What does one do with an album its lead singer has proclaimed to be the best album of the past twenty years?
I guess if the album sucked, that question would hold greater weight. Luckily for The Killers and lead singer Brandon Flowers, Sam’s Town, their sophomore effort, doesn’t suck- actually, it’s quite good.
Nevertheless, Flower’s bloated statement says a lot about The Killers; their need to make an album that they feel is important and that others will feel is important as well seems to be a high priority with the Las Vegas-based group. They showed promise with the incredibly enjoyable Hot Fuss, but now they want to take their gold and turn it into platinum.
It’s been noted that Flowers was channeling Bruce Springsteen during much of the writing, and it shows. His lyrics have the quality of being vague, but full of substance. His voice sways as he reads his mind, singing “Or should I just get along with myself/I never did get along with everybody else,” in “The River Is Wild.”
Along with the popular single, “When You Were Young,” The Killers have stretched themselves creatively. Many songs hit the right notes (“Sam’s Town,” “Bling (Confessions of a King),” “For Reasons Unknown,” “Read My Mind” and “My List.”), while some trail off into some elaborately pretentious nonsense that equals the weight of a penny- but those are very few and far between.
There is a lot of heart and plenty of quality to be discovered in Sam’s Town. So much so that there really wasn’t any room left for the flair and stylish pulses of Hot Fuss. Those that pick up Sam’s Town expecting a re-creation of Hot Fuss will likely be disappointed… The Killers have moved on.
Whether that’s for better or for worse is still up in the air.
Danny Gordon may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.