Battle Born comes to us after a hiatus in which lead singer Brandon Flowers and bassist Mark Stoemer each explored solo projects. I must say, after listening to the album, the hiatus enhanced their sound even further. Battle Born salutes where the Killers came from. There’s something downright American about it, for lack of a better description. The storytelling nature of the songs makes me want to drive up and down highways in the middle of the night while listening to the album. Believe me when I say that this is high praise for a CD coming from me.
“Flesh and Bone”
Opening with the sounds of an 80’s video game (some hardcore synth work going on), this song specifically mentions the words “Battle Born” within the lyrics. This song demonstrates pride at being from Nevada with its direct references to the Nevada state flag (“Cut from the cloth, the flag that/Bears the name “Battle Born”).
Standout lyric: “But I’m not sure how/This natural selection picked me out to be/A dark horse running in a fantasty”
This is the lead single from the album. I find that it blends the unique sound of the Killers with Bruce Springsteen-like themes (think “Rosalita” and “Thunder Road”). There’s a relationship story and references to transportation machinery. Anyway, I love it. I imagine it’s epic live, which is just another reason to kick myself for missing their NYC show a few months ago.
Standout lyric: “And then I come home after they go to sleep/Like a stumbling ghost, I’ll haunt these halls/There’s a picture of us on our wedding day/I recognize the girl but I can’t settle in these walls”
“The Way It Was”
This song is about a relationship falling apart and whether or not they can continue in their ways. It’s not overly sentimental and I love all the driving references.
Standout lyric: “I drove through the desert last night/I carried the weight of our last fight/Elvis singing ‘don’t be cruel’/And I wonder if you feel it too”
“Here with Me”
There’s a lot of regret and want in this song—it’s about wanting someone back and, essentially, wanting to be wanted. I personally enjoy the part that explains that mere memories aren’t enough.
Standout lyric: “Time seems to move so slowly/When you’re taking it as it comes”
“A Matter of Time”
With an introduction that builds like a hype song at a party in the 80’s (think “The Final Countdown” sans cheese) this song holds a sense of inevitability. It’s both dark and optimistic, a confusing but cool combination. I enjoy the dissonance.
Standout lyric: “There’s panic in this house and it’s bound to surface/Just walking through the front door makes me nervous/It’s creeping up the floorboards, got me wondering where I stand/I cannot put out the fire, I’ve got a book of matches in my hand”
“Deadlines and Commitments”
Because my mind can be a weird place, this song reminds me of Britney Spears’s “I Will Be There.” There’s a similar message involved—supporting another, regardless of what happens. However, the parts where the title is used within the song seem out of place, clashing with the rest of the song.
Standout lyric: “We’d never ride on horses that discourage you.”
“Miss Atomic Bomb”
Another storytelling song! It’s about relationships, connections, and betrayal, though I wasn’t entirely clear on who was betraying who. I love the lyric blending and layers near the end.
Standout lyric: “But I’m standing here and you’re too late/Your shockwave whisper has sealed your fate”
“The Rising Tide”
I could see this song going to a Broadway show, with its hardcore synth work giving way to a bouncy rock song about opportunity, choice, and consequences. A favorite on the album.
Standout lyric: “With your pitchfork tongue, you licked your lips and lied/We’re never going to know how hard you cried/When you petitioned and your access was denied/’Til the venom in your veins is satisfied/’Til you suffocate and swallow down your pride”
“Heart of a Girl”
This song is a wish for guidance when the passage of time becomes too much for someone, an idea I think most people can identify with at some point or another.
Standout lyric: “Deep in the night, I feel the presence/Of something that was long ago told to me.”
“From Here on Out”
This is the shortest song on the album, clocking in at almost half the length of all the others. It’s an upbeat song about a not-so-upbeat topic—the loneliness that occurs when you’re around too much in your life that rings false. Also, shout out to the Killers for managing to work the word “paradigm” into a song.
Standout lyric: “And my paradigm shifted/Man you’re making me shout”
A love song to patience, this is the one song on the album that I’m not so much a fan of. I feel like the lyrics don’t cooperate with the melodies behind them, making for a weird sound.
Standout lyric: “And may your limits be unknown/And may your efforts be your own/If you ever feel you can’t take it anymore”
This song opens like an anthem—sweeping cords, strong snare accents, and a rocking guitar solo. It’s a song about hardship and resilience that I think would resonate with a lot of people, especially in the wake of the past few months’ events.
Standout lyric: “When they break your heart/When they cause your soul to mourn/Remember what I said/’Boy you was battle born’”