Today’s album is a little bit of a hodge podge affair from a band you may know, but an album of remixes, b-sides, and unreleased material….that might as well be a musical grab bag.
The Killers – Sawdust
Listen to it Here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/The+Killers+Sawdust/68679496
Read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sawdust_%28album%29
One year ago: Tom Waits was crooning Rain Dogs at us.
Fun Fact: The band also performed a tune called “Spaceship Adventure” on Nickelodeon’s “Yo Gabba Gabba.
|The Killers – Sawdust
Preconceptions: The Killers were actually introduced to me back in 2005, when Jackie and I flew across the country to meet a friend we made on the Internet. It was my first time meeting anyone that I had solely known through a video game and occasional ventrilo chat. It remains one of my favorite vacations ever, and I have a tiny skull tattoo to remind me of it every day. Because the Killers self-titled album was huge at that point, Dru, MsR and Fez (Melissa, Jackie and I) took them on our road trips, along with Franz Ferdinand. Whenever I hear them I think of seeing the Seattle skyline, trying not to breathe in Tacoma, and drinking a sandpail filled with alcohol before belting out Billy Idol during a karaoke night. I haven’t heard this album though.
Mood: It’s been a rough few days, but the idea of listening to this is actually making me happy.
Least favorite track/tracks:
Overall (1-5 stars): 4.5
Preconceived Notions: Oh The Killers. I bought Hot Fuss when it came out after “Somebody Told Me” had its moment in the sun. They were more “rock” at the time than I was used to, considering that what I was listening to was various forms of Lou Perlman manufactured sugary pop. I haven’t listened to Hot Fuss in a long time. My friend is a huge fan of them, and I’ve listened to them in mix cd form often, and their catchiness is undeniable. I like Brandon Flowers a lot. He’s got the theatricality to make the perfect lead singer. Anyway, I’m curious about this one.
“Tranquilize” sounds like Abba and Marilyn Manson have a love child who eats Rush for breakfast.
“Shadowplay” I haven’t heard the original version, but I can sense enough 80’s Brit influence that this sounds like an appropriate, and acceptable, update on the song.
“Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf” makes me kind of think that George Jones might have been more of an influence than I originally thought. It sounds like what I believe the futuristic hybrid of Willie Nelson and David Bowie would sound like, if only they would finally colonize the moon. Get with it Gingrich!
“Show You How”- I’m not a fan of the answering machine gimmick in the beginning, but once it kicks in for real, I like the Weezer meets Richie Valens vibe of it mostly, but I don’t think that Flowers’ voice sounds as good as it could.
“Move Away” there’s just something uber creepy about a song that contains the lyrics “take your skin off while you listen to me”. I think this is probably the most distinctive-sounding song on the alubm.
“Indie Rock & Roll”- I couldn’t stop thinking that this should have been in a Baz Luhrman movie, except he’d have to speed up the tempo
“Who Let You Go” would someone just answer the question? Just ANSWER THE QUESTION CLAIRE! I think the goal here was to make a song that millions of people could sing along to in a stadium (I mean sha la la la la is very catchy and easy to replicate) but here, for listening, there’s just too much repetition for me.
“Sam’s Town” I really like this version. Probably because it’s piano-based and I’m a fiending addict for piano based songs. I love you Jim Steinman!! (I’m about 88% serious about this 5% hipster and 7% afraid of committal to this statement in case it should come back to haunt me)
“Romeo & Juliet” well, this song has a very special place in my heart, mostly because of its association with Empire Records and my ever-lasting belief that A.J. is the perfect guy and that Rex Manning Day should be a legitimate holiday. The first time I heard it, I had no idea who sang it, but there is something about it that’s just kind of, well, close to a perfect song. It’s a hard song to mess up as long as you don’t change the melody, and they’ve kept the whole thing pretty much intact. It’s not a re-imagining, it’s a straight up Gus Van Sant re-make, so it’s my favorite on the album.
“Mr. Brightside”…I feel like I really want to like the remixed part of this, but something about it highlights Flowers’ monotonous delivery on the verses. The chorus is gorgeous, but there isn’t enough change in delivery during the verses to fit with the music.
