Brandon Flowers, lead vocalist of indie sensation, The Killers, has recently released his first solo album. For various reasons the band decided not record these songs together, but allowed Flowers to try his hand at dazzling their fans all on his own. Yet, where were they all four years ago? After the sensational reception for their début album Hot Fuss the world had become the band’s oyster. It was clear that they had hit the big time when they were asked to play at Live 8 in July 2005. However as excellent as Hot Fuss was, it was the release of their second album Sam’s Town in the autumn of 2006 which fully established The Killers as giants of international indie rock.
Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town share similar traits and qualities. Both albums have a mixture of slow and fast paced songs, as well as a varied range of content and meanings in their lyrics. No song is similar to another. Furthermore, every track from both albums is polished and has every right to be there. There are no fillers. It is these similarities which help make Sam’s Town such a great album. There is a consistency in quality, but a variation in style. The band did not regurgitate Hot Fuss but rather moved on and gave their fans twelve new songs which enhanced their reputation rather than just reaffirming it.
This album, at least for me, was addictive. When the third track When You Were Young was released as a single, I can still remember watching the T4 Exclusive of the video late on Friday night in August 2006 on Channel 4. It is a fantastic track, with more dramatic rises and falls than the world economy. Everybody I knew wanted to get hold of the track long before it was going to be released. The Killers had not only launched their newest single, they had reignited the fire that was their fan’s admiration of them. It was obvious from an early stage that Sam’s Town was not produced to simply ride off the success of Hot Fuss but create its own success and attract new listeners to the band.
The other outstanding tracks from Sam’s Town include Read My Mind, This River is Wild and Bones. Although they only marginally sit above the album’s other tracks. The mixture of poignant verses and catchy choruses means the lyrics stay in your head, not only to enjoy, but contemplate. Sam’s Town makes you willingly think and can even become part of your personality. This is such a difficult quality for songs to have, unless they literally preach at you. This River is Wild is a track that will stay with me throughout my life. It I can never tire of listening to it. Even Brandon Flowers’ voice seems to be at its best in this album. Moreover, what is probably the most important aspect of Sam’s Town is that each track follows the previous one with consummate ease. It was put together with slightly more care than Hot Fuss, and it pays off beautifully. Every song has been placed in the right order. It is very easy to listen to this album from start to finish, without having to set your media/CD/mp3 player to shuffle or even skip the odd track.
All in all, this is an album that oozes excellence. It was released at a perfect time, and not only assured that the admiration for Hot Fuss was justified, and emphasised the band’s talent, but brought it to a whole new level. The Killer’s third album though released in 2008, Day and Age, sadly did not reach either the same high standards or the acclaim that its predecessors did. Which perhaps emphasises how good the first two were. Whether you agree with the band’s music or not, you cannot disagree with their success so far. It would be a massive shame if The Killers’ second album were to be the pinnacle of their discography, and there is always hope for more to come from the lads from Nevada. Having said that though, Sam’s Town is arguably a better album than Hot Fuss, and the band will always be credited for completing the tough task of equalling, if not bettering, their first effort which made them so famous to begin with.