Excellent: Tyson vs. Douglas
It’s a classic surging “triumph of the human spirit” rocker the band started doling out on “Sam’s Town”, and plays to all their strengths…even if the lyrics border on hilarious. The whole song seems to be about Brandon Flowers being really torn up about Mike Tyson losing a fight???? Like, he takes it really hard, singing lines like “I had to close my eyes/ just to stop the tears” and contemplating withdrawing from the world because of the news. All that said, it’s still a solid tune and only outclassed by “The Man” and “Run For Cover” on this album.
Pretty Good: The Calling
A left-wing, Mormon take on Depeche Mode‘s aesthetic sounds absolutely ridiculous in theory, but mostly works here. I’m pretty sure the song is about subsidized health care, which is a weird subject to pair with lounge lizard vocals and a bluesy guitar riff, but a strong chorus places it firmly in the “listenable” category.
Meh: Wonderful, Wonderful
The title track is a blatant take on U2‘s “Bullet the Blue Sky” with a hint of the band’s own “Goodnight, Travel Well” thrown in for good measure, but the murky atmosphere makes for an interesting track. While it might not be as formidable as Brandon Flowers thinks it is, at least it’s an adventurous choice to use as an album opener.
Below Average: Have All The Songs Been Written?
This album’s requisite “slow, long song” is a far cry from the first four records’ contributions, and surely doesn’t belong in their pantheon. “Everything Will Be Alright”, “Why Do I Keep Counting?”, “Goodnight, Travel Well”, and “Be Still” were all fantastic in their own right, ranging from deeply pensive to high epic. This song suffers from the same malady that Lady Gaga‘s “Million Reasons”, in that it’s a ballad which awkwardly skews what should be a hook into something utterly directionless. There was a hint of promise here at one point, but now it’s just a flat snoozer of a track.
Ripping off the blandest songs of Phil Collins, U2, and Steve Winwood (in that order), these songs are sure to be mainstays on the PA system at your local Rexall Pharmacy for years to come. I can picture myself picking out a new toothpaste with one of these playing in the background, maybe interrupted by a service call asking for a clean up near the front of the store.