166 of 188 people found the following review helpful
Am I listening to a different album than everyone else????,
This review is from: Battle Born (Audio CD)
First let me say that I am a huge, diehard Killers fan. Sometimes that may make it hard for me to be objective, so let that be a warning to anyone that reads this.
As with all Killers' fans (Victims), I had huge hopes for this album. This was the album that I hoped would end the debate on which Killers' album is the best. This was the album that I hoped would bring The Killers the attention and respect that they deserve in America. This was the album that I hoped would bring back a rock revolution and put a damper on the teen pop that has a chokehold on today's radio. So when I got in my car, cranked the volume, pressed play and started with Flesh and Bone and didn't stop or skip all the way to the end.......guess what I heard? The album that would just do what I'd hoped. Battle Born totally blew away all of my expectations. Upon first listen, I enjoyed every single song. I cannot say that about any prior Killers' album. On past albums, it would take several listens for many of the songs to grow on me. Eventually something would "click" with me, a line, a riff, something that I missed on all of my prior listens and then I would feel like an idiot for not liking or "getting" the song to begin with. That was not the case with Battle Born at all.
So after my excitement of hearing what I thought was the best Killers album ever, you can imagine my disappointment as I started reading the reviews. I started with reading professional reviews. Of course all of them were just brutal. "Well the critics have never liked The Killers," I thought. Why would I think Battle Born would win them over? So, then I checked out what the "people" were saying about this album. It was even worse. Rolling Stone, which has always been hyper-critical of The Killers, gave a better review than most posts I've seen on Amazon and Itunes. Have I lost all sense of what is "good music"? Or am I listening to a different album than everyone else???
I will take some time to explore what I've seen as the most common complaints about Battle Born and give my opinion. Once again, maybe I have just gone off the deep end, but if you've snubbed Battle Born for one of these reasons below, I believe you need to give it another listen.
1. "Battle Boring, No Energy, Too Many Ballads"-----By my count there are 3 ballads on this album, "Here With Me", "Heart of a Girl", and "Be Still". Which I will say that is a lot for a Killers' album. Now, I define a ballad based on the tempo of the song. All of the other songs on Battle Born, in my opinion, are either mid-tempo or upbeat. "Miss Atomic Bomb" may start off slow, but by the 2nd verse it sounds like it has hit the same beats per minute as "Human". If you define a ballad based on the subject matter of a song; busted up relationships, the state of the world today, the trials and tribulations of your faith or the music industry, then yes Battle Born has a lot of ballads. In fact every single song would be considered a ballad by that definition. Actually, every single song The Killers have ever written would be a ballad.
My thoughts on the ballads: "Here With Me" is a classic 80's Journey/Reo Speedwagon power ballad. You will either love it or hate it. "Heart of a Girl" is a gospel-tinged song that reminds me of "Romeo and Juliet" meets "On the Floor". I don't think Brandon ever gets too preachy with his lyrics, and as a person of faith I certainly appreciate that he incorporates that into his writing, but if it's not your thing then this song may turn you off. "Be Still" is my least favorite song on the album, but still resonates with me more than "Everything Will Be Alright" or "My List" from previous albums.
I don't know how others are measuring "energy", but if it is by tempo of song, this album has energy. If people are referring to the energy that The Killers play with, then I would say YouTube any of their performances of "Runaways" or "Miss Atomic Bomb". Clearly to me, the guys "believe" in these songs as much as anything they've done before. And as someone who has seen them live recently, I was blown away by their energy and excitement when they played their new songs.
2. "It sounds like Flamingo 2.0"----This is a puzzling critique to me. Primarily, because when Flamingo came out, all I can remember people saying is that it sounded too much like The Killers. Given that Brandon is the voice and lyricist of The Killers of course you are going to hear similarities between the two. This is why I feel that lead singers should not release solo albums, but that is another story.
