Do you know why they're getting so much flak in the U.S. press while (allegedly) getting rave reviews over in Europe and the lot? Because, in American culture - as far as music's concerned - the mainstream music fan is interested PRIMARILY in lyrics, and secondarily with music; whereas, in Europe, it's music before lyrics.
In other words, the music is very good on this album, you can tell it's VERY well produced and rehearsed and edited and all that. No complaints whatsoever on that regard, in fact, it's impressive how excellent this record sounds.
But the lyrics are EMBARASSINGLY bad! I can't even get over it. And, anyone who's aware of this band knows: you do NOT go to The Killers for quality lyrics. I mean, listen to "Somebody Told Me" or "Mr. Brightside." Some of the lyrics just don't make any sense! However, the urgency and feeling of the singing behind those nonsense lyrics allow the listener the ability to relate to what he's saying. They may not understand it, but dammit, he's singing with passion, and yeah my heart's been broken (I THINK that's what he's singing about, whatever, who cares), and blah blah blah. That notwithstanding, the new batch of lyrics on "Sam's Town" are PATHETIC! I mean, I kinda understand the Springsteen comparisons, because on some of the songs Brandon Flowers adds a little unsettling husk into his singing voice. Not like an imitation, but he's normally got that high, whiny voice, and it's disconcerting to hear him otherwise. Couple that with the fact that he's singing pseudo-Springsteenesque lyrics in what's still, for the most part, a high and whiny voice: you just can't take him seriously! He's a punk white kid from Vegas who's about as straight-edge as they come (except, oh he smokes cigarettes, he's a rebel!). Say what you will about Springsteen - I don't think he's particularly all that great; he's no lyrical mastermind; his music sounds mostly the same and that's UNimpressive - but at least when you listen to him sing about Johnny and Sally in Downtroddenville, Middle America, you get the feeling that he actually KNOWS what he's talking about. He's been through the rough times and come out wiser, or something.
It's pretentious is what it is. Look, I understand Killers, you tried your best. You went in with a vision and put your all into it. But, when you're writing these lyrics that's supposed to appeal to the working man - and you're metrosexual white boys from Vegas - I'm just not buying it. And neither is anyone else in America. Sure, Europe eats it up because they don't know any better. They hear all this and they think, "Man, America's more backwards than we thought. I've heard of New York and L.A., but the rest is just so FASCINATING." Meanwhile, we know better. It's NOT fascinating, especially when you don't know what the FUCK you're talking about!
Bottom line, Killers, you play your instruments pretty damn well. You've created a good Wall Of Sound thing going there, you should be proud. Stop with the concept albums, STOP writing lyrics, and for God's sake, go with what works! I don't agree with Rob Scheffield very often in Rolling Stone, but he said that your last album was well-received because you stuck to your 80's style neo-pop type music. Go with it! Trying to sound like these high fallutin' bands like U2 and whathaveyou - they've got it down to a science! They can pump out their Uplift Rock out at the drop of a hat! It's what they do best! So, Killers, you just do what you do best - singing about girls who look like boys and losing that special someone to Eric Roberts - and you'll be just fine. Don't reinvent the fucking wheel, man.