[CD Review] The Killers, 'Day & Age' (Island)

2004, Hot Fuss: “Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.”

2006, Sam’s Town: “He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus, but he talks like a gentleman.”

2008, Day & Age: “Are we human? Or are we dancer?”

What does this mean? Who knows? Obviously. But if you can get past these clunky lyrics, there’s a lot to like about the Killers, especially on Day & Age, their third—and possibly best—album. Much like how Sam’s Town strived to emulate singer/songwriter types such as Bruce Springsteen, this record continues to further the band’s horizons, inserting tropical rhythms into “I Can’t Stay” and the funky “Joy Ride,” which adds a saxophone to the musical offerings. These two tunes are also the most unabashedly fun the Killers have been, abandoning the self-consciously cool air of earlier releases. “Neon Tiger” builds to a catchy chorus, despite featuring some of the album’s most lyrically dubious moments (“I don’t wanna be broke, I don’t wanna be saved, I don’t wanna be SOL”). The seven-minute, dirge-like “Goodnight, Travel Well” closes out the album and balances the more poppy tracks preceding it.

The band’s trademark nouveau-new-wave sound hasn’t disappeared and is readily apparent in such songs as “Human” (quoted above) and “Spaceman” (call it the epic Killers “-man” duology of ’08). But that sound is rapidly falling out of fashion (does anyone still care about the Bravery?), so moving on from that is a wise move. This is a lofty compliment, but it’s almost R.E.M.-esque in that it skips around the sonic landscape without the band losing their own distinctive quality—they’re still “Killers songs.” The result is 10 tracks and their most well-rounded effort yet.

 
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