I’m always wary when a lead singer of a band releases solo music. Chances are, it’s a cosmic slop of tunes that didn’t make previous albums with the band, mixed with potential radio songs. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Brandon Flowers’ second solo release (yes, he did release a first one a few years back – Flamingo – you should check it out) works.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed my fellow earbudders, the onslaught in the past year or so of an 80s sound revival that has returned to the music scene. As someone who was around this sound the first time, my ears are relieved. Flowers’ music clearly shows he was influenced by it as well. This album sounds like a throwback of Howard Jones, Culture Club, mixed in with interesting storytelling that rivals something from the vault of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics. Flowers was always a good storyteller in his music. He makes you think, he makes you dream, and he makes you realize – no matter what – life goes on whether or not your life turned out the way you wanted it to. Combine his lyrics with a synthesizer, big band extravaganza, and you’ve got a winner of an album. The sound of keyboards with strong background female singers, and an excellent horn section should not be overlooked as well. There are a few songs that sound like outtakes from The Killers, but overall, it is worth the investment in time to listen. It’s got something for everyone. Here are a few of my favorites.
Dreams Come True – Great opener; A very positive ditty about a collection of outsiders who want something better in life other than coming home, working, going to sleep, punch the clock – wash rinse, repeat.. I’m sure we all feel the same way.
Can’t Deny My Love – First standout. The first in a series of 80s throwback songs. This really sounds like a departure from what we’re used to hearing from him when with The Killers. Has a Carribean Queen sound with a repeated but quick guitar riff.
I Can Change – Strong harmonies on this one. Another dance tune that could’ve easily been released in the 80s. Simply put, he’s willing to change for the object of his affection and he’s fine with it.
Still Want You – The chorus sounds like it could be a member of chant city. Loud chants, Kinda corny sounding, but it works. Only thing missing? A tambourine.
Between Me and You – I call this Bruce Springsteen light with Peter Gabriel thrown in for effect. It’s pretty, it’s poetic, it’s sappy, romantic, and I’m sure it will get a singalong from the audience when performed live.
Untangled Love – If you loved The Cure, you’ll love this one.
Desired Effect – The title track is another track that sounds like it could’ve been on a The Killers album. Funny enough, this is the title track. “Are you taking the time to listen, is it doing you any good? Are you looking to change the world? Have you already changed your mind?” Questions like this continue on throughout the song. He’s questioning the lives people lead, and the effect that their lives have on them. Is it what they wanted? Or is it something completely different? And if it’s not what they wanted, what are they going to do about it? it’s kind of a head-shrinky song. It definitely left me with wondering what good am I on this earth? And is the life I chose worth it after all? Where was this song when I was in college?
Overall, it’s a solid album. check it out if you want, or not. It’s up to you.
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