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.
on 20 September 2012
I like this album. It's not original as such though. My first listens 'frightened me' with sounds of Voyager, Meatloaf, U2, Wilburys, Kate Bush, The Waterboys etc as some others have mentioned. These guys have really swiped (ahem, been influenced by) a number of sounds from other artists. Then I took a deep breath.
This was not the first time the Killers have done this to me. I loved Hot Fuss and Sam's town. When I got Day and Age, I think I threw it across the room after the second listen..I think it may have been the Copacabana(!) sounds of Joyride? It took me a year or two to get over that, then I saw the Albert Hall concert and realised they were still awesome and I actually liked D&A!
So what of this album? The problem is everyone expects to hear a new album the same as the last (or the one they like). In this case everyone wants the edgey Killer sound of old. Well it ain't going to happen, you are only cool for so long. It doesn't mean you a crap, just that you have developed. The old songs are still there, its a case of putting the new songs alongside them and admiring them as a collection of work. The songs of Battle Born take a while to love but then you appreciate the little licks, the lyrics and realise it is good. If they kept playing the same 'song' you would get bored and hate them for that to! You can't write Mr Brightside twice. Songs of that standard just mean the Killers will always be around. The only way you can judge the album is with time. Every great artist has duffers, it doesn't negate them as an artist, you just have to make sure you haven't missed a gem along the way.
As it is, I think this is a strong album. I give it 4 star now after 4 days of constant play. I don't think there is a bad track on it especially, if you can get past the "where have I heard this intro from..." I think a lot of the tracks will sit well with the others when they play live on their upcoming tour.
on 11 February 2016
Arrived two days after I ordered it, great service. The main packet was rather large for two CDs but easy to open. This CD had a handy opening tab. The Killers, though, a great band, I have a couple of albums and ordered this one after listening again to their concert, aired on the 'Artists Den'.
on 23 January 2016
Pretty good album. I loved "Hot Fuss" and "Sam's Town" for different reasons (synth/indie pop classic; Springsteen meets Waterboys) but found "Day and Age" annoyingly arranged/produced. This is a mid-point.
on 8 November 2012
Having just listened to Bob Dylans "Tempest" which was total crap it was so refreshing to listen to The Killers. Brandon Flowers vocals are superb and there was not one track on the c.d. that I did'nt like. At least you know what you're going to get with the Killers and they did not disappoint and I can't wait to play it again.
A good yard stick of a good album, I find, is if you want to play it again after having first listened to it.I certainly can't wait to play it again only this time a lot louder. If you like the Killers you will not be disappointed and if you have not listened to them before I would describe them as Rock with melody, fab, enjoy.
on 27 December 2012
Immediately, the most interesting track is "Flesh and Bones" which carries on the themes of "Human" from "Day and Age". Interesting lyrics almost veering in to Bono/U2 territory. The synthesiser square wave beep at the beginning of track reminded me of the BBC Micro/ZX Spectrum games in the home computing boom of the 1980's. It an more advanced song than "Human" for the musicality inclined. There is more lyrical syncopation and vocally call-and-response in this one.
Second track is "Here With Me" which is the ballad of the album. It will be great for the travelling salesperson, or people who have romantic distance relationship. The track is very well produced and the orchestral arrangements are spot on. A great stand-out for the twenty first century and the tens beyond on doubt.
Third track for "Deadlines and Commitments". The lyrics will appeal to anybody who struggles to keep different people in their life happy, anyone who has make trade-offs in business, leisures or manages teams. The music will appeal to those who have fallen on hard times, I think; particularly those unlucky to be laid off from work, because Brandon gives you the lift to carry on.
Four track for me is a tie between "Miss Atomic Bomb" and the title track "Battle Born"; I am slightly warming to both of them. The former appeals to fellows have known a feisty maiden or two. The latter is again another anthemic strut for anyone about to go war, who trains in the gym, who wants to fight back against "The Man" (or "The System") or just wants to let rip with a safe manner behind closed down whilst pumping their fist or something.
on 25 September 2012
A confession: no matter how much I hate to admit it, I never quite forgave The Killers for the disappointment that was Day & Age.
I love The Killers and I hate it when I have to say that I don't like one of their songs. A little like a devout Christian considering the potholes in God's Creation, at first I assumed that Day & Age, as produce of the Killers, was inherently and indisputably good. The Killers made it and saw that it was good. The Killers, up until that point, had done everything right and my deductive reasoning led me to the erroneous conclusion that any doubts about the third album were my problem and, ultimately, wrong. I simply wasn't listening well enough.
Yet the more that I did listen, the more convinced I became that I was in fact tragically correct. The strikingly prominent album identities that Hot Fuss (New Vegas: angst-ridden confessions amidst roaring swirls of melodic bliss, unashamed drumming and, of course, synths synths synths) and Sam's Town (Old Vegas: a relatively quieter but equally perfect exploration, via lyrical perfection and nostalgia, of misty, cryptic memories and ideas) boasted were missing - in their place lay eleven decent songs about as disconnected from each other as my right thumbnail is from Nelson Mandela's toothpick. There was no cohesion or connection, no palpable sense of darkness within the songs and ultimately nothing which made me remotely passionate about the album in the way I expected I would be. Thus Day & Age gathered dust and, particularly after Flowers' solo album Flamingo, I turned sceptical and very slightly saddened by what I considered to be the fall of four great gods.
