Brandon Flowers goes 80s on second record The Desired Effect
Even when you are frontman of The Killers you want some time on your own every once in a while. And what do you do when you have time for yourself when you are Brandon Flowers? Exactly, you create a solo album. His first effort on his own, the album Flamingo, was released in 2010 and five years later he is back with the follow up called The Desired Effect. For this project, he immersed himself in the pop sound of the 80s. And to be clear, not just a little, but devotedly.
From the first tones of ‘Dreams Come True’ it becomes clear that this will not be a subtle record with understated productions. The sound is big and bold and above all full of instruments and synthesizers. On first single ‘Can’t Deny My Love‘ Flowers shows that this record is all about huge pop choruses with wall of sound productions that smack you in the face whenever they come on. Ariel Rechtshaid who produced the majority of The Desired Effect delivers some of his finest work yet by diving fully into the 80s synths, but still giving the album a modern feel so it does not sound out of place in this day and age.
Brandon must have thought, what is the thing I can do that makes this record the best tribute to the pop sound of the 80s possible? Well, that is sampling Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown Boy’ of course. He does this on ‘I Can Change’ in a not too obvious, but still recognizable way. The instrumentation of the 80s classic is the basis for this song, but he changed the melody and it is actually one of the strongest tracks of this record with one of the best choruses. Flowers truly excels on ‘Lonely Town’ with a moody and somewhat ominous vibe with lyrics that could be described as a story through the eyes of a stalker. The build up with the rich and layered production is suspenseful and the powerful post chorus is such a rewarding climax that the only thing you really can do is play it again.
Throughout the whole record, the backing vocals play an important part in the production and at times you can’t even call them backing vocals as they shine on their own, like on the chorus of ‘Still Want You’. In almost every song they play a significant role which gives a distinctive sound to the record as a whole. On the beautiful and heartfelt ‘Never Get You Right’ Flowers takes a step back and loses the bold productions for a moment. On ‘Untangled Love’ he incorporates a somewhat more rocky sound that still fits into the 80s madness that is The Desired Effect. Brandon Flowers wrote and recorded exactly the album a lot of pop fans have wanted for ages from a male star. Thanks for that, Brandon!
Must listen: Can’t Deny My Love, Lonely Town, I Can Change, Never Get You Right