3. "I wish they would just go back to their Hot Fuss sound"----I hate to say this people, but Hot Fuss 2.0 will probably never be produced. And if it ever was to be made, everyone would complain about how they just copied themselves and were not original enough. Each album The Killers have released manages to show a different side, but yet still kind of sound like The Killers. I'm still amazed that everyone else continues to be surprised by this phenomenon. It's just what they do. However, with Battle Born I didn't hear any curve balls. No saxophones or disco, just pieces of all of their work before. From Hot Fuss to Flamingo, all of those ingredients are used to create Battle Born.
4. "No Guitars"----Really??? Really?? You can't hear Dave? Does he crank out a solo at the end of every song? No. Can we at least agree that there are more guitars on Battle Born than on Day & Age? Yes. The guitars are certainly more prominent on Sam's Town, but I couldn't argue that there are more or less guitars on Battle Born than Hot Fuss. If Hot Fuss is the gold standard, then everyone should be happy with the level of guitar work put in by Mr. Keuning.
5. "Bad Lyrics"----This is the band that gave us "Somebody told me you had a..........", "Are we Human or are we Dancer?", or "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier". Brandon's lyrics have always been up for debate - this is not new to Battle Born. "I don't want your picture on my cell phone" will probably be this album's most picked on lyric. To me, The Killers have never been about coming up with the best prose in 4 minutes, but being able to create an emotion or paint a picture that is somehow connected to your life but yet still seems like a scene from a movie. I will say Brandon's lyrics are more linear on this album than past. I don't think that is a good or bad thing. In the lyrics I hear stories and I hear some ambiguity on Battle Born. Just like all the other albums.
6. "All the songs sound the same/blend together"----You can't have it both ways. Either their sound is constantly evolving or it isn't. There are too many ballads or there is not enough. Regardless of what they do, people never seem to be happy. I'm frustrated as hell about this, and I didn't even make this music. I can't imagine how Brandon, Dave, Mark or Ronnie would feel. I guess they are just used to it by now.
To me this album is a must-own for any Killers' fan. If you are not a fan already, I don't know if this album will change your mind about them, but hey give it a shot. I will end by saying this: Don't be too surprised when the next Killers' album is released if you read people complaining that it doesn't sound enough like Battle Born.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 23, 2012 4:17:10 PM PDT
Nickolas X. P. Sharps says:
Great argument against the detractors. I knew before this album came out, before I even listened that it was going to catch a lot of flak. What's funny is that I keep seeing "Not enough like Hot Fuss" or "Not enough like Sam's Town" or "Not enough like Day & Age." Why would you want it to be?! Who wants to listen to the same album with a different name? Even though I don't love Day & Age I can appreciate that it's something different. I would rather The Killers develop their style and try new things than keep releasing the same album. Yeah, there are some missteps in my opinion (I really dislike "Heart of a Girl") but there's been at least one song I dislike on every album and this is my favorite band. So I say let the haters hate, we Victims can sit back and enjoy it. It's good to have the boys back.
Posted on Sep 23, 2012 6:48:23 PM PDT
M. SEBOURN says:
I was going to write a review of this album to counteract some of the negative star ratings. But you've effectively said everything I intended to say.
I suspect all the great rock albums of yester-year had their detractors, and had the general population had a means of venting their opinions, you'd be hearing/reading the same kind of drivel about them. The Beatles got too serious. Led Zeppelin went pop, and so did Fleetwood Mac. Etc.
The Web has given people a medium through which to vent their opinions.
However, time will be the ultimate judge, and I think time will be kind to The Killers.
This album is slightly different by their standards, but at the same time... It's The Killers, and I think it's a darn solid release. In fact, it is my FAVORITE album by them, as I feel it is solid all the way through. Not one iota of filler.
And don't worry about Rolling Stone, etc. I love that mag, but I ignore their reviews, even when they praise something I like. For example, Springsteen. I love the Boss, but it's as guaranteed as the sun rising tomorrow that the Boss could burp the alphabet, record it, release it, and RS would give it five stars and say it's the best thing he's done since Born To Run.
