The Killers :: Battle Born
The Killers make the kind of albums I fell in love to music to growing up. They create the kind of albums that should be listened to, released, and held in vinyl form, with full record cover sleeves that open up and boasting artwork and lyric sheets. These are epic albums full of emotion, big stories to tell, and an almost theatrical power that is ever and always chill-inducing. These are albums that demand a supporting tour, as all the songs, and the band itself, are always so incredible live.
For me, The Killers albums have always been growers. Now, that is often a negative comment to make about an album, but in their case I do not mean it to be, at all. I mean it to be representative of the longevity and complexity of the songs that require multiple listens, each time peeling back a layer of what is there, what is being said, and what characters are being revealed.
This is not something I can garner on a first listen, as Brandon Flowers’ voice, and the band’s talent, tend to initially take me away into the soaring space of his vocal range and the overall power punch the songs deliver. I almost always end up finding myself swept up in the music before the lyrics actually seep into my skin.
As a lyric kind of girl, this is not a common reaction for me to have to a band’s albums, but it has happened before, most notably with Duran Duran and U2. The Killers definitely teeter on that stadium sized big band more often than not in their albums, always flirting with the notion of being a big and booming rock band with a side-dish, and two-drink minimum, of pop flash and flair.
This is not to say that The Killers are not lyrically moving and memorable, they most certainly are, it just takes some time invested for me to take it all in, and let the words flow along with the music.
Battle Born is going to be a grower, and it is having the same impact on me as past albums from The Killers have been. On first and second listen, I am reminded of how much I loved seeing the band play live, and I find myself itching to hear these songs played live. This album soars and shakes, each song building on the next, inducing heart racing and skin surface prickles. I am already starting to fall for these songs, and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that with every listen I will fall harder and deeper.
This album feels a cross between their first release, Hot Fuss, and their sophomoric turn of style, Sam’s Town, a coming together sound that is a damn good thing to me. As with Hot Fuss, I hear the influence of both 80’s bands, like Duran Duran, and early 2000’s indie groups like The Strokes. This is most noticeable on Deadlines and Commitments and The Rising Tide. In the Sam’s Town vein, there is definitely that Springsteen-esque, Americana feel to Miss Atomic Bomb and From Here on Out, the latter which feels like it could sit comfortably beside any song from the Bruce’s Born in the U.S.A. album.
My favorite right now is Heart of a Girl, a song which could be a post-script, phone call back to the character in their song off of Sam’s Town, When You Were Young. This is the bittersweet coming-of-age musical tale that The Killers do so very well. Lyrically, it is novel rich and humanity driven, the kind of song I want to close my eyes and sink deep within, picturing it all playing like a movie on the inside of my eyelids.
The first single, Runaways, is fantastic, as well, with its very straight-on Killers feel. This is the song I most look forward to hearing performed live, especially that first build-up to the chorus at the start of the song. This will be a long-standing, many repeated listened to song of theirs, holding hands and sharing musical adoration with my other favorites of theirs, All These Things That I’ve Done, Read My Mind and A Dustland Fairytale; there really is one per album that just completely ignites and stays burning in me, for always.
Be Still, lest I forget, is gorgeous and brings real tears to my eyes, reminding me of how I feel about my children, especially when they are going through the struggles of growing-up in the world, which can sometimes be so terribly cruel.
To me, this album brings nothing new to the table in terms of lyrical storytelling and sound, but that is just fine with me. Battle Born contains all of what I love about The Killers, and all that I expect when I pick up their albums to listen to. As my Grandfather used to say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and in the case of this album, I did not come to it wanting change. I came, with arms wide open, ears perked up, with a palpable desire for a long, slow simmering love affair, which is honestly what The Killers always deliver.
Runaways :: The Killers