Sound Check: The Killers’ Battle Born
By Alexis Burnett
After an 18-month self-declared hiatus, The Killers’ Battle Born was expected to be a sort of comeback to make hardcore fans’ long wait seem worthwhile. When it opened with “Flesh and Bone,” the album delivered an upbeat synthesized rock anthem and moody lyrics like, “This natural selection picked me out to be / A dark horse running in a fantasy.” Sadly, Battle Born wore itself out over the course of a few more similar anthems. The Killers seem to try too hard to crank out subsequent epics that blended into more of a smattering of 80s sounds with heartfelt lyrics barely peeping out from under all the noise.
As just another rock album, Battle Born certainly holds its own, but as anything else, the album hardly breaks into originality. Its strongest tracks, “Flesh and Bone” and “Miss Atomic Bomb,” are definitely radio-worthy songs, but everything else is simply boring. “Miss Atomic Bomb,” with its focus on Flowers’ impressive vocals, more harmonize synthesized sounds, and lyrics of young love — “When I look back, upon those neon lights / you’ll never see the passage right / I feel the heat, I see the light, the Miss Atomic Bomb” — stands out among the rest as one of the tracks listeners will remember to re-visit. The album maintains The Killers’ anglophile, Las-Vegas-strip style and holds true to its influences, such as The Cure, David Bowie, Duran Duran and U2, but overall fails to add something new to the alternative rock genre.
It’s great when a band sticks to what they’re good at, but not so much that there’s absolutely nothing that feels new. The band would have done well to add more variety in sound and tempo, but as it is, what came out in Battle Born did not do justice to previous albums.
Battle Born is an okay album and will certainly appease long-time fans, but blends into the background of nostalgic tunes by any higher regard.