The Desired Effect

Brandon Flowers - The Desired Effect
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2015 Ratings: #562 / 913
User Score
Based on 120 ratings
2015 Ratings: #299
Liked by 1 person
May 18, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Island, Vertigo / Label
Synthpop / Genres
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Entertainment Weekly

Effect telegraphs a freewheeling kind of joy that Flowers hasn’t shown since the Killers’ earliest days.


It’s a little bit Eurythmics, a little bit Footloose and then a bit of everything in between. Here is Brandon Flowers being potent and playful, funky yet flourishing.


If this isn't Brandon Flowers maximizing his potential as a songwriter, producer and artist, then we just haven't heard it from him yet. For now though, The Desired Effect is the best thing he's given us.


The album finally finds Flowers achieving an unmistakable sound of his own, with the kind of effortless sophistication that a seasoned musician hopes for. 

Drowned in Sound

The Desired Effect is self-aware but not self-congratulatory because Brandon Flowers just really loves pop music. He’s basically made an encyclopaedia of it to prove it.

The Line of Best Fit

While the Killers hinted at a love for smooth AOR, this screams it.

Pretty Much Amazing

The record is weighty, but with a defter, more nimble touch than on prior efforts. There’s little to inspire vitriolic hatred on The Desired Effect — it just may force a smile on the most coldhearted of critics.


For all its slavering over archaic ‘80s production cheese, ‘The Desired Effect’ is a consistently impressive collection – probably the strongest Brandon’s produced since 2006’s ‘Sam’s Town’.

Rolling Stone

The Desired Effect is easily his strongest work since the Killers' 2008 keeper Day & Age, and it's similarly full of synth-disco flourishes.


The Desired Effect succeeds more often than not, goosed by the possibility that its gleaming, Ariel Rechtshaid-produced surfaces might attract radio programmers besotted with Avicii.


Overall, this is arguably the most consistent album Flowers has ever been involved with. The Desired Effect has no qualms about its quest for chart dominance and, for a performer who’s never hidden his ambitions, it’s a good fit.


The throwback vibe that permeates the record is an enjoyable twist, but from an artistic, lyrical, and experimental perspective, it is still pretty vapid. This is a slightly disappointing – but still good – release from an artist who has done much better and much worse.

The Guardian

It’s music that zealously welcomes you into the confetti-filled party before hastily asking you to take off your shoes.

Under The Radar

For one thing, his lyrics are still endearingly rubbish ... He also defers too many vocals to his backing gospel singers, and his synth pop sound does nothing to distinguish this from his work with The Killers.

Consequence of Sound

The Desired Effect contains some of Flowers’ strongest material. Bringing producer Ariel Rechtshaid onboard worked wonders for this synth-laden collection despite a reportedly tension-filled recording process.

Flowers gives off charm and stupidity in the same breath and it is as comforting as it is disposable. It’s the mark of a pretty good pop star.

Ever the paragon of naïve sincerity, he has self-belief and determination in spades, but these 10 tracks continually buckle under the weight of Flowers' torrid lyrics, mind-numbing cliches, and woefully derivative song structures.

By going for a different sound than just "The Killers without The Killers name" ideal, "The Desired Effect" is a great improvement over "Flamingo" is almost every aspect. The production is great, Brandon's vocals are charming and the melodies and hooks are something to behold. It's not cohesive and the second half isn't nearly as good, but it's still a very fun non-Killers record.

Fav Tracks: I Can Change, Can't Deny My Love, Still Want You, Dreams Come True, ... read more
Brandon tremendously improves his songwriting from what we heard on Flamingo and delivers a very enjoyable little pop-rock album.

Decent 7/10
"The Desired Effect" is THE album. Brandon Flowers is so good here that it makes me wish he would leave The Killers aside for a while and release three more like this.
This album "breaks no ground", but is full of good songs, and ideal for a long drive in the car. This is the Brandon of the best days of the Killers
With "The Desired Effect", Brandon Flowers finds his own sound, creating more genuine songs
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Year End Lists

#14/Digital Spy

Track List

  1. Dreams Come True
  2. Can't Deny My Love
  3. I Can Change
  4. Still Want You
  5. Between Me and You
  6. Lonely Town
  7. Diggin' Up the Heart
  8. Never Get You Right
  9. Untangled Love
  10. The Way It's Always Been 
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Added on: February 24, 2015