Released: Sep 18, 2012
Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative Rock
Label: Island, Vertigo
Number Of Tracks: 12
This is the 4th studio release by The Killers, and the first to be released after a 16 month hiatus that began in January of 2010, ending in mid 2011.
UG Team, on september 18, 2012 2 of 13 people found this review helpful
Sound: The Killers formed in Las Vegas in 2001, with their permanent line-up cemented by the end of 2002. They formed after vocalist, Brandon Flowers, was kicked out of his previous synthpop band when they relocated to California. Brandon Flowers decided that he would like to start a rock band instead of putting together another synthpop band. After playing at an unsuccessful showcase for Warner Bros. Records, they were picked up by a UK label, Lizard King Records, via a friend of a friend heard the band and passed their demo on. In the past, Flowers has used his experience with synthpop as an interesting influence on The Killers sound, creating songs that stood out as unique among the multitudes of radio songs that tend to sound very similar to each other. In the past, their stand out songs for me would be "When You Were Young" and "Mr. Brightside".
"Battle Born" is the fourth studio release by The Killers, with 12 tracks (15 tracks on the Deluxe edition which I am reviewing) and a runtime of just over 50 minutes and the Deluxe Edition running over an hour. The album is mixed well, The Killers having used the same guy Alan Moulder that they used on their previous release. The album was recorded in their Las Vegas studio, Battle Born Studio. Overall the album is very well produced, as well. The sound on the album, however, is much more in the realm of 'synth pop' than any of their previous albums. Personally, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. // 6
Lyrics: Brandon Flowers has shown that he sings well consistently and has continued to do so on this release. A lot of the singing on the album is almost speak singing, which isn't something that is completely new to The Killers. I don't have a lot of comments to make regarding the actual vocal performance on the album it is consistently well done enough said.
The lyrics on the album seem to deal heavily with love, breakups and heartbreak. For me it got old pretty quick about 1/3 of the way through the first listen. After the third listen I can't stand most of the lyrics on the album. Maybe it is just me. Here is an example of the lyrics from the song "Miss Atomic Bomb": "You were standing with your girlfriends in the street/ falling back on forever/ I wonder what you came to be/ I was new in town the boy with the eager eyes/ I never was a quitter oblivious to schoolgirls' lies/ when I look back on those neon nights/ the leather seat the passage dry/ I feel the heat I feel the light/ Miss Atomic Bomb/ making out we got the radio on/ you're gonna miss me when I'm gone/ you're gonna miss me when I'm gone". I'm pretty sure I got the line "the leather seat the passage dry" wrong, but I couldn't tell what was being said. The vast majority of the songs, all their lyrics could be strung together and it would all fit together like one long song. // 7
Overall Impression: I thought long and hard about which songs on the album are my "favorite" songs. I really did not enjoy this album for the most part, and it was hard to pick a song and say I actually liked it. The closest would have to be "The Rising Tide", which didn't even seem to fit in with the rest of the album. My least favorite songs on the album would pretty much be every other song. I guess the following songs weren't too bad "Runaways", "From Here On Out" and "Be Still" (which had a kind of surrealistic quality to it). I wouldn't buy this album again, and I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone. You may find that you like the synth pop sound... If so, then more power to you, you should check this album out, I guess. For fans of their previous work who only looked at the synth pop influence in their music as something to make it stand out and give the band their own original voice, then this album has probably gone more into the world of synth pop than you will enjoy.
I struggled with this review because I want to be fair, and I want to put my feelings about specific genres aside when it is needed, but I couldn't do it with this album. The Killers are established with a specific blend of pop and rock and that balance has been all kinds of jacked up. Honestly, 80% of the songs on the album would fit as the soundtrack to the prom scene from the "Napoleon Dynamite" movie. If the songs don't fit for the prom scene then they would fit in the credits or the montage where the main character in any 80's movie realizes that the plain Jane neighbor kid is the girlfriend/boyfriend they've been looking for this whole time. They carry the idea of love and broken hearts to an extreme where it is overpowering and made it impossible for me to enjoy this album. // 6
mattiscool7337, on september 18, 2012 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Do you like 80's-inspired desert rock? Do you like loose concept albums? If so, The Killers' new album "Battle Born" may just be for you. Much of the album takes on the pulsing, dream-like tone that can make the listener feel paradoxically warm and lonely. It is mostly an album of singles, yet the sound comes alive most when listened to in full. The concept of the album is driven partially by the subjects love and loss, but arguably more by the wide palette of emotions showcased by taking these themes and turning them into a 12-sided die, examining the effects of the death and creation of relationships. While the genre of the album may be somewhat limited, it is explored in depth, which makes for an excellent listen. // 8
Lyrics: Dealing with themes of love and loss, The Killers are certainly not on new ground. The lyrics are - well, nice. They fit the tone of the sound very well, and while they might be considered repetitive to some, that's sort of what ties the album together. Every love is like the last in a way, yet every love is something new, as well. The vocals are very well executed throughout, with Flowers really exploring his upper range throughout most of the album, which becomes more lyrically diverse as the tracks progress. For some, this album will be lyrically repetitive and uninteresting, but for others, the cohesion will be compelling. Songs that diverge from the sort of sappy tone present on certain tracks are "The Rising Tide", "Heart Of A Girl" and "Battle Born", which are more inspirational, and they are a good break, even though they come toward the end of the album. // 7
Overall Impression: This album is going to be relatively hit or miss with listeners. The group draws from new influences, like Springsteen and 80's synth-pop for most of the tracks. If The Killers are your favorite band, you may end up disappointed, because "Battle Born" is a fairly big step away from their past material. Many Killers listeners however, old and new alike, will find this album fresh and compelling. My favorite tracks from my first two listens are the title track "Battle Born", "The Rising Tide", "Heart Of A Girl", and "The Way It Was". I will repeat, though, the album is much better as a cohesive work of art rather than individual tracks; the waves of emotion that are present throughout may very well leave the listener awash in awe of the sonic textures they have just experienced. // 8