With arena-rock choruses and anthems as flashy as his hometown of Las Vegas, Killers frontman Brandon Flowers has fashioned himself to be something of a glam-pop Bruce Springsteen. In that way, ‘Battle Born,’ the first we’ve heard from the band in four years, is an epically masculine, unapologetically dramatic, thoroughly enjoyable listen — if you can get over the fact that it’s really, really cheesy.
When it gets big, it gets really big. Take, for instance, the shotgun-wedding power ballad ‘THE RUNAWAYS’. Lines are “I got a tendency to slip when the nights get wild,” or the John Mellancamp camp of the country-infused ‘From Here On Out,’ which includes the words “your quarterback smile and crocodile tears.”
And when it gets soft, it gets really soft. The balladeering is off the charts, most notably on ‘Heart of a Girl,’ a comparatively minimalist composition that’s all bass lines, soft plucks and shakers. Again, Flowers, reminisces about romances past, and this time, he’s arguably at his most charming: “She wrote her number down and gave it to me/they had to scrape me off the floor.”
What, then, are the themes of ‘Battle Born?’ It’s about going for it. It’s about not stopping now. It’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about death. It’s about America.