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When We Were Young
on 21 September 2012
There comes a time when you reach a certain age with music and realise that you're not going to jump up and down screaming anymore, asking what the hell was that I just heard on the radio... and where can I get it!? Gone are the days when the first riff of Smells like Teen Spirit turned you to jelly, the opening chords of Teenage Kicks left you feeling dizzy with excitement, and the clanging chimes of Born to Run made you pump your fists in the air with delight. Maybe it's age, maybe it's a rather jaded, cynical outlook we have with the music industry, if not life, these days that turns those of us of a certain generation to more contemplative reactions. So it was that I invested in the new Killers album, took one look at the cover and honestly cringed and laughed out loud all at the same time. People don't commission artists to make record sleeves like this anymore surely... do they? Horses, mountains, open roads, chinks of light beyond the threatening sky. This went out with Meat Loaf didn't it? Boston, Kansas? Any American band named after somewhere?! This can't be good, I thought. And then I started playing the record; and from beginning to end, I had a smile on my face. It was all instantly recognisable, clichéd in places, yes, stretching the bounds of even this band's ironic credibility, certainly.
But then on Runaways I suddenly found my hands holding that imaginary guitar again and powering those chords through "you know this is real babe why you want to fight it?". On Here with Me, was that really my arms in the air moving in time to "spent the summer, laying out in the sun, time went so slow"? Wait a minute, is that the sound of a crescendo building on Miss Atomic Bomb? I AM 18 again, going down to the pub with my mates, basking in the endless summer, listening to "the heart of a girl, seeing the time dripping down the clock, reminding us of a place from where we came."
Of course it's all nonsense, none of it is real. Rock music never has been. I've spent enough time in the United States to know that I've never chased a stallion down an open road on the way to Monument Valley. But I once dreamed of doing it growing up in a small town wondering if I'd ever see what Bruce saw in his songs! And now with Battle Born, The Killers have brought me back to that state of mind and will no doubt do so in the future every time I indulge in this record for forty minutes or so. Now that is what rock music is for! Recommended.