By Julio C. Reyna, November 2017 Issue.
Artist: The Killers
Album: Wonderful, Wonderful
Label: Island Records
Brandon Flowers would like to remind you who “The Man” is. On Wonderful Wonderful, the first effort from The Killers in more than five years, the band aims to correct the missteps of their previous effort, but does not quite reach the peaks of their earlier work. The album finds the band in a curious place where name dropping and humblebragging band aid its struggle to determine self-identity.
The stand out is easily “Run For Cover,” an urgent, guitar-heavy and synth-filled track that gives a chorus that will likely go down as one of the band’s classics. “Run for cover/Run while you can, baby/never look back…” Flowers sings in the all too familiar key when his voice is being pushed to brink and you can almost hear it break. The song also finds the band getting more political than ever with not-so-thinly-veiled references throughout. Yes, “fake news” is dropped within the track.
While each song feels, at times, loud and over-the-top in true the Killers fashion, so much of the album seems to struggle. Is this a love letter to the fans or is it another place holder for the next round of tour stops? For the better part of the past two years, The Killers have received headlining spots on countless festival bills and tours. It makes one wonder if the trajectory on this album was to simply appease that type of audience.
While the band has stated that this is their most progressive work to date, this album sonically and lyrically falls somewhere between Sam’s Town and Day and Age. In fact, the way the album progresses and the thematic points it hits tend to really follow the model that the former has laid out.
Album: A Moment Apart
Label: Counter Records/Foreign Family Collective
ODESZA, the Seattle-based electronic duo, is not doing too bad for itself these days. Considering that Harrison Mills and Clayton Mills have been doing this for the past five years and have accomplished the type of following that is seldom matched within their genre is really awe inspiring. On the eagerly anticipated A Moment Apart the band finds itself in the middle of big pop aspirations and trying to stay true to their craft.
Like most of their previous work the album maintains the familiar sound sampling and whimsical feel. The journey that the album takes you on could easily be played in chronological order and the feelings that accompany experience their full sets live remains throughout (pro tip: Arizonan’s have the opportunity to experience an Odesza set live at the Lost Lake Festival, visit phoenix.outvoices.us/lost-lake for more information.)
The band clearly has world domination in mind and relies on pop fixtures throughout to try to reach its end goal. Over the summer the band released five tracks prior to the full album drop, and two of those songs stood out for all of the wrong reasons; “Higher Ground” featuring Naomi Wild and “Line of Sight” featuring WYNNE and Masionair.
Outside of the context of the full album, these tracks seemed to indicate that the band is perhaps flirting with a more radio-friendly direction. Within the context of the rest of the album, these singles simply glide along and remain mostly forgettable and are countered by instrumental tracks like “A Moment Apart,” “Boy” and “Late Night,” which will easily go down the best in the group’s catalogue. Not to say that all of the albums collaborations fell short, “Across The Room” featuring Leon Bridges not only yielded a dream collaboration for the band, but a standout where mostly stripped down production and soulful vocals sound like nothing they have ever done before.
Overall A Moment Apart is an album that can easily make them the mainstream act that they have always seemed destined to become.
Album: Double Dutchess
Label: Dutchess Records
It has been 11 years since Fergie graced the world with The Dutchess, arguably one of the biggest pop albums of the mid-aughts. Between then and now the star found herself back with her Black Eyed Peas bandmates temporarily, but has essentially not made a peep musically since her debut. Well, after a long wait, the world has finally been given a follow up with Double Dutchess. The question is, does anyone really want this?
The album actually kicks off with a promising start, “Hungry” (feat. Rick Ross), on which she sounds confident and ready to reclaim the spot she gave up so long ago. But things immediately go downhill.
Every track manages to sound like a light version or continuation of a song from her debut. The main problem the work stumbles upon is the fact that the album seems to sonically be stuck in 2006. The process to get to this point has more than likely been a challenge for Fergie, considering the fact that both singles – “LA Love (La La),” which was released back in 2014, and last summer’s, “M.I.L.F. $,” her most-recent failure – somehow managed to still make the cut.
The album also comes with a 13-video visual companion that does not do it any favors. The videos feel like a low-rent emulation of a certain other star that also accompanies her albums with full-visual presentations.
The problem with this album is not the fact that it sounds dated, but the fact that there have been so many years in between her debut and this current effort. How does something that has taken so long to make somehow manage to sound so rushed, dated and like an afterthought? Even the title. Don’t call Double Dutchess a comeback, because it is simply not.