ARTS

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December 2, 2008

Shortcuts—The Killers' Day and Age

[img id="77066" align="alignleft"] “Are we human, or are we dancer?” Wait…dancer or denser?

This query has pressed Killers fans for months since the release of their enigmatic new single “Human.” For the record: It’s dancer. But the rest of their new album Day and Age is just as infectious and just as lyrically perplexing.

While The Killers have never been known for lyrical lucidity, they are no strangers to commercial success. Soon after the release of Hot Fuss in 2004, The Killers established their pop dominance with hits such as “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me,” which made them a common (if not slightly threatening-sounding) household name. The Las Vegas–based band followed up their immense success with the somewhat less accepted Sam’s Town in 2006 and its companion Sawdust a year later. Despite these mixed reviews, The Killers have fully redeemed themselves with their latest release, which is reminiscent of their best work and also takes some exciting new risks.

Most of the new album is an experimental hodgepodge of styles from the subtly reggae chorus of “I Can’t Stay” to the poppy commercial jingling of “Joy Ride.” Sure, The Killers have plenty futuristic electro-pop songs like “Human,” but there are also some tracks that are throwbacks. “Spaceman,” for example, a ballad dedicated to alien abduction, could have been stolen from David Bowie’s long-lost song book, “The World We Live In.” It immediately evokes ’80s pop.

If you are a fan of The Killers’ old sound, do not despair. “Dustland Fairytale” is just one song that is classic Killers. Brandon Flowers’s pure and characteristically shaky voice belts out a chorus that could have found a place in an earlier hit like “Reasons Unknown.” His familiar vocals provide a fantastic transition into some of the band’s newer-sounding material, such as the dark and sleepy “Goodnight, Travel Well.”

All in all, this album is everything a Killers fan could hope for. Day and Age is an incredibly diverse compilation of moods and melodies that are perfect for any time or place, not just alien planets or Nevadan deserts. So try to attain the perfect Brandon Flowers warble and sing along—you’ll be glad you did.

—Rebecca Gieseker