Day & Age | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, March 7th, 2021  

The Killers

Day & Age


Nov 01, 2008 Year End 2008 - Best of 2008 Bookmark and Share

The rock video for “Humans” visually checks off all The Killers’ typical glitzy signifiers (see the prowling white tiger amongst the crimson mesas). After Brandon Flowers and Co. plunked down their version of The Boss’s Americana, they now reinvent(!) themselves with Tropicália-Western songs (“I Can’t Stay” and “Joy Ride”). Alas, the Las Vegas quartet has become that white tiger in the middle of the desert—an out-of-place novelty to gawk at in the heat.

Flowers has said that Day & Age sounds “like looking at Sam’s Town from Mars,” and that sums this release up perfectly. Flowers’ inane Hunter S. Thompson-inspired lyrics flop onto the crest of the weak synth-rock tune, “Human”: “Are we human, or are we dancer?” Somebody needs to check their grammar.

“I Can’t Stay” is an agreeable tropical tune, with skronky saxophone and clear steel drums leading the charge. Eventually, it skitters through the marketplace, pick-pocketing your free time. That’s the showman’s charm that The Killers have possessed since the #1 hit days of “Mr. Brightside” and “When You Were Young.”

Of course, the insipid “Humans” has already followed suit, so any critique is tantamount to someone trying to pass legislation against gambling—it’s just not going to stop the endless phalanx of fandom. Enthusiasts and tetchy detractors will find something to cringe/applaud about as producer Stuart Price (Les Rhythmes Digitales) steers.

There’s a gracious piano ballad, overlaid with moldy Sam’s Town lyrics (“A Dusty Fairytale”), super-sized synth heroics reeking with effrontery (“Spaceman”), and another over-inflated mammoth (“Good-night, Travel Well”) to bookend the whole thing with a sample of ticking clocks. It’s an excruciating reminder of the time lost wandering around in the desert while a synth band screamed their importance. Getting mauled by that white tiger sounds a bit more exciting.(


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