Yes, ignore the professional reviews too. Even the likes of RS are blatantly biased and should not be trusted.
Posted on Sep 24, 2012 8:31:01 PM PDT
Couldn't have written it better. Excellent review!
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2012 9:52:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 26, 2012 9:53:14 AM PDT
J. Frank says:
I am not a huge Killers fan, but I was reading through the reviews and caught yours. I can't be a judge on the music, but fans and our current society are a very picky group. Any band or artist that has one huge album in their catalogue will sufer from fans expecting every single album thereafter to be a "Part II" like the Killers with "Hot Fuss". Another example, Alanis Morrissette with Jagged Little Pill. People need to get over the fact that artists mature and evolve.
OH, and Rolling Stone? Yeah, I don't pay attention to them anymore now that their reviews are half-assed
Posted on Sep 27, 2012 11:56:59 AM PDT
Troy T. Lentz says:
i agree with the fan above. what are people hearing. Battle Born stands on its own well, great music, lyrics and amazing vocals. Brandown could sing the phone book. He is awesome. Love this band
Posted on Sep 30, 2012 5:35:14 PM PDT
Erik J. Malvick says:
It is definitely a damned if you do and damned if you don't kind of world. The MP3 age has shortened the collective attention spans of music fans amongst other things.
If the Killers make another Hot Fuss, they'd be criticized for making another Hot Fuss. The band evolves and then they are criticized for evolving. I don't think many critics no what they want and given the sad state of the recording studios, there is a predetermined rating for albums before they've seen the light of day.
I haven't listened to the album, and while I can't say your review says much to me about the album, it provides an admirable defense of the band. I've been a borderline Killers fan. I saw them as a potential favorite following what I see as the demise of my favorite band, U2. They have never quite met my liking but I follow them and listen to them thinking that they will release that album that wins me over. I actually think this album may be it, and your review in conjunction with others is leading me to give it a try.
Never-the-less, the real point I want to make is that don't let the critics get you down. The Killers have been a great album band, one of a few that are left and even fewer that are new to the past decade. Unfortunately, the mp3 age has made albums secondary. Critics are rather harsh to albums these days. They want a complete piece in a song not 10 songs. The concept of an album seems nearly lost. It's too bad. I just hope bands like the Killers stick around and don't give up on the album format themselves. Even on bands I don't like much, I respect those that stick with the album as a format. I like a good hour of entertainment.
Posted on Oct 5, 2012 1:05:33 PM PDT
I'm not Jane says:
I have not gotten this CD yet, but I stopped listening to critics and to others' opinions of records I love a long time ago. And "professional" reviews have frequently led me astray. So I'll more than likely get this and enjoy the hell out of it. Thanks!
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 2:16:19 PM PDT
Anthony Levan says:
Though I didn't like the weird lazy wording in the RS review, they did give it a 3 star rating which is a "Good" on their scale. Far from bashing it.
Posted on Oct 26, 2012 2:58:09 PM PDT
Excellent review... I couldn't agree more. I don't know what album these other people are listening to but I've loved this one straight out of the gate.
I get so much power and emotion out of this album. I don't see how people miss it! Then again, these days ever more people are self-important, narcissistic jerks with exceptionally poor taste (Honey Boo Boo) and sorely lacking character. It's no wonder this album went "over their heads".
Chew on that negative reviewers.
Posted on Oct 30, 2012 5:06:45 PM PDT
"This was the album that I hoped would end the debate on which Killers' album is the best. This was the album that I hoped would bring The Killers the attention and respect that they deserve in America. This was the album that I hoped would bring back a rock revolution and put a damper on the teen pop that has a chokehold on today's radio."
A good album, for me, is not about selling loads of copies, it's not about critical acclaim or 5 star fan reviews either. It's simply whether I personally enjoy it. It's good that albums sell enough so that the artist can continue to make more, I guess they do have to make money after all.
I can never understand why people always have to compare albums of the same artist/band. Each album is it's own thing, the nearest you will find to it are b-sides/special edition songs.