The Killers
Day & Age


2.0
poor

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
November 24th, 2008 | 199 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All glitz and no grit makes Brandon a dull boy.

Three albums into their career and it’s time to ask the question: How much bigger sounding can The Killers get before they explode? Hot Fuss kicked off their career with danceable beats and an occasional flair for the bombast that made “Somebody Told Me” and “All These Things I’ve Done” irresistibly lovable no matter how heterosexual you were. With the epic expansion into Sam’s Town, the occasional flair grew into a full-fledged allegiance to the grandiose, and before our eyes, The Killers went from a charmingly awkward, New Order-ripping British band to an awkwardly awkward, Springsteen-ripping Americana band, complete with pseudo-cowboy outfits and amateur porn moustaches. The record sounded like it was crafted for stadiums exclusively, with abundant synths and nonsensical lyrics about burning down highway skylines replacing the intimacy that made cuts like their best song, “Mr. Brightside,” so addictive. Sam’s Town hinted that The Killers aren't meant for arenas; that they're best in their original post-punkish shell, with honest lyrics and catchy melodies being the focus instead of overblown production and deep-sounding car metaphors. If Sam’s Town doesn’t quite prove that theory outright, Day and Age certainly does.

Impossibly, the third Killers record takes the huge sound of Sam’s Town and doubles it. The band, clearly under the impression that more brass means more tail, pack Day and Age with cheap tricks and production gimmicks with the hope that they’ll distract the listener from the fact that the songs are painfully mediocre. Album opener “Losing Touch” announces this point with the subtlety of an oncoming train, as the first notes played on the record are echoing piano twinkles followed by meaty horn chords. Initially, it appears as though The Killers have honed a neat sound that might sound fresh with a bit of a world-flair, until they replicate it on every single track. For example, “Spaceman” is a “futuristic” song, so it’s drenched in reverb and features a hook that sounds as if it was sung by a universe of people. It’s not clever, nor is it supposed to be. It’s catchy pop that will probably serve as winter's answer to "Viva La Vida." However, it also serves as the marker where the epic productions turn from fun to irritating, and with seven songs still to go, Day and Age has nowhere to go but south.

Since the production makes the music blur together in a frenzy of synths and horns and whatever other arbitrary facet The Killers can find, frontman Brandon Flowers takes it upon himself to give a performance beyond his usual triteness. He doesn’t. On “Joyride,” which does to Talking Heads what The Killers’ awful “Shadowplay” cover did to Joy Division, the group tosses saxophones, disco bass, and Latin percussion into a pot and stir them into a groove that’s almost catchy enough to mask Flowers’ skin-deep lyrics. As inferable from the title, the song is about joyriding, and as also inferable from the title, it’s pretty cheesy. Despite his massive ego (this is the guy who claimed Panic at the Disco was “dangerous”), Flowers simply doesn’t have the mojo to make a chorus of “When your chips are down, when your highs are low, joyride!” not sound embarrassingly corny.

In fact, he hardly has the mojo to make any of his songs not sound embarrassingly corny. As the music on Day and Age exaggerates the flamboyance of Sam’s Town, the lyrics of Day and Age exaggerate the triviality. It was bad enough when Flowers implored his audience ”Don’t you want to feel my bones on your bones?”, but on Day and Age, there’s a sneaking suspicion that Flowers has simply stopped trying. He lets obvious and ridiculous clichés like ”Bless your body, bless your soul/ Pray for peace and self-control” go unedited and stuffs similar colloquialisms into every song until they lose their meaning. Day and Age shows Flowers at his worst, as he goes around contemplating the world we live in on “The World We Live In,” dropping the Sixties like they’re proof of genuineness (even though he’s never lived in them), and asking the now-famous-but-still-confusing question on lead single “Human:” ”Are we human, or are we dancer?” Though that line works in “Human” (which is easily the best song on the record), ambiguous-but-meaningless hooks can only get one so far, and Flowers packs Day and Age with them, making the record an incoherent mess.

