The Killers - Sam's Town

The sound of The Killers’ new album holds all their familiar traits, but at the same time represents a move in a new direction. The guitars and keyboards still dominate and the vocals remain unchanged, yet this album sounds significantly different. I think the main difference lies in the tempo. They either seem rushed or stuck in two minds over what pace their aiming for. The result is an album that overwhelmingly feels off. Another thing that is immediately noticeable with this record is the divide between the first and second halves. The first half contains a number of upbeat, catchy songs, the ones you’ve likely heard on the radio already, while the second half is largely unimpressive. In fact for my first few listens I really couldn’t stand these later songs. However I must say that the more I listened to the album, the better (less bad) they got. I think what this familiarisation has shown is that they are not horrible songs, just ordinary. But the area in which they fail most is the slower songs. Listening back to their first album, you’ll find that the slower songs are well-crafted and quite moving, perhaps even the strong points of the album. Sadly the same cannot be said for this record. Where in the first you got simple melodies and great vocals, here they try too hard and you just get excessive instrumentation. Sure it contains a number of enjoyable and memorable songs, but as a complete package, Sam’s Town is a clear step backwards.

Sam’s Town – Originally I didn’t like this song mainly because of the bridge towards the end. But it’s pure energy won me over in the end. It’s quite an impressive opening and title track

Read My Mind – I thought I should pick a slower song for you to sample. This is probably as good as they get and as you may notice it’s not that great. At least here the sound is reasonably stripped back, as it should be in a slow song.

PreviouslySmile Like You Mean It – This song was always a favourite off the first album. You only need to take a look at this and other songs of Hot Fuss to see where they went wrong. Simple and seductive does it every time.

13 comments:

betty. said...

ugh i hate that end bit in sam's town too. but i love the song

betty. said...

the rest of the song*

Peter said...

They tried to do a franz ferdinand with the big tempo chenage....and failed. Oh well despite it's faults it still ends up as a good song.

kone said...

the more i listen to these killers song the more i like them, well at least sam's town, but the more i hear it the more i hate the ending. Worst ending ever! much like this one...

Anonymous said...

Utter TOSH!

The killers are trail blazers and have defined their own sound, just because something is different to the norm and does not follow standard, people slag it off (see above comments) why can't you just enjoy the new and old music from the 4 guys from nevada. - number 1 singles and albums - oh yes they are completely terrible - not!

Peter said...

If you're trying to tell me I only like music that follows the standard then you're deluded. I don't like the end of that song because it sounds awkward and out of place. I like music if it's good. A band's previous work is irrelevant, almost as irrelevant as their location. But I (and the other commenters) actually like The Killers! I'd hate to see how you'd cope with the hoards of people that despise them!

p.s. album charts confirm only one thing; that the general population are a bunch of brain-dead idiots!

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Anonymous said...

I think the first album(hot Fuss) was excellent. The songs like Smile like you mean it and Mr. Brightside were very good. I also love the song glamorous indie rock and roll. I thought that song sounded great even though it didn't have a real structure.

Anonymous said...

k, the ablum rocks. So shutup and enjoy. I will admit the ending in sams town isn't that great, but it is not bad. Read my mind kicks butt, and so does Uncle jonny. Uncle jonny is upbeat so if you don't like the really slow songs listen to that. The enterlude and exitlude are good to. You don't know music. It rocks.

Anonymous said...

This is me again, the kid who knows Music. So, have you taken my advice and shut up and enjoyed the music you bloody freaks?

mandude said...

Stop bragging, douchebag. Respect opinions.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I have recently become obsessed with the Sam's Town (the song). I actually like the whole I see London I see Sam's town part. It's that final chord and the westernly outro that pisses me off.

Also another amazing song on that record is bones. I'm digging the brass section.

My opinion is a lot of songs of the album were bad. But a lot were good, and the ones that were good I thought were as good as the hot fuss songs. Some even better. But they were definitely different.

Ones I recommend off Sam's Town:
-Sam's Town
-Bones
-Read My Mind (I actually really liked this one, sorry blogger)
-When You Were Young

Haha, it's still only 4 out of a whole album. But try just listening to these closely, it may give you a new view on Sam's Town and the potential it should've had.

(Third records seems to sound amazing as far as Human, Neon Tiger and Spaceman go)

Ryan Zimmerman said...

The only problem with Sam's Town is that it came out in 2006... If it had come out this year.. it would have been everyone's anthem. Sam's Town is by far The Killers' best work. To be honest I didn't even like it until this year. I had given it many many listens and I really feel like I didn't got it until I had gotten really big into their third album "Day & Age" and then I went back and started listening to Sam's Town and suddenly that CD came alive to me. The songs that people consider the obscure ones are honestly their best. people just have never actually given them a chance and stopped listening to other people's opinions that they made from reviews that were from people that didn't even listen to anything but the singles on this album.

"Bling the confessions of a king" at the bridge towards the ending will get stuck in your head forever "Higher and higher, we're gonna take it down to the wire, we're gonna make it out of the fire" -- Almost reminiscent of "I've got soul but i'm not a Soldier"

The rest of the songs lyrically are all about sensory.

the song "For reasons unknown" is beautiful and powerful and really puts you in the place of the writer.

I could go on and on... you really need to listen to "My List" the song is beautiful and powerful almost Queen and Kansas-esque with Epic-ass lyrics and super stacked background vocals.

I think brandon flowers was right... this is one of the best albums of the last 20 years.. I honestly invite you to take the challenge and listen to it a couple times all the way through and I guarantee your opinions will change.