Review Summary: Day & Age is the essence of what The Killers are, something fun, overly-pompous and way too large, but always leave you with a overwhelming feeling of "Damn. I want to listen to that again."
Out of all the bands I listen to, The Killers are my guilty pleasure. Their music isn’t twenty minutes of layered feedback, nor is it five minutes of industrial beats, but something special, nonetheless, hides beneath Brandon Flowers’ layered keyboards and vocals. I can’t find that target-but something draws me back to this band no matter how much I try to neglect my love of the band. Easily, The Killers are the only remotely pop band on my iTunes. And, why is that? The reason The Killers are a favorite of mine is, simply, because they make true, fun, and emotional tunes with lots of substance. They aren’t cheap pop, they are strong, epic pop-and most importantly, they try. Take the fact that every Killers album is something completely different. Day & Age
is something different for the Killers, all of the darker tones of Hot Fuss
are absent, the stadium rock grandiose of Sam’s Town
is mostly gone, and Day & Age
plays the role of the overly-pompous, ridiculous step-child that everyone wants to ignore. Unfortunately for those people, Day & Age
is hard to ignore.
“And you got lost, but you made your way back home/You went and sold your soul, an allegiance dead and gone/I’m losing touch”
Brandon Flowers, in fact, is ‘losing touch’. He’s losing touch on what not to do in a traditional rock song. With Sam’s Town
, The Killers played the role of the Americana music, and instead of following that, he proclaims this album is really poppy (which is usually something musicians won’t admit), adds lots of spacey atmospherics that wouldn’t be out of place in a 70s Bowie album, throws in some horns, and some really cheesy vocals. This is something that seems unusual for a pop album and the formula for epic fail musically. But how does this not fail? The Killers have figured that out by now; if the chorus is catchy enough, if the song is bouncy enough, and it has a feel-good aspect, you’re left with a song that infinitely plays as an immediate epic. The opener Losing Touch
gets in touch with the pompous and outrageous, huge aspects of The Killers that possibly might be their downfall-and wraps them into the Pop Song of 2008 with little challenge by following this formula.
“The song maker says, it ain’t so bad/The dream maker’s going to make you mad/The spaceman says, Everybody look down/It’s all in your mind”
epitomizes what is wrong with Day & Age
. It’s a fun song nonetheless with a great chorus-but the lyrics have gotten so ridiculous that the lyrics are impossible to connect to anymore. Smile Like You Mean It
had lyrics I connected to and felt every time I heard it, but I have a hard time connecting to a lot of these songs meanings. Obviously, The Killers connected much of the world’s myths and fairy tales into the album’s songs and lyrics, but there’s an obvious gap in the relevance of the topics Brandon Flowers’ rambles on about. At times, I feel as if a 10-year old wrote the lyrics to most of the songs, “They say the Nile used to run from east to west,” seems so out of place in a song with science fiction themes, that I’m quite confused at what Flowers actually meant. There’s a few glimmers of true Killers lyrics that make you think and have meaning, such as the infamous “Are we human, or are we dancer?” or Losing Touch
as a whole, but still there's a lack of foundation in the album's lyrics.
The song Human
is easily the most challenging song on the record. The rest of the album is very accessible, straight-forward and pop-influenced; while Human
seems to be like Depeche Mode stuck in neutral. Instead of picking the radio single that will become a massive hit, Human
, easily the least radio-friendly song on the album, was the single, questionably. With a low-lying keyboard introduction that fades into a cheery video-game influenced bridge and a synthpop chorus, I’m quite confused at the thinking. Human
, while being an excellent song, is easily the weakest song here, the tribal drums having little going for the song’s layered keyboard approach.
is a rare shimmer where the lyrics overshadow the songwriting, the majority of the time it’s the other way around. Only The Killers make a song with shallow lyrics excellent via the songwriting. Joy Ride
absolutely is nonsense lyrically, and the song is something I would normally never listen to, but it’s so damn fun, catchy, and cheesy 80s style that I can’t avoid listening to it. Imagine Joy Division but not so depressing-all the tribal funk with a bright and fuzzy chorus line you’ll be singing for a long time. A Dustland Fairytale
seems to be as close to filler as the album has, but the ending is so epic and grandiose that you’ll be bopping up and down to the rhythm despite if you know the lyrics whatsoever. Neon Tiger
has that same thing going-you’ll ask yourself, “What am I doing?”, but you’ll be so enveloped in the song’s rhythm that you’ll care less about the random lyrics and the pompous nature of the track. And have I gushed enough about Losing Touch
yet? Easily the best track the band has ever done-the funky introduction recalls Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
, before the pre-chorus installs all the electronica, and the chorus line brings out the grit and guitars with you singing along to the whole thing after only hearing the song once.
Before you know it, the saddening Goodnight, Travel Well
is playing in all its grand, production and Brandon Flowers’ most epic vocal performance…ever. The song is a perfect ending to an over-the-top album, evoking too much emotion, pulling at the strings the album has bounced on, and seeming out of place-all the while the song is classic movie soundtrack good. You’ll walk away going “damn that was full of emotion"; forgetting about the pointless lyrics of Spaceman and the others. This song is the essence of The Killers and the album as a whole, overly-emotional, with little purpose or gravity other than to just exist and make you go “Damn.” And that’s what makes Day & Age