This is not a review of Day & Age, nor is it purporting to be - but an analysis of the situation pre-Battle Born is critical to any real consideration of the fourth album, especially given the sheer magnitude of the wait between the two records, the disappointment and dust left in the wake of Day & Age having hovered in the air for four years. For Battle Born could have gone one of two ways: back to the contented and spineless Day & Age way of doing things, or, a bit further back, towards some kind of new Hot Fuss/Sam's Town musical salvation. And it was with this sense of trepidation that I purchased and listened to Battle Born.
The answer? Battle Born is definitely a step, perhaps a jump, in the right direction. Without wanting to sound vague or unhelpful, the album `feels' right. The songs blend well, yet the precise identity of Battle Born is harder to sum up than that of Hot Fuss or Sam's Town; it plays like a triumphant, defiant hybrid of the two of them. The lyrical brilliance and darkness is (albeit with a few lapses into cliché and stilted rhyme) just about back, as is Flowers' vocal dynamism - "No you can't escape the rising of the tide," he sings both regretfully and with an overt sense of weariness and surrender. The vigour, passion and sense of cohesion which seemed to elude Day & Age have all been resuscitated (particularly present in the standout tracks, Flesh and Bone, The Rising Tide and title track Battle Born) and whilst the rest of Battle Born is more of a grower than its two earliest predecessors, I like to think that this was the Killers' intention. The Killers have matured and so has their music - a little more understated, a little less flashy, Battle Born is in itself a good, solid album. No, it isn't Hot Fuss and no, it isn't Sam's Town either; Battle Born is an implicit acknowledgement that these albums have been done and a precise regurgitation won't happen. Clichés and a couple of iffy tracks (Deadlines and Commitments is still growing on me, a week on) are all that bring Battle Born down.
The soul of The Killers, their essence, has returned - and, thankfully, so has my faith.
on 22 September 2012
There were signs on Day and Age that the Killers were going to become a fully fledged commercial pop band and unfortunately this latest offering proves that's what they are today. Being a fan of Hot Fuss and Sams Town I was hoping that the last album was just a blip but Battle Born is more akin to its predecessor than the first two. The killer songs have long gone and replaced with what is best described as an album of power ballads. Flesh and Bones and the only tracks that you could say live up to the standard of songs that the band have previously produced whilst the rest fails to light a real spark. Of the rest I quite like 'Deadlines and Commitments' and 'Be Still' for its uplifting but slightly cheesy chorus but amongst these tracks there needed to be some faster grab your attention attitude tracks. This isn't a bad album which is why ive scored it a 3, but it not what most fans are looking for from the KIllers and I think a lot of the original fans will now leave the band behind in favour of bands that are more energetic and fresher sounding. This album sounds like it could have been produced by 80s band 'The Cars'. Not sure what's next for the KIllers but they'redefinitely not the cool band anymore that they once were. It's a bit strange that a band that has only really been on the scene for 7 years can churn out a slightly washed up sound so quickly. I guess 7 years is a long time in the music industry!
I held out on immediately listening to The Killers' 2012 album 'Battle Born' after being slightly disappointed by their third (although I thought 'Day & Age' was mostly good, but too much filler, and not up to the high standards of the first two), but always intended to buy it. After over a year, I've done it, and as soon as I heard 'Runaways', my immediate thoughts were: 'Welcome Back'!
I admit that I did have to play it a few times over to be able fully appreciate it, but can now safely rate it five stars - it IS a very good album. There is much variety, including fun songs to sing along to (the opening track 'Flesh and Bones' is the 'Human' of this album), epic big songs and brilliant ballads. Brandon Flowers has always written with such emotion, and some of his best lyrics can be found here. I particularly enjoy 'Here With Me', which is a beautiful soft-rock song, which, as well as several others could be used in the soundtrack to a film centering around a hero.
'Battle Born' is very commercial, radio friendly, and a return to the type of quality music that we first heard from the band ten years ago (I can't believe that they have been around for a decade!). Although I don't think it would be considered as 'cool' as 'Hot Fuss', the style is certainly different, it leans more towards soft-rock, but I think it just might be The Killers' best album yet.
'Battle Born' was a pleasant surprise, but I only wish I'd started listening to it sooner. I'm making up for it now though, and if album number five is even the slightest bit like this one, i'll have it on pre-order next time.
on 21 October 2012
First listening I though the album was very commercial (or cheesy as my daughter put it) without the edge of the previous 3 albums. But after a few listens it does grow on you, the 2 ballads "Here with Me" and "Be Still" especially strong (though one of my mates ask me if I'd bought the new Chris De Burgh album!).
It is a good album but not their best.