While The Killers take a break, lead singer and songwriter, Brandon Flowers decided the draw of the studio was too much, and produced Flamingo, his debut solo album, which wades through the genres and carefully selects the very best to coalesce.
Opener, Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas is exactly what it says on the tin; a stirring introduction to the bright-lights-even-bigger-city album. This salute to Flowers’ hometown weighs up the city of “dreamers, harlots and sins” with a fantastic, elating song which fizzes with tension and explodes in a joyous chorus. Vegas is a main theme of Flamingo: gambling, religion and love.
Oh, and rock ‘n’ roll!
Most notably, Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts has the feel of a casino; tense and fast, with allusions of underhandedness. It indulges in its genre, but not to the same extent as Playing With Fire. Teaming up with Killers drummer, Ronnie Vannucci, it harks back to the classic rock era, and it’s pretty heavy – but likable – stuff. Was It Something I Said balances it out, if you ignore its sad theme.
Magdalena continues its upbeat tone, with a fast rhythm with twangs of country music. Based on the story of a crusade, it feels like a journey to the exploding chorus and final verse.
Hard Enough – a duet with Jenny Lewis – is gentle and sweet; the two have beautifully complimenting voices that bring out strong emotion.
Crossfire is, quite simply, beautiful; enough to give anybody goose bumps with its mix of fairytale and rock. The second single released is Only the Young, a perfect candidate. Memorable lyrics and strong beat lends itself to the charts, as does its current, electro-pop backing.
On the Floor has been likened to gospel a couple of times, unnecessarily negatively. At worse, it’s a gentle interlude, but at best, it’s both sad and joyous. Continuing its upbeat nature, Swallow It has a strong beat, with elements of classic pop-rock. It might feel like an abrupt ending, though, so…
Now to the bonus songs, exclusive to the deluxe version.
The Clock Was Tickin’ dips even deeper into country music, but is surely one of the best of the whole album. It has an appreciative nature, telling the story of one man’s life. The fast pace finally gives way to a slow sadness, as his sweetheart dies. Like much of Flamingo, its main message is to enjoy life.
Jacksonville is promising from the get-go; a heavy drumbeat welcomes us in, as layers of tensions build, while I Came Here To Get Over You contains further elements of rock. Drums and guitar bounce off each other wonderfully, as a whisper of electro-pop is introduced into the background.
As the album’s final song, Right Behind You is fantastically understated, but is actually quite elating in its message and values. Fading with a honky-tonk piano, Flowers makes it clear that it’s not all bright lights; the little things are what’s important.