Monday, November 24, 2008

The Killers: "Day and Age" Review

I must admit, this one caught me by surprise. The Killers have made a complete 180 turn with their newest album, Day and Age. Some reviewers have already called it their best album yet, and others have said that it's nothing more than a strained revival of 80s pop music. Well, it seems to me that both are true.

These are not The Killers we've all come to know from their first two albums. It is true that Day and Age sounds much more like 80s pop than their traditional "neo wave" and punk-esque style. Their two leading singles, "Human" and "Spaceman" make this change in style painfully clear. Oddly enough, the end result is that newcomers might love this album, while fans are put off by it. I can't emphasize enough that despite all its good points, Day and Age is a huge middle finger in the face of Killers fans.

With this in mind, it might be hard to imagine how this could be called their best album, so I'll explain that first. The first two albums were dripping with style, in a good way, but let's face it, most of the songs on both were fillers. Each one only had three or four really good songs. Day and Age is much more consistent in quality. If you find that you like the new style, then chances are you'll love this album. Only one or two songs fall below the quality standard. So while I can't call any of these songs excellent, almost all of them are solid.

The two singles are the obvious standouts. "Spaceman" is without a doubt the best song. It's full and catchy, and it clearly got the most work in production. Then there's "Human." I think most people will either love or hate this one. It takes a major influence from 80s pop, and the vocal style is a painful reminder that this can hardly even be called rock music anymore. The melody sounds like it could have come straight out of a Broadway musical or a Pet Shop Boys tune, take your pick. Nevertheless, it's catchy, and some people will take to it easily.

"Catchy," in fact, is a good way to describe almost all the songs on this album. They might not have you rocking out the way The Killers did before, but somehow you'll find yourself singing them all day. I would list song titles here, but as I look at the album, it seems that every song with the exception of "Joy Ride" and "Goodnight, Travel Well" fit into this category. As for those two, "Joy Ride" is the weakest link in my opinion; it just doesn't have much going for it. "Goodnight, Travel Well" is the closing song. It's a bit reminiscent of "Everything Will Be Alright" from Hot Fuss. I won't say it's bad, but it's really just there to finish off the album, not to be a memorable song.

So I say again, your enjoyment of this album will be directly proportional to your ability to stomach the change in style. From an objective standpoint (or as close as I can get to it), this is still their best album in terms of quality, but be warned. You should definitely listen to the two singles before you commit to the purchase, or you might be terribly disappointed.

Caius's Rating: 3 stars

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