Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seventeen tracks and I’ve had it with this game

I bought the new Killers “album” called "Sawdust" on Tuesday. It's made up of odds and ends and leftovers, some of it is throwaways from the “Sam’s Town” sessions and some of it is left over from the “Hot Fuss” sessions. Guess which ones are better?

If you guessed “Hot Fuss”, go ahead and give yourself a prize. Make it somethin’ nice. You deserve it.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a band take such a radical left turn after a successful debut album. “Hot Fuss” was incredible. “Somebody told me”, “All these things that I’ve done”, “Andy, you’re a star”, “Smile like you mean it”, and of course “Mr. Brightside”—debut albums aren’t normally made up of wall-to-wall hits. What made them want to grow mustaches and start going all Vegas and stuff is beyond me.

So far on this new one, really only four tracks have jumped out at me as being good (aside from their Joy Division cover, “Shadowplay”, which all the critics seem to hate for some reason but I don’t—whatev, I say). As I said, most of the good sawdust came off of the “Hot Fuss" studio floor.

The first of the good ones is a tune called “Sweet Talk” which is full of synthy goodness and a couple very Killers-esque soaring choruses. It’s much closer to what they do best: earnestness and honesty and guitars. And synthesizers.

The next is “Under the Gun” which makes you wonder why it didn’t make “Hot Fuss.” If you boys are looking for a road map back to greatness, that’d be a good place to start.

Then there’s “Leave the bourbon on the shelf” which I’ve learned is part of what’s called the “murder trilogy” made up of it and “Midnight Show” and the stellar “Jenny was a friend of mine”, both off of “Hot Fuss.” I’m told hearing the three together is quite a treat though I haven’t been that organized yet.

The most unexpected thing I’ve found myself listening to a good deal is a remix of “Mr. Brightside.” Normally I like a remix like a bee sting on my eyeball but this one slows it all down a hair, heavies up on the synths, adds some nifty beats, and seems to capture the melancholy of the song in a way I’m not sure I’d heard before. And then it stretches the whole thing out over like 9 minutes.

More than anything, I think it's just reminded me what a frikkin’ great pop song “Mr. Brightside” was/is. I mean, that son of a bitch has got it all: a danceable beat, a flashy guitar line, a simple narrative, that frikkin’ chorus from hell, and a killer fade out. And synthesizers. Lots of them. Easily one of the best tunes of the past five years if not ten.

Sadly, a lot of the songs on this little collection just left me wondering “WTF?” The cover of Dire Strait’s “Romeo and Juliet” is borderline painful. A cover of Kenny Roger’s (yeah, that one) “Ruby don’t take your love to town” is, well, random. “Tranquilize” with Lou Reed is like the definition of so-so. And “Who let you go?” just makes me wonder, “what am I missing here?”

But guys, listen. If you’re looking for a producer for your next full-length, just give me a call. Or just leave a comment. We’ll get in touch one way or another.

I’ll help you make the album you were destined to. An album so good your big toes will shoot up in your collective boots.

3 Comments:

Blogger minus five said...

i downloaded it the other night and felt the same way. it was background music that i wasn't paying attention to all that much--the "ruby" cover is what made me look up and check the itunes to see if it had switched albums and artists on me.

p.s. i love when ou loses.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Howard said...

Glad I'm not the only one. At least the Sigur Ros is solid.

And yeah, any time OU loses is wonderful. Even better when they lose to the Red Raiders who are the only other big 12 team I really root for. Get your guns up!

5:47 PM  
Blogger me jeff b said...

i know exactly why the critics hate it. because the Killers covering Joy Division is much like if Blink 182 covered The Clash. f'ing sacrilege.

4:00 PM  

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