The Killers
Battle Born


3.0
good

Review

by ThyCrossAwaits USER (46 Reviews)
September 13th, 2012 | 34 replies | 3,100 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 2012: Year of the Springsteen

13 of 13 thought this review was well written

The Killers try so hard. A classic example of a band desperately clawing at the slope they're sliding down, down, album by album as fans cross their fingers tighter hoping the next one will be better. The Killers' city lights synthed-out debut Hot Fuss was messily angsty, a trove of radio-worthy alt rock with dignity. In a hard-swerving effort to nix the sophomore slump, Sam's Town washed away the edge, creating cleaner back-home nostalgia music, and in the wake of Sam's Town's middling reviews Day & Age brought back a calmer smooth synth…at the cost of worthwhile melodies.

So what has been sacrificed this time?

Battle Born seems a sweaty-brow effort of a failure. The synth is twinkly decorative underpadding to what is now full-blown U2-worshipping arena rock. The guitar licks meld with synth in such a way to smack strongly of The Edge, and every track is formulaic to float off into seats, the production full of wavery space. Brandon Flowers' pristine tenor is permanently attached to a concert hall effect, and echoey gang vocals pipe up at each available chance. The cover art is evocative of a different sound, a muscle car racing down a barren highway syncs up with the newly Springsteenian influence. "Heart of a Girl" has a gentle heartland bar-band twang, while "The Rising Tide" has a definite Jersey nick and "From Here On Out" is a shameless ode to old school Boss with a Mellencamp hook. The riff from the title track screams "Baba O'Riley," and even on "Be Still" a bluesy guitar lick pipes up.

But the hardest-hitting shortcomings of Battle Born aren't so much the shirtsleeve influences, but that the songs themselves are painfully unmemorable. Lyrically bland (verging on whiney) and presumably constructed in the pursuit of being "soaring," choruses are agonizingly slow-burning. Too often for comfort the chorus is nigh unidentifiable within the song structure and the song passes uneventfully. Even with the chorus present, "Here With Me" is a terrible attempt at a lighter-waving sing-along featuring the grimace-inducing line "Don't want cho picture / on my cell phone". Promising penultimate ballad "Be Still" is infected with a manufactured drum beat that, even past being plain offensive, is staggering to the classic style the album subscribes to. The same style may be to blame for Brandon Flowers' uninspired cliché-laden lyrics, moaning about making out with the radio on, etc.

The record is saved by the innate human bent for the dramatic, and the fact that anything expansive and full of one-syllable words is exceptionally fun to yell off-tune in a moving vehicle. The tracks heaviest with Americana-rock are surprisingly the best-written and most entertaining, and although the butterfinger songs here may try in vain to grip immediately, repeated attempts to enjoy them result in a sort of shameless pity-love for them. In the end you feel so sorry for Battle Born it starts to grow on you.

As far as redemption goes, Battle Born only lifts The Killers so far as to vault them back over the mess of Day & Age, without garnering nearly enough velocity to reach the plateau of their debut. It's a record gropingly desperate to maintain relevance, simultaneously trying to be a return to form, an evolution, and a classic revival, ending in maudlin reverie via referencing cell phone photos in a 70s ballad. Meant almost exclusively to be played repeatedly during long lonely drives dwelling on your high school sweetheart.



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user ratings (300)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
minty901
September 13th 2012



1962 Comments


this out?

johnnydeking29
September 13th 2012



8976 Comments


Review's description is kinda what I expected, have a pos

Digging: Naked City - Radio

Solisis
September 13th 2012



370 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

band sucks

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2012



9977 Comments


Didn't think this was streaming yet.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Storm In A Teacup
September 13th 2012



12687 Comments


It's streaming yeah

Crymsonblaze
September 13th 2012



7479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was hoping this would be great like Hot Fuss.

bodiesinflight57
September 13th 2012



869 Comments


Review reads more like a 2 than a 3 to me.

newjunkaesthetic93
September 13th 2012



1871 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Review read more like a 2. I agree this is pretty underwhelming. It's not outright bad like the new Muse and Green Day, it's just not good either.

Steoandnoodles
September 13th 2012



2832 Comments


Is there an album stream anywhere?

ThroneOfAgony
September 13th 2012



3485 Comments


Need to hear it.


ThyCrossAwaits
September 13th 2012



3043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It was originally a 2.5 but I thought better of it halfway through writing.

bloc
September 13th 2012



34669 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Why did I bother

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

paradox1216
September 13th 2012



429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

wonderful review, pos'd, though the review doesn't really reflect the rating. extremely boring album. incredibly disappointing, i loved their previous stuff.



Digging: Braid - No Coast

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2012



15332 Comments


This is really an excellent review cross. If I thought sams town was their best album would I like this?

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

ProfAmaretto
September 13th 2012



1 Comments


While I haven't heard this album, the new single focuses too heavily on Brandon Flowers' voice, which is never a good thing

Ninjask
September 13th 2012



178 Comments


ugh these guys

Chortles
September 13th 2012



17895 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

ugh these guys


my thoughts

Digging: Yo La Tengo - Electr-O-Pura

Captain North
September 13th 2012



6779 Comments


Great review, will avoid this

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
September 13th 2012



3336 Comments


Very good review, but it does read more like a 2 than a 3. Not gonna be checking this out unless I hear a single or two on the radio

ThyCrossAwaits
September 13th 2012



3043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Sowing: Definitely. This is almost exactly what fans of Sam's Town would be hoping for, about the same level.



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