Neon Review: ‘Day & Age’ by The Killers

The Killers
Day & Age

Day and AgeWe’re going to deviate from the typical, one-sided, subjective album review you’ve come to know and hate for this latest studio effort from Las Vegas’ own The Killers in favor of something far more interesting: a two-sided, subjective album review. Today, VEGASinsight’s Pj Perez welcomes special guest Roger Erik Tinch, art and online director for the CineVegas Film Festival, as we present two very different takes on Day & Age, which hits stores in the United States today.

Pj: As usual, The Killers keep Day & Age lean, with only 10 tracks over 41 minutes (not counting the bonus tracks which we media types don’t get to preview). But that doesn’t mean they’ve cut the fat musically. Rather, the boys from Sin City try to cram so many different sounds into not only the album but each song – from dance to funk to Latin to rock to pop – that it seems along the way they just forgot to write a good song. It feels as though The Killers are overreaching even more than on Sam’s Town, whereas they’d be best off stripping back the horns and orchestral overtones and simply scratching out some palatable hooks and melodies.

Roger: OK, do some of the songs rip off The Clash? Sure. But four (three studio) albums in and the band is stilling putting together fully encompassed songs, unlike some of my other favorite bands, Coldplay and Radiohead. They rip from the playbook of The Beatles (yes I said it) and make rhythmically catchy tunes on top of seemingly simple lyrics that get more complex the digger you deep. Is it their best album? No, that is still reserved for Sam’s Town, a dystopian cowboy’s guide to the desert. But it is once again a cohesive album that raises the bar on their musical eclecticism without fully changing their “sound.”

Let’s look at the album, song by song:

“Losing Touch”
Pj: Hmm … it sounds like E.L.O. I guess I’m biased against ’70s retreads but totally alright with ’80s do-overs, as I very much enjoyed The Killers’ debut, Hot Fuss. Come on, if you’re going to dip back into the ’70s, at least make it David Bowie or Iggy Pop or, hell, go the Billy Joel route.
Roger: A great introduction to a new sound from The Killers. Pay attention to the sax as that’s the driving force behind the intriguingly fresh soundscape for the lads.

Pj: By now, we all know this first single from the album, whether or not we like it. The scary thing is, as bad as this song sounds as a single compared to great, early Killers tracks such as “All These Things That I’ve Done” or “Somebody Told Me,” it sounds surprisingly refreshing next to the rest of Day & Age, even if it easily could have been recorded by Erasure 25 years ago.
Roger: This is a quintessential Killers track. Catchy rhythm: check. Catchy hook: check. Aural use of synths: check. It’s just a beautiful song that has as much of a timeless sound as it does a space age-y feel.

Pj: Tempo: Good. New Order-ness: Good. Brandon’s voice: Bugging the crap out of me for some reason. This new, near-falsetto whine just doesn’t work here. And every time I’ve seen the band – which is after and in between every album – he can’t pull it off live. Not a single—sorry, Island.
Roger: Speaking of space, this just rockets you into the atmosphere. Just try not singing along and rocking out to the “Spaceman says everyone look down” chorus. Definitely works as a second single. Sizzles with energy and has a kinetic force that builds to the last note.

“Joy Ride”
Pj: This is actually pretty enjoyable. I mean, I like funk. I like disco. And Flowers isn’t whining. It kind of reminds me of “Station-to-Station”-era Bowie. I’d pick this as a single over “Spaceman,” but then again, it still sounds too locked in the ’70s to really make it, especially not on alternative radio. ’80s disco they like – ’70s, not so much.
Roger: See, this track just screams The Clash to me. Maybe it’s just my “London Calling” obsession. Anyhow, it’s amazing how it dips into a ’70s vibe, then out to acoustic guitars, then back into a groovy saxophone bridge. This is another example of the band extending its sound brilliantly.

“A Dustland Fairytale”
Pj: Oh look, ethereal, piano-driven storytelling pop. That’s not ’70s at all. Hey, Meatloaf just called about his royalties for “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.”
Roger: This one is all about Brandon Flowers’ lyrics, backed by some wonderful orchestral strings. It’s the power ballad of the album for sure, and also an example of the band’s knack for creating fully encompassed songs formed with cohesion from beginning to end. No such thing as “filler” tracks for this band.

“This is Your Life”
Pj: Bass line from When in Rome’s “The Promise” … weird tribal chanting … “Chariots of Fire”-like synthesizers … it now occurs to me The Killers are the live equivalent of a mash-up DJ. And it’s not pretty.
Roger: This is less of a mash-up and more of an aural journey, as was the previous track. I am constantly amazed by how many different sounds a song can have and how easily they ebb and flow throughout. It never sounds forced and keeps a sense of unpredictability that you seldom find in many songs today.

“I Can’t Stay”
Pj: I don’t even know what to say at this point. I think I’ve lost such interest. It’s … um … please never play this live, guys. When The Cure tried the whole quirky Latin and jazz influences, it worked — see “The Lovecats” or “The 13th.” This just doesn’t.
Roger: Come on, this is just a light and fun track. Let the boys break out from the guitars and synths every now and again.

“Neon Tiger”
Pj: Here we go, back to that Sam’s Town Springsteen-iness … without the hooks.
Roger: The band never forgets its Vegas roots and with each album, The Killers have a track that reinforces that. This is that track. Not the strongest song on the album, but then again, even their worst songs are better than some band’s best songs.

“The World We Live In”
Pj: I am tapping my toes. Man, I love Hall & Oates. Oh wait … it’s not H&O … it’s INXS. It’s … hell, I don’t even know at this point.
Roger: I love it every time they bring in the orchestral strings and horns. As close as to Coldplay as they’ve ever gotten. I dig it because there is a genuine earnestness on display here. Flowers writes from the heart, irony be damned.

“Goodnight, Travel Well”
Pj: And here, at the end, clocking in at 6:51, is the absolute best song on the album, a slow-building, tempered, epic song that feels like a live band and not a jukebox, with Flowers sounding earnest as he repeats “there’s nothing I can do now.” Why can’t there be more like this?
Roger: Coming on the heels of Death Cab for Cutie’s nine-minute epic “I Will Possess Your Heart,” this also takes the dramatic route in length, but with a thunderous build that poetically creeps along. Before you know it, the track is over and so is another solid album from The Killers. That four for four in my book!

And there you have it, kids. If you want to form your own opinion of The Killers’ latest opus, we recommend heading on over to, where you can buy Day & Age for only $3.99 this week. Why pay more?

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