The Killers were arguably the biggest band in the world in the mid-2000's following the success of their new wave-y, post punk revival effort Hot Fuss. Then Sam's Town happened and failed to live up to the hype, it charted well but sold significantly less, the same can be said for their third studio release Day & Age. Hoping to re-claim the Hot Fuss glory, the boys from Vegas are releasing Battle Born in September, which is an homage to their home state, much like they did for Vegas with Sam's Town (same name as a famous Vegas casino).
“Runaways” is the teaser track for Battle Born to get us excited about its impending release and I'm not sure if the song, band, or myself is schizophrenic (perhaps it's all three). I feel differently about the song each time I hear it- sometimes it's okay, then it's better than okay, then it sounds like “When You Were Young” part two. My problem with the Killers is I feel I was duped; I was sucked in and toyed with mercilessly by their '80s throwback (ripoff?) sound on Hot Fuss that harkened back to my favorite bands of the '80s and further demonstrating their love and understanding of the new wave/post-punk genre, their name is a New Order reference. Then the followup, Sam's Town, was arena rock, Americana, with a side of Bruce Springsteen forgery that some called exploring their roots, expanding their sound, and being brave. I called it jumping the shark and I wasn't interested. I gave D & A a chance as well and it was a bit of a dancey mess that was closer to Hot Fuss Killers but it was a caricature of what they once were. Lead singer Brandon Flowers does his best big sound, with some Boss-flavor thrown in. While Flowers has sited Springsteen, Lou Reed, Elton John, and Bowie as influences and definitely has their flair for the dramatic and love for storytelling down and is a magnetic front man, he's not believable.
“Runaways” is a disjointed song that started as a good idea- kids who grow up together, fall in love and forge a Bonnie and Clyde/us against the world vagabond lifestyle and are either running from themselves, each other or the world. What I'm left with is no clear feel for the couple, their love, or struggle and the result is what I fear the Killers have become: flaccid rock with a big Vegas dream. My hope is that Battle Born is all the best parts of their first two albums with a dash of maturity and development of style and sound. I don't have a lot of hope after one song, but a girl can dream.