Massachusetts Daily Collegian

“Battle Born” features songs for all audiences

By Herb Scribner

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Flickr/Thomas Hawk

There’s a song for everyone on The Killers’ latest album, “Battle Born.”

Drawing on their traditional styles and new tricks, The Killers have
created an album full of eclectic and engaging songs that create an
entertaining musical experience for those who listen.

The problem with the last two albums (“Day & Age” and “Sam’s Town”)
is that the music was incredibly polarizing. Both had distinct styles
of music that turned away many casual listeners.

With “Battle Born,” a term which appears on the state flag of Nevada,
where the band got its start, The Killers bring a variety of songs for
all audiences.

There are the mainstream hits like “Runaways” and “A Matter of Time,”
which are both jumpy and exciting songs.

Then, there are the softer songs that pull at your heartstrings.
These songs are what anchor the album and make it more than just a
run-of-the-mill music collection.

The tune that stands out amongst these tear jerkers is “Miss Atomic
Bomb,” which lead singer Brandon Flowers said was about the same
characters featured in the widely-celebrated song, “Mr. Brightside,”
from the band’s debut album, “Hot Fuss.”

“Miss Atomic Bomb” pulls listeners into the story of a young love
that is about to perish. Flowers’ raw inflection comes out at several
points of the song, revealing a personal connection to the song’s
theme.

The song also samples the guitar section from “Mr. Brightside,”
connecting the two songs even further. The sample chimes in about
halfway through, indicating that “Miss Atomic Bomb” was the one who
broke “Mr. Brightside’s” heart.

Listen to these broken heart anthems back-to-back, and the complete
story becomes even clearer.

Another powerful song on the album is “Be Still,” which comments on
the nature of the young and innocent. It touches on an idea that
plagues most young people. They’re pining to be older, but never truly
enjoy the gift of youth.

The song’s coda is a repetition of the lyrics, “rise up like the sun
and labor till the work is done” to show what adulthood is really
like.

Then, there’s “Here with Me.”

Flowers gives another great performance on this track, and it’s
apparent that he has a personal attachment to these songs. It tells
the story of a young love that ultimately leads the two being
separated by distance, and how Flowers wants his love by his side,
instead of having to gaze at a cellphone image. The song is hauntingly
beautiful.

The album does have its flaws, though.

Some of the songs’ introductions might send listeners away, as they
feel a little too 1980s. The beats featured in “Flesh and Bones” and
“Deadlines and Commitments” don’t hook the listener in all too nicely.

And while the album is as close to “Hot Fuss” as we’re going to get,
it still doesn’t have that magic that The Killers’ debut album had.
Listeners that loved that debut album and are looking for a return to
that form are going to be disappointed by “Battle Born.” The Killers
get close to that sound, but there’s still a long way to go.

There isn’t a lot of longevity with the album either. Many might get
tired of some of the songs in a short period of time. If anything,
this album inspires listeners to listen to older Killers stuff, rather
than keeping the focus on “Battle Born”.

With “Hot Fuss,” The Killers hit the mark. With “Sam’s Town,”
“Sawdust,” and “Day & Age,” The Killers, admittingly, were producing
music that was a little out of touch with the audience. “Sam’s Town”
featured songs that were a little too old school for many, while the
trance and dance music of “Day & Age” didn’t really work for its 2008
release.

But with “Battle Born,” The Killers have come back to the present.
Their songs hit right on the head with current issues that we all deal
with.

The diversity of sounds this album features will be enjoyed by many
different people because there’s a song on the album for any music
lover.

Indeed, The Killers’ latest musical endeavor was born for everyone.

Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected].

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