Sam's Town

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aec.islb000722102.2
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    Sam's Town Island
    1. Sam's Town (Jpn) Universal Distribution
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Review

Review Text The ghosts of Bono and the Boss are everywhere on the Killers’ second album, Sam’s Town. They're there in the artful, grainy Anton Corbijn photographs on the sleeve, and they're there in the myth-making of the song titles. Brandon Flowers' puppy love for Bruce fuels Sam's Town, as he extravagantly, endlessly, and blatantly apes the Springsteen of the '70s, mimicking the ragged convoluted poet of the street who mythologized mundane middle-class life, turning it into opera. The Killers sure try their hardest to do that here, marrying it to U2's own operatic take on America, inadvertently picking up on how the Dublin quartet never sounded more European than when they were trying to tell one and all how much they loved America. That covers the basic thematic outlook of the record, but there's another key piece of the puzzle of Sam's Town: it's named after a casino in the Killers' home town of Las Vegas, and it's not one of the gleeful, gaudy corporate monstrosities glutting the Strip, but rather one located miles away in whatever passes for regular, everyday Vegas -- in other words, it's the city that lies beneath the sparkling façade, the real city. Of course, there's no real city in Vegas -- it's all surface, it's a place that thinks that a miniature Eiffel Tower and a fake CBGB are every bit as good as being there -- and that's the case with the Killers, too: when it comes down to it, there's no "there" there -- it's all a grand act. Every time they try to dig deeper on Sam's Town -- when they bookend the album with "Enterlude" and "Exitlude," when Flowers mixes his young-hearts-on-the-run metaphors, when they graft Queen choirs and Bowie baritones onto bridges of songs -- they just prove how monumentally silly and shallow they are. Which isn't necessarily the same thing as bad, however. True, this album has little of the pop hooks of "Mr. Brightside," but in its own misguided way, it's utterly unique. Yes, it's cobbled together from elements shamelessly stolen from Springsteen, U2, Echo & the Bunnymen, Bowie, Queen, Duran Duran, and New Order, but nobody on Earth would have thought of throwing these heroes of 1985 together, because they would have instinctively known that it wouldn't work. But not the Killers! They didn't let anything stop their monumental misconception; they were able to indulge to their hearts' content -- even hiring U2/Depeche Mode producers Alan Moulder and Flood to help construct their monstrosity, which gives their half-baked ideas a grandeur to which they aspire but don't deserve. But even if the music doesn't really work, it's hard not to listen to it in slack-jawed wonderment, since there's never been a record quite like it -- it's nothing but wrongheaded dreams, it's all pomp but no glamour, it's clichés sung as if they were myths. Every time it tries to get real, it only winds up sounding fake, which means it's the quintessential Vegas rock album from the quintessential Vegas rock band. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Sam's Town - 4:06
  2. 2. Enterlude - 1:49
  3. 3. When You Were Young - 4:40
  4. 4. Bling (Confession of a King) - 4:08
  5. 5. For Reasons Unknown - 4:32
  6. 6. Read My Mind - 4:06
  7. 7. Uncle Jonny - 4:25
  8. 8. Bones - 4:47
  9. 9. My List - 4:08
  10. 10. This River Is Wild - 5:38
  11. 11. Why Do I Keep Counting? - 4:24
  12. 12. Exitlude - 2:26

Product Details

Release Date
10/3/06 

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