Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Music: The Killers, Sam’s Town

Music critics. (Italics intended to convey disgust.) Can’t stand them. With their overheated prose. Their hothouse controversies. Their dogged insistence on keeping the cool kid mentality of high school alive.

Here’s how much I hate music critics: I still remember this Onion piece from five years ago and count it among my favorites. OK, the people in the article technically aren’t music critics. But you know they aspire to be, and somehow that’s worse.

Consequently, I hate myself when I listen to music critics.

I ignored them two years ago when I bought Hot Fuss, the debut album by the Killers. Plenty of critics dismissed the band as a bunch of post-punk pretty boys. I played Hot Fuss over and over. Still do; I’m sure my neighbors are sick of it. There’s not a weak song on the album. Listening to those sweeping choruses conjures up that adolescent sense of drama, of driving late at night with your friends, your whole life sprawling ahead of you, your future yet to be written. I figure as long as those feelings can be sparked by a new piece of music and not some nostalgic favorite, you’re in good shape.

Most reviews of Sam’s Town contained the phrase “sophomore jinx.” I liked the first single, ‘When You Were Young.’ The follow-up, ‘Bones,’ not so much. I didn’t bother to pick up the album.

Once I got my Rhapsody subscription, I decided to give it a listen. Then I played it again. Then I downloaded it, and I’m sure my neighbors will grow to hate it as much as they do Hot Fuss. Particularly the song ‘Read My Mind,’ which again has me on the road in South Florida, intent on “breaking out of this two-star town.” Even ‘Bones’ works in the context of the entire album. So I’m back to ignoring the critics again. I was never a cool kid when I was in high school. I don’t see the point in trying to be one now.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the video for ‘Read My Mind.’