Brandon Flowers, "Flamingo"
The Killers frontman hardly viewed his solo debut as an opportunity to downsize. Produced by an unlikely dream team comprising electro-dance hotshot Stuart Price, radio-rock specialist Brendan O'Brien and Neil Young/Bob Dylan confidant Daniel Lanois, "Flamingo" finds Brandon Flowers exploring big topics (love, religion, the complicated charm of his Las Vegas hometown) over even bigger arrangements. On "Playing With Fire," a slinky desert-noir groove revs up to a fist-pumping climax, while lead single "Crossfire" sports a Bon Jovi-grade arena-pop chorus. Elsewhere, Flowers goes future-soul funky on "Was It Something I Said?" and enlists Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis to add disco-country backing vocals to "Hard Enough." On a recent prerelease U.S. tour, Flowers complemented his new songs with a cover of Kim Carnes' early-'80s hit "Bette Davis Eyes," and you can hear his desire on "Flamingo" to achieve a similar fusion of the corny and the sublime.