After Listening: I’m slightly confused as to my feelings for this album. Usually compilation albums are only really beneficial to super-fans. You know, the buy international versions of the same CD at Sam Goody kind of fans. But there’s some new stuff on here and while I don’t think I need to own the album, there’s a couple of songs I’d pull off of here. I’m a fan of The Killers, not like obsessive or own everything fan, but I genuinely like a lot of their stuff. It’s always a nice blend of rock and pop . I’d really love to see them live, mostly because I just think Brandon Flowers is kind of a charismatic guy and that there’d be enough songs to dance to that it could be really fun. I think I would have liked it if there hadn’t been a stretch where everything blended together, but there wasn’t a point where I thought “I actively don’t like this”.
Overall: 3.6 the covers and remixes make it hard to judge, and the new stuff didn’t stand out a ton, but on the whole, I would listen to this again, and still enjoy it.
Favorites: Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf/Romeo & Juliet
|Preconceived Notions: As the idea of the Killers go- the mainstream hits I’ve heard, I enjoy them. To me they’re a little more pop than they are rock, but when I hear them it’s usually a welcome break from the surrounding musical selections of the local pub or the gym. I have been looking to pick up and really dissect an album – but I’m not sure that what’s basically a compilation album is a good place to begin.
After Listening: As previously stated –I’m not a big enough Killers connoisseur to really be able to tell where these tracks might fit into the band’s musical evolution. I do think I can hear plenty of good reasons that half of these tracks never got proper releases before now. Somehow this album is chocked full of a lot of the trademarks that a casual Killers listener like myself could identify with – but the magic of their hits is not often found. It still sounds like the Killers for certain, in particular their continual use of the same rhythmic structure on the majority of these tracks – which is basically just “When you were Young” slowed down (on a track like The Ballad of Michael Valentine), or similar vocal deliveries to well just about everything I’ve ever heard from them. And it’s this sort of repetition that wears one out before you get too far into the thing. In fact, the only break in these monotonies are really on the songs they decided to cover and put on here.
Favorite Tracks: Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll – Apparently this one’s been released on album before – so I’m not sure what the changes to this version are, but it couldn’t have hurt it too badly. We get both some raw elements on the track in terms of guitar tone, and then some of the poppy base & keys and drawn out melodramatic vocal deliveries that hallmark the band.
Sweet Talk – This one’s got a little bit of a simple groove, but it doesn’t bludgeon you with it, and in parts the song opens up to some very cool synth parts- a tinge of 80’s recall there.
Least Favorite Tracks: Show You How – Just a song without any direction, generic lyrics, generic music, not really concealed at all by the phone intro gimmick.
All the Pretty Faces – The main riff in this is sort of a silly, and has an almost fake hard-rock vibe around it. Then the song does basically nothing around it-but continue to feature it, so not great.
Overall 2.632 I wanted to like this album more than I did, and I’m pretty sure that given a legitimate studio effort of the band I probably would. But this album, this plays out exactly like the concept does: its bits of stuff lying around – some of it works when reworked, but the majority of this sounds like flat and uninspiring efforts. The covers on her are sort of uneven efforts – Romeo and Juliet sounds good, Ruby Don’t take your Love to Town –sounds a little like a children’s group before they’ve had their morning coffee. I’m not sure if I’d like a unified written for the record, record from these guys all the way through – even here they sound a like they repeat a lot of their clichés infinitum, but I’m not ready to make that judgment on this collection. Probably a lot more for Killers fans, than casual listeners – I don’t think there’s much here that would make a convert.
|The Killers – Sawdust
Preconceptions: My pick. I probably picked it so MK-47 would listen to one song on the album.
Thumbs Up: Romeo & Juliet, Under the Gun, Daddy’s Eyes
Overall: Although I picked this as a non-curiosity recommend, I have to admit this album is uneven (as all b-sides/rarities comps are). The covers live or die by the strength of the original version, meaning a Dire Straits tune will always be better than Mel Tillis/Kenny Rogers no matter who is singing. The originals are spotty as well. Flowers and Reed’s vocals mesh nicely on Tranquilize, but seems a lot longer than it’s 3:45 running time. I spent the majority of the album wishing I was listening to Sam’s Town, which is their best album.
Rating: 3.0 An average pitch, straight down the middle