The Killers‘ Sam’s Town wasn’t a classic. But maybe we were all a little harder on it than we needed to be. Thanks to Brandon Flowers’ ebullient self-praise prior to the album, we all held the Hot Fuss follow-up to a standard it couldn’t possibly reach and were thoroughly disappointed. But maybe if we’d approached the album on typical terms (a follow-up to a near classic full of glammy, bopping tunes dreamed up by one of the decade’s most-theatrical frontmen), we’d be writing glowing retrospectives on it instead of critical re-evaluations.
A good example of the sort of craft we all missed in our rush to be snarky is contained in “Peace of Mind”, a never-before-heard outtake from the Sam’s Town-era that The Killers have released to celebrate the 10th anniversary reissue of their album.
The track is a swirl of massive builds and post-U2 touchstones. There’s not a drum sound on the entire song that doesn’t sound like it was sampled from an army on the march. Every note on the piano is hammered. Every guitar lick sounds like it was played over the heads of an amphitheatre crowd, rather than into a microphone. Over this, Flowers’ vocal is almost understated (for him, anyway). Check it out below.