Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Sam's Town"

Apparently there has been a lot of hype surrounding the new Killers album, including brash declarations of “the best album of the last 20 years” from their singer, Brandon Flowers. I’m glad I wasn’t aware of those statements when they were first said (I was most likely drowned in schoolwork), because they bother me less viewed in retrospect. Hype is typically overblown and wrong. When I purchased the new album, though, I tried to force any preconceived notion out of my head because, as I’ve mentioned before, the Killers’ first album was one song short of perfection, and there was no reason for this to be any different.

The short verdict is this: “Sam’s Town” is excellent, and one of the best albums I’ve heard this year – but it’s not quite as good as “Hot Fuss.”

What made “Hot Fuss” so excellent was the incredible consistency with which songs would immediately capture you and make you want to listen to them on repeat, over and over again. It took me a good week to get past the 4th song on that album because the opening songs were so fantastic that I just had to hear them again. “Sam’s Town” has a different feel to it from the first song, the title track, which ramps up in a grandiose sort of way. Whereas before we felt like we were about to go on a fun ride, this time we’re being told that we’re part of something really BIG. But that’s okay, because as soon as you hear “Why do you waste my time?” in the first chorus of the first song, you realize that a lot of these are going to be stuck in your head as well.

Of course, after the title track, we move on to the “Enterlude,” which is harmless but also useless. And come on, this isn’t a rap album featuring 46 tracks, 17 of which are songs and the rest is nonsense. We could do without the fluff and with a couple more real tracks. On a bright(side)er note, there are no songs on the album which totally suck, like “Everything Will Be Alright” from the first album. I’d point out a couple tracks that I don’t particularly care for at this point, but I’m know to be fickle and pull 180s on these things, so I’ll refrain. However, I will say that my favorite couple songs at the moment are “For Reasons Unknown” and “Read My Mind.” There has been a lot of talk about Flowers’ desire to channel The Boss and U2 on this album, and I have to say, when I heard “and these lips, they don’t kiss, they don’t kiss the way they used to” that’s the first time I heard Boss influence, and “When You Were Young” has a very obvious U2 feel about it. But they actually pull it off.

As a whole, The Killers shot for the sky on this one, and they didn’t get there. But they got pretty damn close. And at the end of the day, “Sam’s Town” is what I’m currently listening to, on repeat, over and over again.


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