Love is a magical potion that we are all searching for. Nothing quite prepares you for having your breath stolen as your heart plummets through the floor, through the earth faster than you could possibly imagine. So this stranger, has an effect on you that seems impossible. The feeling is electric, it's magnetic, it's magical...is it real, and do any of us even care? In that moment, where you lose yourself in the fortune of meeting a stranger, can any one of us think rationally? Or maybe it's just hormones, pheromones, lust? Love is pure, but does falling in love have anything to do with it?
Every album has a narrative, and The Desired Effect, renders the narrative of love.The Killers' lead singer Brandon Flowers new solo album begins on an uplifting, young, and hopeful note. This isn't just due to Flowers light pop aesthetic. Flowers opens up his album with songs titled "I Can Change" and "Can't Deny My Love," reminiscent of our first broken heart. One gets the sense listening to Flowers that there is an adolescent, relentless nostalgia, a stubborn insistence to stay true to the notion of love, even during those times when identity is in flux. "I Can Change" - we've all had those moments of trying to adopt the perspectives of the people we love in hopes of restoring peace.
Then we heal. We move on, although never quite forgetting our first love. We perhaps enter into a more mature relationship. Our partners become a huge part of our support system. When life is like a bullet came and blasted me right of out of the blue, we try our best not to vent and put blame on the people we hold dearest to us. As Flowers puts love in its rawest moments, "But I'm doing my best to not let it get between me and you."
In the rendering of love one can't leave out the "Lonely Town," both in Flowers' album and in life, the single era, when we develop an allergy to love, only to realize that we gotta start "Diggin Up the Heart" if we ever want another shot at companionship. "Diggin Up the Heart," a song with a heavy topic, but a light tone, bordering on cynical. A song which portrays the irony of love, the detachment of heartbreak, and the anger of being at a loss.
There is more than one theme in Flowers' new album. There is love, in a personal sense between two individuals, but The Desired Effect is also a commentary about romanticism at large, in a more abstract framework. What happens when one's relationship to their own experience is romanticized? Does that mean, essentially, that one is living in an idealized view of reality? Flowers seems highly attuned to the inner conflict between romance and reality. In "The Way It's Always Been," Flowers writes: "I took a long walk yesterday/To a field where I used to play/I saw myself in the corner of my mind/I was twelve years old and blind/To the big wheel and the grind." Which makes the question sufficiently clear, a newer question, what IS more true to reality: the twelve-year-old self, playing in fields, happy, blind, or the grown up self, in full sight and submerged even, in the big wheel and the grind of adulthood? The answer just isn't so simple, and if were all honest, our healthiest selves are trying to get back to the twelve-year-old within us more often than not. Life is full of irony, but perhaps the most ironic is this flirtation with romanticism that seems capable only in our naivete that Flowers so perfectly captures like an artist using raw, sensual, and dare I say mystical brushwork. Flowers' artwork is his new album, his music is impressionistic, and the emotion he is conveying is the purity of youth, and he shares this emotion with his listeners poignantly. For Flowers, life is less about being young again and more about remembering what makes us feel young. Flowers urges us all to stay loyal to who and what we love.
Its not just about who and what we love. In fact, The Desired Effect is about how we love. Flowers is searching, as we all are, for a force within. Sure, romanticizing is idealizing in its very nature, but a part of our maturity is remembering how to be a child, how to love, and mostly how to let go of the way that things should be and instead to accept things how they are, as we did when we were children, because that's where love happens. As Flowers puts it, "everyone's all sitting around waiting for the sun to come again." If you are not falling in love with a moment, with moments, then give Flowers The Desired Effect another listen, until, well, you get the desired effect.