SPUN: The Killers

Publication YearIssue Date 

Most bands dream to be famous enough to release an album full of B-sides. The reason is, of course, that it's one of the rare occasions where a band can put their out crappiest material and have it sell due to their boisterous fanbase. The Killers may or may not be popular enough to pull off a B-sides album, but they've released Sawdust anyway.

The album plays out in a predictable way. Consisting of discarded tracks from the recording of previous albums Hot Fuss and Sam's Town along with covers of the band's favourite songs, Sawdust comes across as a watered-down version of their other albums--Diet Killers, if you will. There's nothing here that comes across as especially excellent, save for a quartet of songs that make up the last bit of the album. Not surprisingly, these best songs are the ones The Killers didn't write: covers of The First Edition's "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" and Dire Straits' "Romeo & Juliet," as well as a 10-minute remix of "Mr. Brightside" and a stripped-down piano rendition of "Sam's Town." These songs stand out because they're--gasp--actually different from the same-old Killers schtick that permeates the rest of the album.

It's difficult for albums full of B-sides to come across as anything but a cash-grab, particularly since most bands aren't good enough for their cast-away songs to be worth putting on an album. Despite featuring a few unique songs, Sawdust comes across as just another Killers album. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on your opinion of them.