Day and Age ultimately won’t kill The Killers, as it still delivers a good set of singles and finds the band getting promising results from experiments in world-flavored music, such as the monstrously addictive, Ladysmith Black Mambazo influenced (!) “This Is Your Life.” Still, the album holds no weight, which is its biggest issue. It’s big and postured and goes by without saying anything of significance. A lot of the blame for that goes to Brandon Flowers, since he is the voice of The Killers and all, but it seems like his band, drunk with success, doesn't have the slightest idea what to do next. Ironically, in moving away from the robotic vocal style of his band’s first album, Flowers sounds more robotic than ever before. There’s no passion in his voice and he has alarming issues in carrying a tune, as is the case on “I Can’t Stay.” Of course his lyrics, never a strong point for The Killers, are in the tank on Day and Age, and since the music can’t back him up, the results are predictably messy. On “Neon Tiger,” which oddly embodies the spirit of the album, Flowers sings ”Straight from the poster town of scorn and Ritz/ To bring you the wilder side of gold and glitz.” The line serves as a sad reminder of the idea behind Day and Age and may be Flowers mocking his own self inflation, reflecting upon the how his music had its soul sucked out and maybe- just maybe- feeling regret. But probably not.



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user ratings (922)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
red0 (4)
Day & Age is the essence of what The Killers are, something fun, overly-pompous and way too large, b...

Adam Knott EMERITUS (3)
Uncomfortable, occasionally brilliant and entirely confusing....

John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF (4)
"Day & Age" is pretty much the most brilliant, retarded piece of music released this year. Do you li...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gore
November 24th 2008


333 Comments


Nice review, catchy band

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2008


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very good review Adam. My concerns (in the news post) were almost entirely unwarranted. Well done.
As for the album itself, if the lead single is the best here, then I worry. It seems that thie album could genuinely be a "love or hate" proposition.

bastard
November 24th 2008


3435 Comments


I didn't like the main single, I guess I'll be one of those people who won't like this.

Fugue
November 24th 2008


7354 Comments


Great review, although I disagree with a few of your points I can definitely say that this isn't as good as either of the first two albums.

kitsch
November 24th 2008


5107 Comments


summary is the biggest lol ive had all day


Craigmn01
November 24th 2008


56 Comments


This is slightly disappointing, I was a big fan of Sam's Town. Great review, Adam.

sidfarkus
November 24th 2008


43 Comments


I'm upset that in my life I ever listened to a song as bad as 'I Can't Stay' this is just a bad album, it's not a total waste, but very close.

Bleak123
November 24th 2008


1902 Comments


Hot Fuss is the only worthwhile album this band have done.

Granfalloon
November 24th 2008


176 Comments


I was looking forward to this... Human had a good sound. But, yea, from what I've heard it's pretty bland.

Granfalloon
November 24th 2008


176 Comments


Plus, NEON TIGER, are they serious?

ConorMichaelJoseph
November 24th 2008


1870 Comments


Very disappointing,I doubt they'll ever live up to Hot Fuss...

Knott-
Emeritus
November 24th 2008


10198 Comments


I adore Neon Tiger. Inconsistent album but I think worthy of higher than a 2. In fact, I might review this to that effect.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
November 24th 2008


862 Comments


Really awesome review, one of your best. I enjoyed Human but if that's the best this has to offer then I have no reason to check this out, I'm not really a big Killers fan anyway.

foreverendeared
November 24th 2008


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wow, smokin' review

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2008


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

For whatever reason, I think I do better with more well known bands. My last few reviews have been for unknown acts and I've had to describe the band's sound a bunch to people who've never heard the band, which is hard. When more people know the band, it's easy to describe what's good and what's bad about their album because people have a point of reference.

Anyway, thanks guys This Message Edited On 11.24.08

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2008


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yep, it's definitely easier when you can cut straight to the chase, so to speak.

Fugue
November 24th 2008


7354 Comments


Nahh I like the whole description thing at the start. I find well known bands harder because people expect more, if you get what I mean.

Oblivioncry
November 24th 2008


601 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i totally agree with about everything in your review. but i still really like this album. i can listen to it up and down, right before metaform and right after GNR. this is your life and human are really addictive songs. and yeah the lyrics suck hard.
i guess just like their first album i will only listen to 2 songs (brightside and the 2nd sinlge) after a whileThis Message Edited On 11.24.08This Message Edited On 11.24.08

PandaNuts
November 24th 2008


129 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

As well written as this review was,
I can't agree with any of it.

The Killers have taken a step in a completely new direction, and have once again been succesfull in it, in my opinion.

It's basically a love it/hate it album.
and I for one, love it.

Best songs on album:
Losing Touch
Spaceman
I Can't Stay
and the extremely epic and grieving-ness "Goodnight, Travel Well".


This Message Edited On 11.24.08

AtavanHalen
November 24th 2008


17927 Comments


I can't wait to hear this.



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