Your Ad Here

Monday, May 25, 2015

Track-by-Track: Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect

I've always been a casual fan of the Killers, but I'm shocked at how completely this solo album by frontman Brandon Flowers has pulled me in. It's been awhile since an artist has captured this specific American rock 80's sound, and even though this album is pretty much 90% homage rather than pushing forward into something new, that's exactly what makes it feel like an instant classic.

1. Dreams Come True - A surging opener, performed with a nearly-gospel fervor. It's the first time we hear the female backing vocals, which play such an integral part in the album. The chorus is absolutely massive, and reminds me of Meat Loaf at his very best. 10/10

2. Can't Deny My Love - For some reason, the production here reminds me of Madonna's Like A Prayer. It's one of the poppiest tracks on the album, but retains a sense of epic grandeur as that catchy-as-hell hook explodes. 10/10

3. I Can Change - A collaboration with Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, at first this sounds somewhat out of place with the rest of the album. It's far more electronic in nature, and opens with an extended vocal intro before bursting into a italo-disco beat. This is probably the track that's grown on me the most. 10/10

4. Still Want You - This is such a throwback. It's an incredibly simple song that could've been produced in any decade, but the wobbly synth and Ronettes-style backing vocals are absolute perfection. I'm just awestruck that anyone's making music like this in 2015. 10/10

5. Between Me And You - The first time I heard this, I was completely smitten. I'm a sucker for melody, and this boasts probably the best one on the album. The second verse, where the production really kicks in, is almost tear-inducingly pretty. If this doesn't become a single, then that's a very wasted opportunity. 10/10

6. Lonely Town - This track caused me to check out the album. It's my favorite, and will likely be one of my favorite singles of the year. From the pulsating synth beat that forms the song's skeleton, to the bombastic post-chorus to the impressive backing vocals, it's a real centerpiece. 10/10

7. Diggin' Up The Heart - Certainly one of the slighter tracks on the album, it comes the closest to feeling like filler. It's supremely catchy filler of the piano-driven Billy Joel type, but it suffers coming after the first six tracks. 8/10

8. Never Get You Right - And we're back to something that feels more classic. Of the ballads on the album, this is one of the best. The verses remind me so much of an 80's song (Tom Petty?) that I can't put my finger on, but the track really starts to soar when the guitar comes in on the chorus. 10/10

9. Untangled Love - Definitely has an epic Killers-esque sound, and I adore the piano flourishes in the chorus, but overall it falls just short of the album's best moments. It's still very rousing, though. 9/10

10. The Way It's Always Been - A somewhat murky, downtempo ballad. It has a very classic rock sound and is more lyrically focused than production or melody. Not my favorite, but definitely not bad either. 8/10

11. The Desired Effect - I don't know why this was a bonus track, because to me it feels essential to the album as a whole. The chorus is gigantic, in a bombastic Meat Loaf way, and I love the lyrics. A fitting closer, and certainly among the best tracks here. 10/10

Album Grade: 9.5/10 Highly Recommended

Labels: ,


Anonymous John said...

Number 8 vaguely sounds like Freefalling by Tom Petty combined with the music from Pater Gabriels Don't Give Up.

Great review, the album IS an instant classic.

From a long time fan and reader of this blog from Scotland

12:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home