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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Killers Return to Sam’s Town

The Killers Return to Sams Town

When did rigidly defined genres become mere adjectives to bandy about as though one were comparing wines? When did the vocabulary for describing sound change from hard and soft to light and bold? Have music reviews, a descriptive medium, which once simply compared the sound of one band or album with another, become as pretentious as a high school student’s poetry? This album is not a bottle of expensive wine. This album does not start out ‘light and refreshing’ with hints of anything. It does not ‘go down smooth’ and finish off with an edge. This album is rock, and rock it does.

“Sam’s Town”, The Killers’ second album, is a bit of a departure from their first major release, “Hot Fuss”. “Hot Fuss” made heavy use of synthesizers and had a pop feel to it. “Sam’s Town” eschews the pop-synth tones for an indie-pop-rock feel. The synthesizer is not completely gone however. The opening and title track “Sam’s Town” starts out with a synthesizer to set the melody, and then the guitar quickly takes over. The album’s single, “When You Were Young”, comes off sounding more pop than indie, yet not as pop as their previous single “Mr. Brightside”. Their influences (Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) are easy to hear on this album. The track “Why Do I Keep Counting?” sounds like a Springsteen ballad with some Bowie mixed in for good measure. With “Sam’s Town”, The Killers, who’ve been called “the best British band to come out of America”, are trying to sound less like a British band and make more American music. While the band does have some illusions of grandeur, lead singer Brandon Flowers claims that “Sam’s Town” is “the best album in twenty years”. This is not unduly earned. “Sam’s Town” is the best new album that I’ve heard this year. It’s nice to see something that isn’t straight up pop, a rehashing of old themes and melodies, or just a quick grab for money. It’s about time we have an album thrown at us by the marketing machine that’s actually worth listening to. Too many bands these days are just photocopies designed to make money or if they’re good and original, they disappear after one hit. I can honestly say that with “Sam’s Town” as their second album and hopefully more albums ahead of them, The Killers may just be the next big thing.