The Killers Battle Born- 2012
RMR Album Rating- 3 (Poor)
“Don’t break character/ You’ve got so much heart”…
These lyrics from “Be Still,” although inadvertently introspective, are quite ironic, as The Killers were once a band filled with unique musical “character” and “heart,” but Battle Born is completely void of both.
“Flesh And Bone” and “Runaways,” the album’s opening songs, are easily the best two tracks on the album. “Flesh and Bone” is a strong synth rocker, and Ronnie Vannucci’s drum work powers the song into each of its main chorus sections. It also features an interesting lyrical section that concludes the song with staggered vocals. “Runaways” is one of the only songs on the album that actually sounds like a full band effort, and it is highlighted by great guitar work from Dave Keuning and crystal clear narrative vocals from Flowers.
Click here to listen to Flesh and Bone
Click here to listen to Runaways
Other than the first two tracks, the only other real highlight is the heartland, country-rock inspired song “From Here on Out.” The sound of the song is completely new for the Killers, and it teeters very close to sounding like a trite pop-country song, but it is saved by smooth slide guitar work, quick melodic pacing, and a dangerously catchy chorus of “Hey, from here from out/ Friends are gonna be hard to come by.” Lastly, I’ll mention “Matter of Time” and “Battle Born,” which are decent tracks, but there is absolutely nothing memorable about them.
Click here to listen to From Here On Out
Click here to listen to A Matter of Time
Click here to listen to Battle Born
Unfortunately, the remaining 7 tracks are completely forgettable. They are all mid-tempo songs that don’t possess any real “character” or “heart” that make them discernible from each other at all.
Overall, I’m completely baffled by Battle Born. The Killers’ instrumental signature sound has always been a combination of Keuning’s guitar paired with Flower’s retro (yet inventive) synthesizer work layered over a strong rhythm section, but all of that is traded in here for lightweight, easy-listening, background music. Similarly, Flowers normally writes thought-provoking, ambiguous, and sometimes provocative lyrics, but this record is filled with cliché lines like “Don’t want your picture on my cell phone/ I want you here with me” and “Miss Atomic Bomb/ Making out we’ve got the radio on.” All these lyrical and sound changes make Battle Born an overly banal and boring listen, and ultimately— the album just doesn’t work.
Rate this album now! Scroll over the stars and click to rate.