build on each other, to be overlayed by the most distinctive voice in rock… and Brandon’s vocals are utterly impeccable.
[Edit: after 24 hours:I should really calm down, listening to one album ten times in 24 hours is probably not entirely healthy, but I’m completely addicted!] Basically, no one can ever tell me that The Killers aren’t the best band in the world, because they’ve just gone and proved that they are. In a world where even Coldplay had to become more mainstream in order to sell records, these four Nevada natives put a country song on a rock album. Enough said. The Killers win at life.