Pop Life

Single File: “Tranquilize,” the Lou Reed/Killers Collaboration

“Tranquilize,” a Lou Reed/Killers collaboration from the Las Vegas band’s upcoming B-sides/covers album Sawdust, doesn’t really make sense. If that assessment seems vague, the song’s non-specific lyrics and opposing styles aren’t any clearer. Case in point: can anyone explain what “Live it down, baby don’t talk that much, baby knows, but baby don’t tease me” has to do with “Bushes and bombs”? Or tranquilization, for that matter? The single is chock full of non-sequiturs that, when delivered by Reed, sound like they might have some mysterious meaning. When delivered by Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, they just sound ridiculous. There’s also a cameo by a children’s chorus and some subtle countertenor background vocals, presumably Flowers doing his best Klaus Nomi impersonation. The merging of Reed’s trademark understatement with the Killers’ bombast is almost painful. If Reed had recorded the entire song sans Killers, it might have worked. If the Killers had recorded “Tranquilize” sans Reed, it wouldn’t have been worth recording at all. – Linda Leseman

Those who can’t wait until November 13 to buy the album can download the single on iTunes or stream it here.

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Linda Leseman
Contact: Linda Leseman