By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
"It was the self-evident phoniness in [his] voicethe oleaginous self-regard, the gooey smear of words, the horrible enunciation." That's Greil Marcus. He's actually talking about Steve Perry and Journey (the biggest-selling one of these bands ever), but it nails Flowers. Dude grows up in one of the most sociologically extreme places in the world (Vegas, baby), and the weak pathos he brings to these songs makes the guy in Fall Out Boy sound like Robert Johnson.
"All These Things That I've Done," off the Killers' 2004 debut Hot Fuss, is a fine tune, a pageant of sweet riffs and gospel backup that's the closest these dudes have come to that Boss/Stones/U2 mix they're clearly going for. But listening to Sam's Town makes that jammer feel like a happy accident. Songs like "Bones"with its flourishes of synths, horns, and yes, even that good ol' choir (dance with them that brung ya, I guess)bumble around like a bird that flies into your apartment and starts breaking things. Granted, there's a heart beating somewhere in this album ("We're gonna make it out!" the chode sings on "Bling [Confessions of a King]"*), but it's about as poignant as a couple of frat dudes doing 1 a.m. karaoke: " 'Cause shtramps like bus/Shbaby bwe were slborn to wun!"
According to the band, this is a concept record, but the sincerity and intelligence behind that assertion can be gleaned in the song-as-intervention "Uncle Jonny": "Tell us what's going on/Feels like everything's wrong. . . If the future is real/Jonny, you've got to heal." Man, the Acid Queen must be turning in her grave. A rock song about a guy named Jonny? Uncle Jonny? Seriously? Homies, just sing about MySpace and that boyfriend that looks like your girlfriend. At least then we'll believe you.
Also, your hairdo sucks.
*Oh for shit's sake
The Killers play the Theater at Madison Square Garden October 24 and 25, thegarden.com.