“Mr. Brightside” is among the definitive pop statements of the past five years, and in twenty years it will still be on every compilation album of this decade. The rest of The Killers’ million-copy selling debut Hot Fuss was not nearly as impressive, but on the strength of that single alone it remains an important artifact of the revivalist dance/glam-rock movement.
Understandably, the hype surrounding their follow-up has been huge, and it hasn’t helped that lead singer Brandon Flowers has been singing its praises all year. But if lead single “When We Where Young” didn’t clue you in, Flowers and crew actually have something special on their hands. Though Sam’s Town is a self-described take on Bruce Springsteen Americana, with its barroom intro and piano-heavy ballads, the heavy influence of epic ’80s bands like The Cure and U2 are still lingering around the edges.
As a concept album about reaching into America’s past for lost values and dreams, it only halfway succeeds (the lyrics aren’t always on the mark); but as an album of huge guitars, soaring vocals and anthems for the down-heartened, it works gloriously. It may not have anything on par with “Mr. Brightside,” but as an album, Sam’s Town is much better than Hot Fuss and it firmly establishes The Killers as a legitimate artistic group – to go with their already immense popularity.