Music Review: ‘Battle Born’ is killed in combat

Katie Madden
Staff Writer

Those hoping to hear something radically new from The Killers’ fourth studio album, ‘Battle Born,’ are in for quite a letdown.

Those waiting for more of that endlessly catchy formulaic approach got exactly what they wanted.

Taking a departure from their more daring and whimsical third effort, ‘Day & Age,’ the new album transports listeners back to Las Vegas in the 1980s.

However, after listening to this record, some fans would agree that getting The Killers’ out of the desert heat might be good for them.

The entire album reads as a long-winded love letter to Sin City and the good ole’ days.

Listening to each song, it is easy smelling cigarettes and dust, seeing neon lights flickering and feeling teenage angst and affection dripping out of every lyric and keyboard synth.

From the first track “Flesh and Bone,” The Killers produce a mini-anthem asking a question to listeners.

“What are you afraid of? and what are you made of?” Videogame sounds and riffs straight from a Western set the mood and undoubtedly confirm influence from the electric cowboy scene that is Vegas.

Two recurring motifs, reminiscing of a past love and recovering from hard times, appear in every song and frequently overlap.

‘Battle Born’ has the ability to either inspire or to annoy its audience. It just depends how much listeners enjoy Bruce Springsteen sound-alikes.

Fortunately, front man Brandon Flowers still isn’t afraid to use his infamous vibrato.

However, were it not for Flowers’ distinctive voice, this album could easily belong to any other indie pop band itching for the 1980’s sound.

The album’s first single, “Runaways,” gives just a taste of several other rock ballads that follow.

Tales of reminiscing about an old flame are told through “The Way it Was” that croons, “Did you forget all about those golden nights?” and “Here With Me” that cries, “Don’t need those memories in my head, no, I want you here with me.”

Although sweet at first, the endless ruminating on the topic of innocent teenage love quickly becomes cliché and overused.

To escape the sappy moras, look to songs like “The Rising Tide” and “From Here on Out” that evoke a more upbeat and spiritual nature.

Amid the country-twanged “From Here on Out”, Hallelujahs ring out as Flowers’ sings about the importance of letting go of grudges and of giving forgiveness.

The songs “A Matter of Time,” “Deadlines and Commitments,” “Miss Atomic Bomb,” “Heart of a Girl,” and “Be Still” rely on the tired idea of saving a girl from her troubles.

Hearing Flowers serenade broken girls about how he can heal their wounds and catch them when they fall gets old after the fifth mention of the loss of innocence and his plan to save them.

Closing the album is the grand finale, the namesake of the record’s title, which assuredly is a future air guitar favorite and anthem chant.

“When they knock you down, you’re gonna get back up. You were battle born.”

Despite the monotony of ‘Battle Born’ as The Killers new album, it undeniably has a way of getting into your head and growing on you.

If you look past the aforementioned issues and take it at face-value, it is an entertaining and infectious record that’s perfect for long drives with the top down and lighter waving at large shows.

The Killers certainly know how to please a crowd, but please, wow us next time.

The new album is available to download on iTunes or Amazon.

Katie Madden can be reached at kaitlin.madden@laverne.edu.

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