Sound — 9
The Killers are hands down the most dynamic group on the market today. On Hot Fuss, they demonstrated their paranoid, electro-rock. On Sam's Town, they went after the Springsteen themes of middle class struggles. Sawdust; a wacky and dark compilation album. And on Day and Age, the evolution continues. We see a less mysterious, more effect-laden style. D&A sounds more like Hot Fuss that Sam's Town, no doubt, but there are some entirely new elements here. The guitars are more atmospherical and overdriven when they emerge from the fray of background noise, and the synths are consuming and soft. As always, Vannucci and Stoermer keep the keep the bass and drums tight throughout the album, but when the guitar rises to the top and the synths melt into the background; that is when Day And Age really shines. Song by song: 01.Losing Touch: a song dominated by soft synths and sax. When the guitar takes the lead in the end, we are left in nothing short of awe. 02.Human: a club oriented track that excels due to thumping drums/bass as well some interesting effects from Flower's synthesisizer. The entire song could be done with out a guitar. 03.Spaceman: a throwback to the days of Mr. Brightside. Wall of sound, fast drums, multi-layered. The jangly acoustic guitar and funky bas breakdown make this song one of the best on the album. 04.Joy Ride: hands down the best on the album, although not for reasons the average killers fan would anticipate. Joy Ride is a dancey, jumpy disco song that is almost impossible to shake from your head. The Killers aren't trying that hard on this one, and that's why it rises to the top. No melting solos, no bizarre effects, just high treble guitar, some horns, a little funky bass, and a great vibe. 05.A Dustland Fairytale: they take yet another shot at Springsteen themed dominance. Being a huge fan of Sam's Town, and actually preferring it to Hot Fuss, A Dustland Fairytale is perfect overkill. Albiet annoying towards the end, a pretty good throwback to the epic moments on Sam's Town. 06.This Is Your Life: one of my least favorite. Melancholy, slightly irritating--this is in my opinion just a filler song. The african chants are interesting, but they get old. The lyrics realy tell just good enough of a story to keep this one afloat. 07.I Can't Stay: chill has never been a word used to descibe the killers music, until now. Nice mellow Carribbean vibes (steel drums, need I say more) and shakey acoustic guitar make this song a winner. 08.Neon Tiger: a slower version of a Spaceman style song--wall of sound, strait to the point. Lacks passion though; the middle eight recalls the "I got soul but I'm not a soldier" chants of All These Things That I've Done, but without the anger. Could have been great, but Flower's lack of believability drags it down a little. 09.The World We Live In: a weird, synth driven track. The most 80's-ish on the album. Very strong as far as passion goes, and Dave's guitar is taken back up to claim the throhe is a funky, trembeling solo. 10.Goodnight, Travel Well: miserable, miserable, miserable. Listening to this song infects the listener with sorrow. Is isn't the same 'down-on-their-luck" Killers we've gotten used to--its almost a scary, dare I say disturbed version of the Killers. Oddly enough, in a weird, creppy kind of way, it has it's moments of sheer beauty.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are crazy, crazy, crazy. Often making no sense ("The starmaker say's it aint so bad; the dreammaker 's gonna make you mad"), Flowers is here weird as well as the same man we've gotten used to, and therein predictable. The lyrics on "The World We Live In" are the sole reason the song is any good, and the lyrics on "I Can't Stay" are touching and heartfelt. But it's the lyrics on songs like "Joy RIde" and "A Duatland Fairytale" that show The Killers true lyrical strength. Singing about rattlesnakes and romance and bleeding candy-apple red dresses paint a vivid desert image for the listener. Not as good as Sam's Town, but much better than Hot Fuss, as far as lyrics go.
Overall Impression — 9
There are two major problems with this album: 1.Passion. Throughout the entire thing, not once do we see Brandon flowers truely reach for those big notes he conquered on Sam's Town. He is relaxed and satisfyed--and that is the problem. I miss the anger and outrage that we used to be able to detect in those big notes, especially on "Sam's Town" and "This River Is Wild," as well as "When You Were Young." It seems that Flowers is taking it eary here, and that dissapoints me a little. 2.The Killers have made half of an incredible album - songs 1-5 are basically some of the best work they've put out so far. 6-10 are no where near as exciting. I would have rather waited until February and gotten 10 tracks like "Joy Ride" or "Spaceman" then a hand full of mind blowers and a handfull of fillers. All in all, however, this is still a great album. The Killers are once again headed in a new direction, and I will glady follow.