If you’ve been reading my blogs lately, you’ll have noticed I’ve been quoting a lot of lyrics. Like many, music is something that has always been important to me. Growing up, I was highly influenced by my dad’s taste. I know Hunky Dory like the back of my hand and until my pre-teens, We Are the Champions was my all-time favourite song. But one band he introduced me to, has had a more than significant impact on my life. And that is The Killers.
I’ve wanted to write a blog about my relationship with The Killers since they released their sixth studio album, Imploding the Mirage, on 21st of August. Before I discovered Pop Punk it was these guys that kept me afloat and as cliche as it is, I honestly don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for their music. However, as per usual, life and other thoughts got in the way and I consequently never wrote anything until now. So here is a rundown of my feelings about each of their six albums and some insight into my favourite songs.
Starting at the beginning, Hot Fuss is straight out brilliant. It’s not necessarily my favourite album but it’s certainly the one I’m most familiar with. This is what introduced me to The Killers and as a result, I’ll always be grateful and have a little extra respect for it.
We all know Mr Brightside. It’s a phenomenal tune and remained in the top 100 for 248 weeks! I know this song by heart, but as someone who naturally deters away from popular ‘things’, it wasn’t always my number one. These past few years, however, it’s gained a little extra significance. You see, on 28th November 2017, I had the honour of seeing The Killers’ Wonderful Wonderful UK tour at the O2 Arena in London.
Just before the encore, I was able to move a little bit closer to the stage and as soon as I heard that first beat I began belting out that tune as I’d never done before. I was engulfed within the moment. It felt like the only people in that stadium were me and The Man. I left that building knowing I’d never have an experience like that again and it’s a memory I hold dear.
My other top songs from this album are Jenny was a Friend of Mine and Andy, You’re a Star. I can’t say exactly why but I think it comes down to the general sound and storytelling in both tunes. In fact, there’s not a single song on HF that I don’t love and can’t almost perfectly sing along to.
I think all Victims will agree that The Killers avoided the infamous second album curse. Sam’s Town, in my opinion, is just as good as its predecessor. Again, I don’t think there’s a single song I don’t like, however, there are two that are extremely important to me. When You Were Young and the title track Sam’s Town.
WYWY has always been my favourite song by The Killers, and that’ll always be the case. There’s just something about it that I can’t help but love and the same goes for ST. When I was struggling in my sixth form year, I’d often take the long bus home in order to gain some extra alone time. During that 30 minute ride, I’d play these two songs on repeat.
I realised several years later just how important those short journeys were. When The Killers released Direct Hits in 2013 that was all I listened to for a while. And for reasons unknown, Sam’s Town wasn’t included in the greatest hits. So one day, I decided to listen to the original album. As I stared out of a train window, waiting to depart from Victoria Station, a flood of emotion came over me. I hadn’t heard the song in over a year and it’d remained attached to all the emotions I’d felt in the past. Sam’s Town had pulled me through.
I think what makes this album extra special is the Enterlude and Exitlude. Sam’s Town is by no means a concept album yet, by including a beginning and an end, the band acknowledges that every record is a journey for the listener. And Sam’s Town has certainly taken me on many.
Day and Age
If I were to rank all six albums, D&A would probably be fifth but it does hold my second favourite Killers’ tune: Spaceman. As I hinted in the introduction, I am a massive Bowie fan. I have distant memories of my dad singing Starman to my sisters and me and on a surface level, I always felt that Spaceman was an amazing homage to that song that meant so much to me growing up. But this track drew me in for other reasons too.
My personal interpretation is that this is a song about a failed suicide attempt. A person who manages to regain a will to live but remains battling their inner demons. Someone who simply doesn’t feel like they belong on Earth. And that’s something I can certainly relate to. Spaceman has always brought me solace. It reminds me of the larger world and the fact that I’m not alone.
Of course, we can’t discuss D&A without mentioning Human too. The hours I spent analysing the lyrics is extreme. And although I feel it’s potentially overrated, this song opened my eyes to music at a deeper level. I’m also a big fan of Neon Tiger but find if I don’t listen to the album for a while, the majority of it is rather forgettable.
