The Killers
Day & Age


3.0
good

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
November 26th, 2008 | 22 replies | 5,006 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Uncomfortable, occasionally brilliant and entirely confusing.

On the lead single from The Killers' third release - fourth if you see Sawdust as anything more than a compilation of B-Sides and other loose material - Brandon Flowers ponders whether we are Human or dancer, a lyric which has sparked enthusiastic debate around a Hunter S. Thompson quote that America is 'breeding a nation of dancers'. Interestingly, such a fundamental question of identity and mould is akin to the type we are now forced to ask of The Killers.

As a band that hit big in 2004 with the epic, electronic indie-pop of Hot Fuss, they forced fans to re-evaluate them when Sam's Town largely abandoned the synths in favour of more layered and less penetrable soundscapes. With Day And Age, they break their shackles again. It's not dramatic, it's nothing previously unheard and it's certainly no avant-garde art-pop, but it does provide an enigma in terms of pigeon-holing them, and that is probably something to be admired considering their popularity.

OK, Day And Age does at times seem like it's got direction about it, and it certainly isn't lacking character. On top of that, you can see in songs like Neon Tiger a combination of the factors that went into making their first two LPs so accessible. A track with a noteworthy bassline which, at points, has the necessary weight to carry predictable but addictive drum rhythms, it's got hooks all over it and typically impenetrable lyrics. The next song, The World We Live In welcomes back the synth and you're home, although it is one of the weaker the album has to offer.

One thing that is slightly unsettling is that despite the absence of any 'notable filler' (read: songs that don't warrant their inclusion at all) it is still very obvious where the singles will come from. Some of the tracks are so catchy and jam-packed with sing-a-long choruses - songs like Spaceman, Losing Touch and the aforementioned Neon Tiger - that it renders the album at times inconsistent, because for all their merit the songs between seem to stumble and fall a little short.

But although the aforementioned trio of songs is incredibly endearing and likely to be the music that meets radio listeners' ears, the stand-outs here come in the form of the record's near-centrepiece, A Dustland Fairytale, and the 7-minute closer Goodnight, Travel Well. Both songs build noticeably (the former from its inital piano to guitar crescendos, the latter more gradually from drones to heart-breaking noise), and demonstrate some of the better songwriting on offer here. Near the end of the former, Flowers pleads 'Now Cinderella don't you go to sleep/It's such a bitter form of refuge', and the emotion is immense - one of the few jaw-dropping moments on the album.

And in that, you have the main problem, the largest flaw of a record with so much to offer but so very little soul. Casting your mind back to Mr. Brightside, recall how the chorus sounded breathless, desperate and still incredibly catchy; the honest truth is that, if you're looking for that sort of thing here, you won't find it. It does sometimes seem that The Killers took a deliberate shot at more understated songs - Human is a prime example - but this is a mistake. There may be more moments here than on Hot Fuss or Sam's Town that will make you smile, but there are considerably fewer that will make you shiver.

In spite of all that, The Killers have managed to produce something very listenable which has a respectable degree of artistic merit and will deservedly ship in the millions. It's just a shame that a band with such obvious talent for writing hooks and fantastic pop music has yet to find a meaningful groove or direction and as such blows hot and cold. Day and Age sounds like a set of lost musicians making glitzy, occasionally brilliant tunes with smiles on their faces, but who, on finishing, probably felt proud, somewhat uncomfortable and entirely confused.



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user ratings (903)
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...

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...

Adam Downer STAFF (2)
All glitz and no grit makes Brandon a dull boy....


Comments:Add a Comment 
bastard
November 26th 2008



3435 Comments


lol

Fugue
November 26th 2008



7352 Comments


Why is this under a different album on the killers main page??

Knott-
Emeritus
November 26th 2008



10194 Comments


Fully aware of the two staff reviews that already exist, but I don't agree with either of them, so yeah.

I had to guess between two different 'Day And Age's from the drop-down list. Seems I picked the wrong one, and now it won't let me change it. Hmm.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

album is a bug plague

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is a good review, I just happened to enjoy the merits of the album a lot more than you.
The ampersand makes each new review submitted create a new album. It will get merged.

Knott-
Emeritus
November 26th 2008



10194 Comments


The band clearly did it on purpose to screw with Sputnik. Obv.

Thanks. Yeah, I agreed with yours far more than Adam's, but for me the quirks and the 'fun' elements aren't quite enough to keep it from slipping into mediocrity at times.

Fugue
November 26th 2008



7352 Comments


The ampersand makes each new review submitted create a new album. It will get merged.


Ahh OK, fair enough

bastard
November 26th 2008



3435 Comments


aaaaand it's merged.

good job bud.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



17200 Comments


Agree with this one the most.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Review is kinda bare, but still good for an early review. Last sentence pretty much describes what I thought about the record minus the occasionally brilliant bit. Other than "This Is Your Life," "Human," and "Goodnight, Travel Well" (which works a lot better when listening to it by itself instead of listening to it after the whole album), I can't get into this album at all.

bastard
November 26th 2008



3435 Comments


"This Is Your Life" is one of my favorite songs on here.

robin
Emeritus
November 26th 2008



4241 Comments


aaack, still need to hear this, nice review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think "Goodnight, Travel Well" works best at the end of the album. It's like al this glitz and glamor and then the most understated and sad song of their career.

Knott-
Emeritus
November 26th 2008



10194 Comments


Agreed.

If I edit the very annoying spelling error in Cinderella (curse spellcheckers' lack of fairytale knowledge) will it unmerge the albums again?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I am unsure, it might =/. It's probably best to just wait till all the bugs get fixed then mess it up again.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I don't think it will. Worst that happens is that the albums have to be merged again.

BallsToTheWall
November 26th 2008



44164 Comments


I like Killers but haven't had any time to listen to anything off this besides the single one time. Maybe i'll just get this on black friday at best buy.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2008



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. Their older stuff is pretty good, so I might check this out. I'll pos

Cesar
November 26th 2008



2732 Comments


So inability to rate the album kind of makes Sputnik 50% useless. 90% for those who don't review.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2008



6085 Comments


owaitThis Message Edited On 11.26.08



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