Release Date: September 14, 2010
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
When The Killers announced they would be taking a “hiatus” fans were in shock. Would this be the end of one of the better alternative pop/rock bands of the 00’s? Then, lead singer Brandon Flowers announced his intentions to record a solo album, even more evidence that this “hiatus” might have been, in fact, permanent. No need to worry, however, because along with assuring fans that The Killers were planning an album in 2011, Flowers stays true to the style of music that The Killers perfected on Flamingo.
He begins with a ballad titled “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas,” a tribute of sorts to his hometown, as he makes you feel as if you were “stumbling down the boulevard of neon encrusted temples.” The chorus is truly powerful, belting out Las Vegas over and over again, as a man proud to have been a showman there.
After two relatively unimpressive songs, one being a duet with Rilo Kiley front woman, Jenny Lewis, he busts out the first real hit of the album, “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts.” With an accessible chorus and power chords, one can’t help themselves but to move to this pop/rock-er. Although the next track has incredible lyricism, it falls in between the droll of a laid-back country song, making “Playing with Fire” skip-able.
“Was It Something I Said,” on the other hand, reminds the listener of popular 80’s pop with ever-present synths and lyrics speaking of wanting a girl with whom the narrator is infatuated. Following this bright spot is the next real hit, “Magdalena,” with a bridge of “oh’s” that is bound to be sung by audiences every single time Flowers plays the song live. He shifts between an arena rock sound and an acoustic, almost sacred tune over the course of this song, a real feat. This is the song I’d recommend off this album for anyone who is willing to give Flamingo a try.
“Crossfire” was his first single, which should mean that it is what Flowers believed was the best representative of the album, which it is. It’s not the best song off the album, but it contains almost everything that you do end up hearing throughout the course of Flamingo. “On the Floor” picks up the musicality however, with a choir-backed gospel/acoustic ballad that is powerful with its quiet and emotional sound.
Finally, Flowers recalls all of the lessons he’s been taught in “Swallow It,” with electric guitar plucking and more interesting harmonies. “You’re a performer, just take your time, but not too much time,” he sings as the track winds down with a soft acoustic guitar riff.
Some of the songs sound alike; some are so impressive due to their power. At the end, you feel as if Flowers is leaving something out. His style of pop needs the rock of the other members of The Killers in order to become something greater and memorable. Nonetheless, Flamingo is a quality pop/rock album that is sure to see some time on both the charts and radio. In the opening track, Flowers sings, “didn’t nobody tell you the house will always win?” Perhaps, he was talking about Flamingo, in which case he would be correct. Brandon Flowers, whether with The Killers, or as a solo artist, will always win with his Vegas showman charm and knack for making catchy pop/rock.