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Killers 2

| September 29, 2006 | 0 Comments

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Finding an ethical new center — that was merely one part of Flowers’ quest. Where else did he find solace? Again, fans who think they have him pegged will be somewhat stunned. In the work of — believe it or not — Bruce Springsteen, he happily confesses. And it all started with a simple review of Hot Fuss, he says, “where somebody compared a part of one song, or mentioned that it was ‘Springsteenish.’ And I thought ‘Weeeelllll . . .'” Had an insult been hurled? “At first, that was probably how I took it,” he laughs. “I didn’t know. Like everybody else, I immediately thought of Born In The U.S.A. — he’s just something I took for granted, and everybody knows the seven fucking singles from Born In The U.S.A. Those were just inescapable.”

But that critical assessment, Flowers continues, “kinda stuck with me, and every now and then I’d be listening to a classic rock station and ‘Born To Run’ would come on. And I started paying attention to it, and then I just said ‘Fuck it — I’m gonna buy some!’ So I started off with Bruce’s Greatest Hits, just to see what happened. And that was it — I had to go buy everything. As soon as ‘Thunder Road’ came on, it was like, ‘O.K., I gotta go buy Born To Run.’ And then it was The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle, and it just took off. I didn’t know,” he apologizes. “I didn’t know that there was a 21-year-old Bruce Springsteen out there that I could go buy, and just how ahead he was and how smart he was. I mean, I had no idea. ‘Sandy.’ ‘Lost In The Flood.’ ‘Badlands.’ It’s so good, you smell it. You smell the factory dust.”

Flowers had begun to suspect — in creating his own set of world-renowned pop standards — he’d lost his enthusiasm for all others. He was wrong. He began haunting record stores again, just browsing blissfully through the racks and rolling the dice on hallmark titles. On tour with The Killers, he’d met — even performed with — many of the post punk heroes he’d worshipped as a kid — U2, Oasis, New Order, even Elton John, with whom he regularly dines and parties when both happen to be in Vegas simultaneously. But from Springsteen, the sound-hungry singer made the natural stylistic jump to Tom Petty. “I didn’t know about Damn The Torpedoes, and now I do, and I love it. But it’s just great to find these new things and to want to go to a record store again and flip through things. I just feel really excited again, and I haven’t felt like this in *soooo long.”

Which brings us full-circle to Sam’s Town. A sophomore record so far ahead of its predecessor, it feels almost alien, conceived by a completely different combo. The windswept, lonesome-prairie keen of kickoff single “When You Were Young” is the first glimpse of change — yes, it relies on Flowers’ anthemic keyboards/vocal gymnastics, but it has more than a whiff of Springsteen about it, a forlorn, circa-Tunnel Of Love melancholy that, its composer explains, concerns that aforementioned struggle with sin: a Robert Mitchum, Night Of The Hunter, fist-on-fist battle between good and evil.

Then the plot thickens . . .

— Tom Lanham

For the rest of The Killers’ maturation, pick up the October issue of Illinois Entertainer throughout Chicagoland.

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