Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A New "Day & Age"

I have gone back and forth the past few days in deciding whether I would weigh in with my own personal thoughts about The Killers new album "Day & Age" for a couple of reasons:

1. Every one that knows me knows that I'm a monster Killers fan. I was never a "favorite band" kind of guy before, but I loved their first album "Hot Fuss" in 2004 and their "Sam's Town" follow-up in 2006 is, and always will be, my favorite album of all time (sorry, Sam). So how do you write -or even think - objectively about a new album from your favorite band? It's like trying to write about a newborn child. You don't even know how you feel yet.

2. I hate apologizing for how I feel about music. I KNOW that I'm not the smartest guy in the room when it comes to music or musical taste so whenever I'm around smart music people I feel like how it must feel like to be around me in regards to TV shows and movies. Music is the ultimate personal experience and "you- like-what-you-like-and-don't-have-to-defend-it" thing for me. "Sam's Town" got ripped apart by every review in the world (literally) two years ago but it just hit home with me when it came out and only continues to resonate more through time.

But the more I thought about, the more I realized I had to go on the record with something AND after posting these initial thoughts, it will be interesting to look back in a year and two and see how my feelings have either grown or changed (an amazing experience with every Killers record).

First of all, there seems to be three kinds of Killers fans in the world today (again, this is all from my own personal opinion). The ones who love their Euro-pop, synthesized style (my buddy Sam), the ones who love their gritty rock and roll (Me) and those who are blessed and love both equally (my buddy Paul and my Girlfriend). "Hot Fuss" was definitely more synth-driven and "Sam's Town" was more rock-driven and last year they released their own B-sides album "Sawdust" that was a glorious mix of both.

In a couple of their newer cuts from "Sawdust" ("Tranquilize" and "Shadow Play" in particular) you could almost see a new hybrid blend of both sounds and I really thought that was what "Day & Age" was going to sound like.

When I popped in "Day & Age" on Monday night, I started skipping through to get to the one rock-driven song that I knew was going to be on the album (I had obviously already heard "Human" which is more Euro-pop and "Spaceman" which is just good ol' American pop rock).

The only problem was that I kept skipping... and skipping... and skipping...

I was crushed when I got all the way through the album and there wasn't one classic Killers ROCK song. "Losing Touch" and "Neon Tiger" are close but still stay too much on the softer side for me ultimately.

There's no "Uncle Johnny" or "For Reasons Unknown" or even "When You Were Young" on this album and that momentarily devastated me. What kept me afloat was the fact that I KNEW the songs that are included were really, really good.

Just not my particular style.

So, I already knew this one was going to take longer to fall in love with but the good news was that I already appreciated it.

The best way I can describe "Day & Age" is that it truly is a Las Vegas album (that's where the band is from). Like Paul said, you can just be yourself in Vegas and that's what every song on this record is: unique and original.

And going through the album is like driving down the Vegas strip. You have the astronaut-themed restaurant ("Spaceman") on your right, there's the African-themed amusement park ("This is Your Life") up on the left and the tropical-themed casino ("I Can't Stay") is straight ahead at the end of the street. But with songs titles like "A Dustland Fairytale" and lyrics like "under the heat of the southwest sun" and "rattlesnakes and romance", you are always reminded that all the lights and glamour of the city are still out in the middle of a desert.

I think they could have scaled back a little on all the stylized settings but I still love this album because there's no other band out there today making songs like this. I'm proud that it's part of the Killers collection, even if it will never be my all-time favorite, "Desert Island" album.

So far I do love "Human", "Spaceman", and "This is Your Life" (very U2-ish at the end despite the African chanting). "A Dustland Fairytale", "Losing Touch" and "Neon Tiger" are starting to grow on me (I saw a live performance of "Losing Touch" and I already like it better as a concert song than a studio cut). It's going to take a little longer for "Joy Ride", "I Can't Stay" and "The World We Live In", but I committed to giving them a chance. And I hope I'm never in the emotional place necessary to get something out of "Goodnight, Travel Well".

What is that, six, maybe seven out of 10 songs that I could really be into before it's all said and done?

That's pretty much "Hot Fuss" for me and I'll take that any day.

The FUSE network is running a special half hour Killers concert over and over again this week and it was cool to see the new songs blended in with the old stuff. Everything with The Killers always sounds so different but somehow works as a whole.

Oh, and did I mention they kick off their U.S. tour on January 17... in Denver, CO? (While that's not a reason to move somewhere, it certainly doesn't hurt.)

I'm looking forward to seeing them live again and living in this new day and age as a Killers fan.


Anonymous said...

I like the new killers, but I don't think I'll ever put it up there with Sam's Town. I hate to say it, but at times it reminds me of Radiohead's The Bends, in a bad way. The beginnings and ends of the songs are annoying... it doesn't seem like a good "album listen", so to speak. Maybe I'll change my mind.

- Jesse

Ross Costanza said...

I can relate to Jesse's point of view. I do have to say they use some really creative progressions in this stuff. im really digging the new stuff. It is that nice fusion of electronic and rock. Lyrically, it's hit or miss.

Anonymous said...

I really like this album. It has a nice feel to it for sure. My dislike for "Sam's Town" was well documented in this blog, but I think this album is a great mix of their first two records. With "Hot Fuss", it was almost as if the Killers didn't want you to take them too seriously. And then on "Sam's Town" they went to the opposite extreme. "Losing Touch" is the best song in my opinion.