Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An Apology - or - Why I Think That Sam's Town Is Good


I must first apologize to those of you (Beau, Richard) who have continued to check this blog for updates over the past weeks with no satisfaction. At first I thought I wasn't writing cause I had nothing to write about (I wasn't watching TV, I wasn't seeing movies and I wasn't listening to that much new music). Then I though it was because I didn't have the time.

Those were both lame excuses. It was true, though, that for a few weeks, maybe a month, there I wasn't being exposed to popular culture the way I have been for the last 22+ years, and that it the lack of media stimulation kind of fucked with my head. Or, perhaps, really fucked with my head. I think I'm better now, even though I still can't remember the last time I watched BET, VH1 or, gasp, any television station owned by the glowing beacon of love that is Viacom.

But "nothing to write about"? Who was I kidding. Maybe September was a down month, but I'm not even convinced of that. I've been at least as lazy as the popculture machine has been (no, I haven't listened to Futuresex/Lovesounds and, no, I haven't listened to Cookie Mountain or Whatever and, no, I haven't even listened to the new record by one of my favorite bands of all time for chrissake I Am Not Afraid of You and Will Beat Your Ass)- the blame goes both ways. But now I have a job where I get free promotional copies of CDs. So that's enough explanation.

Which takes us to 2nd things Second. I listened to Sam's Town (the Killers' new CD for those who, I dunno, there's no reason you should've known that really) for the first time while doing lots of other things last Friday. I thought it was great.

I listened to Sam's Town for the second time this morning on my way to work. I thought it was even better. And I fucking hate the Killers! Fucking hate them! Biggest tools in the world next to Nickleback I shit you not except for Creed! Because they have the audacity to think that they are doing something important not because they're Canadian (Nickleback) or Christian (Creed) but because they're indie rock. And lord, boy, don't even, no. I'm not gonna address that.

What I will say about the Killers is that they are huge. Like I said, huge tools, but also, just huge like a band hasn't actually been in years. They were big when Herr Brightside was doing its thing, but there were still people out there who didn't know, didn't care, or maybe just thought of them as another band on the radio. I think when this album drops (not like an album usually drops, in the Macey Gray written on the dress sense, but more like you know, the Pressure Drops) everyone is gonna feel it one way or the other, and everyone will have to have an opinion on the Killers.

Even if I'm off base though, they sound, they fucking sound like they're totally positive that this is the case and that they have been since they were four years old and first saw Bono's face in the tube. In the Killers, I'm convinced, we have the first great arena rock band since Journey. Can you think of a single great arena rock band from the 90s? There weren't any. Fuck you if you say Pearl Jam too.

In recent years there have been pretenders like the Darkness, who are good, but don't take themselves nearly seriously enough, and I think the Hives coulda done it, but wait no, they couldnta. This has been an unrecognized void in our culture for the past decade and 1 half. Just because bands kept playing sold out shows in gigantic arenas, we were fooled into thinking that the Dave Matthews Band or Korn somehow were arena rock bands. Dave Matthews belongs playing to a giant open air crowd, and Korn sucks. I dunno where they should play, but maybe New Jersey, they suck.

And hey, funny that I bring up New Jersey. Everyone and their mom seems to want to say that Sam's Town is Brendan Flowers's attempt to become the next Bruce Springsteen, or, at least, Bruce Springsteen. Maybe, but who cares because he totally fails. He ends up sounding much more like Steve Perry or Jon Bon Jovi, and that's what counts. You can't compare this album favorably to the Boss, but you can compare it favorably to Journey. And I love Journey. Journey tried to be Bruce on occasion, too, and failed miserably. Just cause you sing about "getting out of this town" doesn't mean you can be compared to Springsteen, though I understand why people are trying to make the connection ($).

So yeah, the Killers are assholes who have no idea what they're doing and in many ways completely fall on their faces on this album in regards to accomplishing what seem to be their goals. But the outcome is so ludicrously huge and hugely ludicrous that it cannot be taken seriously at all - the fun is imagining what it would feel like if you could take it seriously. God some of the lyrics are terrible, there's one I'm sure you've heard about a hurricane in "When You Were Young" that is so cringeworthy it's almost as good as classics like "the movie never ends/it goes on and on and on and on". Try to take it seriously! I dare you!

Ok ok, I'm almost done, but I thought I'd try to put it into an equation: talent (at creating pop music, which is so nebulous a thing it's not worth explaining) + more money than anyone should be allowed to have + huge egos + straight faces + the desire to be someone that people with taste find interesting + a total lack of taste = Sam's Town. Does that make sense? No? Well maybe I'll make more sense next time when I plan to write about Wolf Eyes.

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