Download Guide: The Killers, Day & Age + MP3s

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The Killers make indie music fans ask all sorts of uncomfortable questions.  Is it okay to like a band that wants to appeal to the same people who buy Beyonce albums?  Is it okay to like something that’s sincere and poppy and a little over the top? Is it okay to like a band that actually wants to have millions of fans and sell millions of records?  I say yes.  If there’s one thing that has disappointed us since Cobain dominated rock, it’s that fun and pop sensibility has completely disappeared from the realms of rock music.  Hip Hop was all too happy to step up as the party-music of choice while Billy Fucking Corgan and Eddie Vedder were too busy planting the seeds of inspiration for some guys in Florida and Canada to create Creed and Nickelback.  Thus was born, today’s modern rock radio.

Like it or not, if there’s one hope for those of us who want to see a young band become the biggest thing in the world it’s probably The Killers.  For those of us who like listening to bands who play in a room of seven people and then break up 15 years before becoming influential, this can be a tough pill to swallow.  We’ve got MUSICAL SENSIBILITY, therefore we’re not allowed to listen to a band whose picture is hanging inside the lockers of 15 year old girls.  However, if there’s something that’s truly refreshing about Brandon Flowers it’s that he consistently shoots for the moon on each album and doesn’t subscribe to sometimes-exhausting indie philosophy that keeps rock bands from wanting to conquer the world.

It’s funny that Guns N Roses, Kanye and The Killers should release their attempts to become the biggest band in the world within days of each other and at times you get the sense that whoever emerges from this week will claim the title.   Besides, (in best James Lipton voice) this album asks the ultimate uncomfortable question, are we human or are we dancer?  I say, why can’t we be both???

Full rundown and mp3s after the jump.

The Download Guides is a simple, quick system to evaluate albums on a song-by-song basis and thus help you in the ongoing mission to fill your iTunes with all killer and little-to-no filler.  We’d recommend you don’t think of this as a review but a way to help you navigate your through the a la carte world of MP3s.  Songs are evaluated on a grade school, plus/minus system: A, B, C etc.

  1. Losing Touch – In what will become a recurring theme throughout this album, I’m already trying to figure out which 80s song this track reminds me of.  In what will become another recurring theme of this album, I don’t care about what 80s song The Killers are ripping off here because they’re doing so well.  This mid-tempo, sax-heavy track features 1) a rousing chorus 2) extended guitar solo to close out the track and 3) an ideal balance between Hot Fuss pop and Sam’s Town grandeur.
    Final grade: A-
  2. Human – If you don’t like The Killers because they’re too sincere/schmaltzy/wide-eyed/whatever then this song has probably been making you want to put a baby in a dry cleaning bag since it turned up on the radio.  Actually, I was starting to get tired of it too, but it works well in the context of the album.
    Final grade: B+
  3. Spaceman – Not since Styx has a pop band created an effective song about alien abduction, much less one that makes you want to rock.  Also, I haven’t checked the liner notes yet, but I’m pretty sure that the Angel Gabriel produced this track and did guest keyboard work.  This is The Killers at their glorious best.
    Final grade: A+
    The Killers – Spaceman
  4. Joy Ride – Everyone, everyone!  Stop what you’re doing right now.  I have urgent, breaking news… SAX SOLO!!!!
    Final grade: A
    The Killers – Joy Ride
  5. A Dustland Fairytale – Now, let’s slow it down for a minute.  An Elton John, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” intro gives way to, what else, an instantly catchy epic.  I’m running out of ways to say that all of these songs are epic.  Down on her luck Cinderella and a slick-chrome American boy.  Brandon Flowers’ cliches are all on display here but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t pull it off.
    Final grade: B
  6. This Is Your Life – This reminds me of War era U2.  A vocal sample leads into drum marching, flag waving anthem that should have been released during the Olympics.  God, I can’t believe we’re only halfway through this album, I feel like we’re going around the world in 80 days.
    Final grade: B
  7. I Can’t Stay – Is that a harp I hear?  Are those steel drums?  Yes, it’s official we are going around the world and apparently we’ve just entered the Caribbean.  Sidebar — this album is FLAWLESSLY sequenced.  Each track makes a perfect segue from one to the next in terms of mood, tempo etc.  It’s one of the impressive details of this well-oiled machine of an album.
    Final grade: B
  8. Neon Tiger – So what exactly is the Neon Tiger?  Is it Brandon Flowers?  Is it a cousin of Sex Panther?  I don’t know. But I do know this, Brandon Flowers has been waiting for years to unleash the line “Come on girls and boys / Everyone make some noise” on a European festival (preferrably, LiveAid circa 1985 but since he doesn’t have a time machine Reading will have to do).
    Final grade: B
  9. The World We Live In – The Killers’ influences: U2, New Order, Bruce Springsteen…. Hall and Oates?  The song is straight Say It Isn’t So.  And that’s not a bad thing.  Let’s just hope Hall and Oates don’t sue.
    Final grade: B+
  10. Goodnight, Travel Well – This is a slow builder.  The Killers sound a little ominous here as horns creep in and out of the track and Flowers contemplates death by grandeur.  Great album closer, but not essential to the experience.
    Final grade: B-
  11. Tidal Wave (Bonus Track) – I guess it’s nice to get a bonus track for buying this thing on iTunes but if the song adds nothing does it really count?
    Final grade: C
  12. Forget About What I Said (Bonus Track) – This song reminds me most of the straight up rock stuff on Hot Fuss.  Sidebar — should have mentioned this earlier — but the rhythm section of Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannucci are working overtime throughout this whole album, not just this bonus track.  Stellar work.
    Final grade: A-

Thanks for reading the download guide and be sure to pick up the album legally if you like it or see The Killers on tour.

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4 Comments

Filed under MP3, Music, Rock

4 responses to “Download Guide: The Killers, Day & Age + MP3s

  1. Kallipolis

    This might be the most amazing article that you have ever written. What a poignant question “I say, why can’t we be both???”

  2. Hahaha, I love that line. Wish I could take credit for it but I actually I took it from a friend of mine so he really who deserves all the praise/grief for that bit of poetry.

  3. Lesley

    Love what you wrote, mostly, but I really don’t see how The World We Live in is a rip off of that Hall & Oates track. ?? Not one bit. Oh well…

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