Nevada’s finest The Killers’ second album Sam’s Town (2006) had the perfect combination of thundering, rousing instrumentals, raw, passionate and heartfelt vocals and memorable and realistic lyrics. There is so much depth in so many of the songs on this album but while remaining emotive it never gets to a depressing ebb but rather finds the right balance to strike. A stunning album filled with light and shade and a record in which, while the listener would have their favourite tracks, that no song can be discounted. Some might be growers compared to others but eventually one will find themselves completely engrossed in this modern day rock gem so let’s take a look at each track individually.
The title track comes thundering into your ears like a bolt of sound before vocalist Brandon Flowers starts singing, “Nobody ever had a dream round here but I don’t really mind that it’s starting to get to me.” so one instantly realises Sam’s Town may be based on a town where one is not expected to succeed. The track is very catchy and has a stunning way of changing from tempo to tempo while the lyrics are like a short story which Flowers sings with a storyteller quality perfect for the song.
The Killers have always had a non-serious side. They always struck me as a band that took their music seriously but not themselves seriously which was refreshing because a lot of bands around the time The Killers first became successful did seem to take themselves far too seriously and most of them didn’t have the talent or the songs that The Killers had and on the Enterlude one can hear that carefree side as Brandon croons along to a piano saying how good it is to have us with them “even if it’s just for the day.” And it flows well into When You Were Young.
When You Were Young
This song has a very romantic quality and again utilizes Flowers’ gift of storytelling in his voice. Speaking about a woman finally meeting the man of her dreams it is a very relatable song especially if you are more Bridget Jones than Kate Moss. The instrumentals from Dave Keuning (Guitar), Mark Stoermer (Bass) and Ronnie Vannucci (Drums, Percussion) are full of power which seems in contrast with the lyrics but it works perfectly together.
Bling (Confession of a King)
Combining classic rock sounds with more modern rock sounds this has instantly recognisable instrumentals if you just happened to catch a snippet of the song. It is stunningly crafted (But what else would you expect from The Killers?) and Flowers’ vocals are strong and completely on point once again while the backing vocals from his bandmates Keuning and Stoermer flow beautifully into the song.
For Reasons Unknown
This funk-infused rock song displays the vulnerability and passion in Flowers’ voice as he opens up allowing the listener to hear raw pain echoing. That makes this song very real and you can instantly understand the feelings and emotions breaking through the surface. And the instrumentals have a wonderful beat to them which compliments Flowers’ vocals superbly.
Read My Mind
This exquisitely crafted number is very understated but it is it’s simplicity which seems to add to it’s charm. It was always one of my favourite Killers’ songs. It has that amazing classic rock sound which I just adore. It feels kind of Thin Lizzyesque and the lyrics are spot-on. The feelings of been young, unsure, falling in love and trying to achieve something in the world are very realistic and relatable. Stunning.
The instrumentals have a very good flow on this track. The lyrics are strong and Flowers’ delivers them brilliantly. Not my favourite song from the album but a good tune nonetheless.
Another one of my favourite Killers’ songs. It has a very passionate, lustful feel about it. (Which of course I like! Never trust the quiet ones indeed!) Echoing the lyrics “Don’t you want to come with me? Don’t you want to feel my bones on your bones? It’s only natural.” Flowers manages to raise our hormone levels by several decimals! Right compose oneself! Right, again it is a very realistic portrayal of romance through it’s lyrics and the contrast of those almost Christmas sounding instrumentals at the beginning combining with the classic rock instrumentals throughout the song was kind of genius.
I love this song. It is another favourite. For me, it has that sentiment of someone been very ambitious and putting their career first but someone special been on their list and they feel that the person is too good for them but they are still going to try to make them theirs. It’s quite romantic and the lyrics are beautiful with Brandon’s voice oozing a softness on the verses that is not a usual strength he displays but it just shows the unbelievable versatility of his voice. The chorus is very anthematic without been cheesy and at one stage near the end of the song when his voice is combining with Keuning and Stoermer it sounds like a throwback to sixties psychedelic rock.
This River Is Wild
The contrast between this song and the previous song is brilliant. How one flows into the other is genius. This is a crashing, thundering song of amazing instrumentals with Brandon’s voice growling with intensity over them. The mark of a great frontman.
Why Do I Keep Counting?
I adore this track. Probably my favourite on the album, it is the song I listen to the most from the album. The lyrics are very vulnerable and I can relate to the emotions. Brandon’s voice is stunningly raw, open and full of passion. The vulnerability in his voice helps the lyrics to penetrate through. I think it is about fear of the future and wondering where you’ll end up in later life but wondering is it worth it to worry because what’ll happen will happen anyway. Brilliant.
The exitlude seems to flow effortless from the previous track when Brandon sings, “It doesn’t really matter. Don’t you worry, it’ll all work out.” before the band break into a jam about hoping we’ve enjoyed our stay.
Where The White Boys Dance
The song after the Exitlude has a great storytelling quality present from the first note. It is another favourite and has a great beat to it. The instrumentals go from softer to heavier with sublime ease and the contrast in the instrumentals blends amazingly well together.
Listen to the album here: