Review Summary: “This snowman is shaping up to be an 8, but not out of 10…”
The end of each year is a very contemplative time. We tend to reflect and ask ourselves those all-important questions: Am I on the right track in life? Will I ever meet someone? Do we really
need a Killers Christmas album? Because regardless of what you want, here it is. Standing as a compilation of the band’s holiday singles from throughout their entire career, it covers a lot of snowy ground while Brandon Flowers wails about sleds, boots, and Joel the lump of coal. It’s a jolly fucking good time as long as you share in the belief that Battle Born
is one of the top albums of the decade.
I actually enjoy the Killers a lot though, which makes this even worse. Hot Fuss
was a brilliant debut and I even liked Sam’s Town
- for those who have forgotten, that’s the super Springsteen-ish album that according to Brandon Flowers was going to be the greatest rock n’ roll album in decades, and it featured a whored out pageant girl standing in front of a trailer with a goat on the front cover. Sure, my interest in them has waned quite a bit since those days, which explains why I haven’t heard a single one of these Christmas songs that they’ve released over the past decade until now. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much going in - maybe just ten songs or so that put a cool alt-rock twist on the usual seasonal fare – but what I got instead was an album that would have driven even the placid townspeople of Whoville to commit mass suicide while delighting the mean old Mr. Grinch.
Don’t Waste Your Wishes
is basically the album equivalent of that ugly Christmas sweater you were forced to wear as a pre-teen, when it was awkward enough just to talk to people let alone explain why you look like a seventeenth century afghan rug with acne. At best, you might have the chance to explain yourself while playing it off ironically, but at worst your hot neighbor who is in your pre-Algebra class sees you with it on while you’re getting in the car with your parents. That sort of blush-inducing awkwardness pervades this album, but not in a good way like it does with, say, Weezer. Most of the time, you’re embarrassed for
The Killers, and perhaps a little ashamed of yourself too. You can tell on a lot of the tracks that The Killers are aiming for that endearingly dorky sweet-spot (‘A Great Big Sled’, ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’, ‘The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball’), but it is entirely ruined by the two details: (1) The Killers have always taken themselves extremely seriously and (2) nothing they do here is even remotely humorous or mildly amusing. Nine out of every ten lines are absolutely cringeworthy, and that’s not even hyperbole. I mean what’s with “no one else around believes me / but the children on the street they tease me / I couldn't let them off that easy?” Most of these songs are totally devoid of anything Christmassy save for random outbursts that vaguely allude to a household holiday icon like a bell or candy cane.
Even if you’re fortunate enough to be able to defend your reasons for listening to a Killers Christmas album (“I just love
the holidays” / “I’m a staff reviewer at sputnikmusic.com with a sad life”), nothing jumps out as adequate justification for subjecting your ears to a track like ‘¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe!’, in which Flowers merrily sings along in broken Spanish about banging a Hispanic woman: “Made my excuses and a beeline for the bedroom door / She was beggin' and a-pleadin' screamin' por favor mi cumpleanos stay with me, baby it's cold outside.” Maybe Brandon Flowers just needs to tell us this Christmas that he gets a lot of Spanish ass, or perhaps the band wanted to write its own shitty version of ‘Feliz Navidad.’ There’s no real way to know for sure, but the worst thing is that it has one of the catchiest choruses on the entire record, so that’s what will be stuck in your head the rest of the day when the CD is over. No wonder Santa wants to shoot this guy.
There’s not a whole lot else going on here and quite frankly I don’t want to talk about this album anymore. There’s a lot of bad Christmas compilations out there, but this has to be one of the worst. Oh – Brandon Flowers and company end the record with a six minute rendition of ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ – more than half of which is comprised by a spoken word intro. Forget wasting your wishes, don’t let these Killers of Christmas waste your time.