“Sam’s Town” – The Killers



Dear Daily Phat Jam —

Oh blog, so much has I changed since I last wrote. Before, I was a balding stick figure with a cocaine addict’s disposition and Resting Sleepy Face. But now, I’ve got less hair and I moved away.

Today I somehow started listening to and preaching the gospel of “Sam’s Town,” the sophomore album by The Killers and one of the most underrated goddamn albums of this miserable century. Because I can’t have a thought without sharing it, I tweeted about it. Then I went on a long drive and listened to “Sam’s Town” and decided that an even smaller audience needed to hear about an album that was released more than 10 years ago and that was panned by many critics.

So now that I’m home and I’m wearing stretch pants and drinking CapriSun, I’m going to fire up the ol’ iTunes, queue up “Sam’s Town,” shuffle that bit, and write about what awful memories are conjured up by the album.

So strap in.

Song 1: “Why Do I Keep Counting?”

When I first listened to “Sam’s Town,” I sort of skipped over this song in favor of “Bones” and “This River is Wild.” But I re-discovered it when I digitally dusted off this album in college.

Help me get down / I can make it, help me get down

Ha ha, that always makes me think about my future life when I’m old and decrepit, probably in the next 5 years or so, and I’m just screaming at some miserable person to help me get into a bathtub.

What it makes me think of in Real Memories is darkness. Not depression, but literal darkness. I associate it with driving at night, for some reason. I remember listening to it in my sister’s Prius, which was later totaled by my arch enemy, Past Seth. And I remember it being dark, but the song, which starts quiet but blooms and eventually explodes, was always turned up so loud. The Prius had this thing where you could adjust which seat in the car got the full brunt of the speakers, and I would always angle that shit toward the driver’s seat and just go insane to this song.

There’s not much more to it than that. The memory isn’t detailed. This was a shitty idea.

Song 2: “Bones”

No it wasn’t! This brings on more vivid memories. This is a great idea! Fuck to the doubters!

Jesus, thank God. Shuffle really bailed me out here.

“Bones”! The choir-esque lyrics, the cheerful piano, they immediately take me back to being 16 years old, at my first concert ever. The Killers were playing at Sandstone outside of Kansas City (blessings be upon it), and my girlfriend and I got tickets to see it. We went with my older sister (Chaperone/Driver) and my little brother (Future Super Genius, Then Nerd). And the concert fucking rocked.

“Bones” came on and she and I danced to it, sort of PDA-swaying, and we whispered sweet nothings and just listened.

A cinematic vision, ensued / Like the holiest dream / Is someone calling? / An angel whispers my name / But the message relayed is the same / Wait till tomorrow, you’ll be fine!

It was prophetic, it was ecstatic, it was perfect for a young couple and a young relationship. It was one of those moments that you know, somewhere in your brain, you’ll remember forever. I couldn’t conjure up another exact memory of them playing another song at that show. But they played “Bones,” and I was so happy when I heard it start, and I’ll never forget that moment.

Song 3: “Exitlude”

Ughhhh the “Enterlude” and “Exitlude” from this album are incredible. They’re too short. And because they’re so short, when I was 15, I would listen to them on repeat, over and over and over, and yell at my little brother, Z, to play “Exitlude,” with its quiet joy, on the piano so I could howl out lyrics and shatter windows and send birds flying from their trees and cause an uproar among the general town folk.

When I was 15, I shared a room with Z. It was on the top floor of our house, and outside of the room was a spindly little wooden desk with a Dell computer on it that I would use to listen to The Killer’s CDs. I turned up the speakers and played “Exitlude,” which is not a banger and shouldn’t be played at full volume, but I did it because I wanted to drift away with it, float along as the lyrics fade. I wanted it to be longer, but if it were longer, it wouldn’t be the same. Like [tilts head back] being young.

Outside the sun is shining / Seems like heaven ain’t far away / It’s good to have you with us / Even if it’s just for the day.

But what really gets me is the light piano and drums at the end and the far-off vocals that bid you farewell. But I can’t take a hint, both from this song and from my memories, so I hit replay over and over.

Last Song and Then I’ll Stop: “For Reason’s Unknown”

Yikes, this song is so good but brings on such embarrassingly petty memories. For one, it makes me think of being 15, a wonderful time when I decided I’d rather play soccer averagely and Halo obsessively than pay attention to school or being Not A Nerd. On the bright side, I had so much hair and occasionally saw the sun.

What this song makes me think of is trying to get over this girl I had a huge crush on. We talked constantly our freshman year, and I was super into her in only the way that 15 year olds are into girls. Timing your responses to texts, obsessively monitoring her response times, playing it cool and apathetic when you see her in public like you’re stoned and trying to buy candy from Quik Trip.

Well, she didn’t like me like I liked her. So I played “For Reasons Unknown” repeatedly, made the more aching parts my Facebook status (Seth Klamann is But my heart, it don’t beat, it don’t beat the way it used to) and belted it out while playing Halo. Hey, at least it drowned out the sound of other children calling each other racial slurs over the Internet.

So that’s it. Uhhh. I masquerade as an adult now and shouldn’t share these things, but [burps] that’s the waaay the news goes.