Just like D&A, Battle Born is an album that is easy to forget. It has a more classic Killers tone to it but just isn’t as dynamic as their first two albums. This doesn’t mean I think it’s bad, the second half is actually great. It’s just not as great as HF or ST. As already mentioned, back in the day, I’d listen to music to and from school. Because of this, I never had enough time to listen to a full album so I’d shuffle it in order to experience as much as possible. And I’m glad this is how I became acquainted with BB.
I absolutely love From Here on Out; it’s so not The Killers but is as catchy as the flu and delivers such an upbeat message. When I first heard Miss Atomic Bomb, I felt like a kid who had just found a long lost toy. I listened to it over and over again picking out all the easter eggs I could find and that music video is just phenomenal. Both Deadline and Commitments and Be Still are so sombre and say exactly what I needed to hear back in 2012. And the closing, title-track is just a classic Killers banger.
Brandon made it clear on multiple occasions that he wasn’t satisfied with how BB turned out. And it is clear to see why but that frustration certainly turned into positive determination five years later.
Personally, I think the title of The Killers’ fifth album says it all. As I’ve already mentioned I saw the tour for this record. As a result of that experience, it’ll always be a special album for me but even without that experience I just love it. It had a new overall feeling but all the best aspects of their previous work too.
At the time of release, I was studying for my MA and my health was beginning to decline. As the months went on and things got worse one song really helped pull me through and that’s Rut. I’ve sent the lyrics to family members on multiple occasions to try and explain my feelings:
But don’t give up on me
‘Cause I’m just in a rut
I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking upRut by The Killers
Listening to this I felt like everything I was feeling made sense. When I’m really low I often listen to this on repeat, yelling along as a form of self-persuasion. I’ll climb and I’ll climb, I’ll climb and I’ll climb, I’ll climb and I’ll climb…
My second favourite song on this album is Tyson vs Douglas. I’m not a boxing fan but I sure am into my football and something about the emotion of seeing your hero go down just struck a chord with me. I remember sitting on the floor in my grandfather’s lounge during the Euro 2012 Final. Football’s always been the one thing I’m overly optimistic about, so I was sat there in tears as Italy got thrashed 4-0 by Spain, whilst my uncle sneered that we never even had a chance. This song just emulates that feeling that we’re all so familiar with and the secondary message of personal achievement is striking too.
Just like with HF and ST there’s nothing on this album I don’t love. It’s simply wonderful, wonderful.
Imploding the Mirage
For all Victims out there, the release of Imploding the Mirage was a strenuous wait, but it was most definitely worth it. WW focused on the trauma that Brandon’s wife experienced in her earlier years and ItM continues this story. It discusses his choice to leave his home-town of Vegas in search of a place where the hardness of life can be overcome. This is a message that so many need to hear right now. This album embodies every emotion a human (or dancer) can feel and that’s what, for me, takes it above all their previous releases.
My two favourite songs are actually those that include featured artists. The emotion in Lightning Fields can be related to by anyone that’s experienced loss. And all in all, it’s just a beautiful song that tells the story of a sentiment we all hope to have one day. However, My God talks to me for other reasons. Although it’s normally indie rock ‘n’ roll for me, my mum has installed in me a love for musical theatre. I just smiled, feeling like I was in the West End and wanting to sing along the moment I heard My God.
In fact, all of the final three tracks are just phenomenal and they flow perfectly. I really hope to hear more big songs like this from The Killers in the future. And it gives me hope that one day we may see our own ‘We Will Rock You’, I’m pretty sure The Man would be an epic musical.
I could write a full blog about ItM so I’ll conclude by saying I also love Caution (so classic), My Own Souls Warning and every other track on this album. It’s beyond brilliant and I’m already craving whatever comes next.
Everyone has that one band that’ll always be special to them. In a way, The Killers are kind of like my musical version of Doctor Who. The sentiment I feel towards their music means, no matter what they release, I’ll always support it, even through the Moffatt phase (which I don’t think they’ve hit yet, luckily).
Whether I’m pondering over all the things that I’ve done whilst looking back to when I was young. Stressing over the world we live in and the consequent deadlines and commitments. Or looking towards my life to come whilst running towards a new place. The Killers will always be with me and for that I’m grateful.