The Killers: Battle Born

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If any more evidence were needed, The Killers are proof of the unfortunate phenomenon that popularity so often equates with mediocrity in the music world. A hugely acclaimed band, they have built their success on plain, enervated rock songs. It’s the least common denominator at work again, as The Killers slip into the mix of extremely popular, yet musically destitute, bands like Coldplay and Kings of Leon. Their fourth studio release, Battle Born, is nothing but a bland and lifeless excuse for an album.

Granted, The Killers are unquestionably talented performers. But alas, competent performance is worlds apart from the ability to pen an engaging set of tunes, and Battle Born is unimaginably monotonous. Opener “Flesh and Bone” is labored and overproduced, with a tedious structure and guitar parts that sound as if they were extracted directly from the “Standard Handbook of Dull Guitar Progressions.” Lead single “Runaways” is a harsh, discordant track on which Flowers is guilty of shouting where he should be singing.

Overflowing with trite romanticism, the record is as uninspired thematically as it is musically. Not to bully Flowers, but he may want to reevaluate his idea of a romantic complement. On title track “Battle Born”, he sings: “Always seen you as a kind of keeper / Mother of a child.” And on “Miss Atomic Bomb,” Flowers tells us passionately: “I feel the heat / I see the light / Miss Atomic Bomb.” The fan-girl who falls for this version of romance is surely a woman of questionable judgment.

Reaffirming what became apparent with the release of hit single “Mr. Brightside” in 2004, The Killers demonstrate again that they are one of the most disproportionately successful bands relative to the quality of their music. Their latest, Battle Born, is a tiresome collection of below-average rock songs.

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