Brandon Flowers - Flamingo - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Brandon Flowers - Flamingo

by Rich Morris Rating:2 Release Date:2010-09-06

It's often been said that Bono, U2's diminutive frontman, has something of a God complex. If that's true, then lesser rock stars like Brandon Flowers, erstwhile singer with The Killers, must make do with debilitating Bono complexes. Flowers' long-nursed complex - his burning, unashamed, desperate desire to be a big, important rock statesman singing songs about big, important human truths - reaches its apex on his first solo effort, the stupidly named Flamingo. Stupid because this man is already handing out enough ammunition with which to shoot him; he really doesn't need to go painting a great big bulls-eye on his butt.

Flower's strident need to prove himself begins immediately, with 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas', which starts off pompous and anthemic and then does nothing but get louder and more bombastic for the next five minutes. It also includes the lyric "You're looking for the grace of God/ in the arms of a stranger". Ask yourself: how much more Bono could that lyric get? The answer, my friend, in none. None more Bono.

Next up is 'Only the Young', which once again is slow and stately, Flowers voice quivering with all the utterly contrived emotion he's summoning. And so it goes. Flamingo's default mode, one it slips into far too frequently, is dreary, treacly drive-time rock smothered in 80s slick production. Over the course of the album, Flowers wheels out every melodramatic cliché going. "Mother, it's cold here," he warbles on 'Only the Young'. "Is there anybody out there," he wavers on 'Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts', on which he also informs us that "the city ain't so kind tonight." Which just reminds you that this man also has a budding Springsteen complex to contend with.

It goes without saying that this album of relentless big moments is as empty and hollow as they come. Whether Flowers understands it or not, he has chosen a most apt name for his solo album. Flamingo is showy and brightly coloured, flapping around and making a lot of noise in case we stop paying it attention just for a second. Judging by how conceited and self-absorbed Flowers comes off as being on this album, it's probably something he has considered. However, he's been to kind to himself with this ironic, self-revealing tactic. The correct title for this album would be Peacock, with all the connotations that name throws up.

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars
  • I fucking hate how all his songs have quasi-religious lyrics. Obviously everything about him is boring and terrible but that is the thing that really sets him apart as a grade-A dick for me.

  • Bono complex, brilliant. Apparently this will be number one in the album charts this week, what has the world come to? No doubt Hurts will be number two!

  • I'm admitting before I get into my response that I am a Killers and a Brandon Flowers fan, and I view him in a completely different light than you.

    With that out of the way, I find this review and your comments on Brandon Flowers very interesting. What I disagree with most is your claim that that the emotions in his lyrics are "contrived". Brandon Flowers is corny, but not contrived. He's being honest in his lyrics. He might have an "unashamed desire" to be an "important rock statesman", but that doesn't mean he's simply saying things in order to make that dream come true. That's just who he is. Contrivance is deplorable. Honesty and lack of talent is not, or at least it shouldn't be. I'm not saying he lacks talent, but if you choose to say that, I won't have make a point to call you on it. I just think he should at least get credit for be honest.

    Also, if you look past the cliches, he has a lot of well written lyrics. For example, the lines in first single "Crossfire" which go, "Tell the devil that he can go back from where he came. His fiery arrows drew their bead in vein." are going to seem stupid if you get hung up on the devil reference. If you look at the second part, though, that's a clever lyric. I don't want to assume anything, but a lot of people aren't aware of what it means to "draw a bead" on something. If you know what that expression means, and you listen to those lines in context of the song without obsessing on the chorus and the religious references, you might agree that it's a nicely written song about encouraging someone who doesn't see the point in entering a monotonous relationship, in fear that their their heart will inevitably be broken if they do. Yeah, it's corny, but it's not all cliches and easy metaphors without any real meaning. There's something there, it's just dressed up in a way that makes it more accessible.

    I'm not trying to make you like Brandon Flowers. I understand what turns people off about him. I just feel that he is widely misunderstood.

  • Can someone, who's album will be number one this week, be misunderstood? Can someone who wrote, 'Are we human, or are we dancer' be held up as writing great lyrics? I don't think so.

    The Killers in the beginning were OK, some great singles on that debut album but since then they've got worse with every album. Why do singers feel the need to stroke their ego with a solo album like this. As much as we hold Bono up as the king of all arseholes, at least he hasn't felt the need to do a solo album (yet).

    Personally I think Brandon Flowers is not very talented but the sheep will buy this in their droves.

  • Anyone - including I guess Brandon - who has heard the song 'I Hung My Head' by Sting (famously covered by Johnny Cash) will know what 'drew a bead' means.