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The Killers - Topic

Top Tracks for The Killers Play

A collection of top songs featuring The Killers

Battle Born Play

The great open secret about the Killers is that they only make sense when they operate on a grand scale. Everything they do is outsized; their anthems are created for fathomless stadiums, a character quirk they've grown into over the years as they've gone from scrappy wannabes fighting their way out of Las Vegas to the international superstars they've longed to be. Nearly ten years after Hot Fuss -- a decade that flashed by like a falling rocket -- the Killers aren't quite the new U2 or the Cure, to name two of their inescapable role models, but they're not Echo & the Bunnymen, either, doomed to be playing for an ever-selective audience. They are new millennium superstars, filling stadiums and flying under the radar, maintaining a popularity that justifies -- even demands -- albums as overblown as Battle Born, their fourth full-length and first to bear the stamp of the utter ease of a veteran. Unlike their three previous albums, the Killers don't necessarily have anything to prove on Battle Born: they've carved out their kingdom and now they're happy to reside within it, taking their time to ensure their palaces are overwhelmingly opulent. And Battle Born is indeed a dazzling spectacle, an inversion of the blueprint handed down from 2008's Day & Age, where the band emphasizes songs over sound. Battle Born is constructed on a smaller scale -- there are no interludes, most songs are trimmed of fat, with "From Here On Out" breezing by at under 2:30 -- but the group has internalized the sprawl of Sam's Town so they retain the wide-open spirit of the desert, not to mention the band's persistent obsession with Bruce Springsteen's mini-operas of love won, lost, and gambled. In fact, the Killers are slowly stepping away from any dance-rock trappings they once displayed, all while refusing to abandon synthesizers, which leaves Battle Born as this curious fusion of the aesthetics of 1983 applied to the roots rock of 1989; not quite so futuristic as willfully out of time. All this is reconfirmation of how the Killers exist in their own world, one that's tethered to an alternate classic rock history where Born to Run is ground zero, MTV the British Invasion, and Joshua Tree Sgt Pepper's. Of course, all of this music is now far, far in the past, so it's no surprise the Killers no longer sound like kids. They're veterans at this game, a group who has been trading in these stylized, glamorized fusions for a decade, and that slightly weathered attitude is now part of the band's appeal; they're veterans that know how to use their tools, so even if the raw materials may not be quite as compelling as their earliest singles, the overall craft on Battle Born is more appealing. And if age has changed the Killers attack, it has done not a thing for Brandon Flowers as a lyricist, who remains committed to gobsmacking poetry and allusions, and cracked observations that somehow sound endearing when encased in the well-lubricated machinery of Battle Born. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

(RED) Christmas EP Play

Give the Killers considerable credit for this: they never have tossed off their Christmas tunes, and they’ve written a considerable amount of them since 2006. Every year between 2006 and 2011’s (Red) Christmas EP, the group have had a new holiday single to support the Project Red charity, every one of them except 2011’s “The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball” an original. True, most of these songs don’t necessarily feel Christmasy, at least in the conventional sense -- apart from “Don’t Shoot Me Santa,” there are no sleigh bells and very few joyous choruses, they all feel like the Killers, a group who proudly prefers bombast to subtlety. After all, why invite only Neil Tennant in for a duet when you can also have Elton John? That over-the-top thinking might not produce sounds that are strictly Christmasy, but the extravagance is suited for the season. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Day & Age Play

On Day & Age, the Killers shrink the canvas and brighten their palette, opting for big sounds over big themes. Style over substance is the right move for the Killers and Day & Age has style for miles and miles, exceeding even their debut, Hot Fuss, in its stainless steel gleam. Anchored in dance-rock though they may be, the Killers no longer sound like mere disciples of New Order and Duran Duran: emboldened by the left turns of Sam's Town, the Killers will try anything, stitching together sounds with an almost blissfully idiotic abandon. The nice thing is that the Killers are comfortable with their ludicrousness, turning the album into terrifically trashy pop. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Sam's Town Play

On the 2006 follow-up to their wildly successful debut, the Killers continue their torrid affair with 1980s new wave, but manage to incorporate the sounds of that era, particularly heavy use of synthesizers, more seamlessly into the mix. This is due, at least in part, to the presence of veteran producers Flood and Alan Moulder (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, U2). While the Las Vegas-based act's Britpop-influenced songs are still marked by Brandon Flower's emotive vocals and bold synth lines, Dave Keuning's guitar riffs are amped up on much of the record. Other highlights of this brooding album are the dramatic "Bones" and the yearning title track, songs that prove that the Killers may have unforeseen substance lurking under their carefully rendered style., Rovi

Hot Fuss Play

There are so many garage rock/dance-rock tunes perfectly stylized and glamorous for the pop kids in the city and in the suburbs of new-millennium America. What's nice about these the bands producing these songs is how they strive so desperately to individualize themselves. On a commercial level, they do quite well in delivering catchy pop hooks. When it comes to having actual talent, a select few actually do possess attention-worthy integrity. But there are others who don't, and they disappear from the American consciousness after a brief flirtation with success. Such theories, however, are left up to the individual music fan, so let's put that aside for a moment to experience the decadent pop world of the Killers. The Las Vegas foursome introduce a perfectly tailored new wave-induced art rock sound on their debut, Hot Fuss. They wooed MTV audiences and modern rock followers with the success of "Somebody Told Me" during summer 2004. This chunky-riffed single loaded with androgynous mystery and a dalliance with new romantic energy captures the infectious delivery of the Killers as a band. Vocalist/keyboardist Brandon Flowers does his best Simon LeBon imitation; the sex appeal and the boyish charm are perfectly in place as the rest of the band accents his rich, red-hotness just so. "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" and "Mr. Brightside" are equally as foxy as the album's first single, affirming that a formula is indeed in motion. It's hard to deny the sparkle of Depeche Mode beats and the sensual allure of Duran Duran. After 25 years, those sounds still hold up; by 2004, however, it's an incredible task to pull this kind of thing off without selling yourself to the tastes of the masses. Interpol and the Walkmen have pulled it off; Franz Ferdinand and Hot Hot Heat have potential. The difference with the Killers is that the dynamic doesn't firmly hold together. The gospel/rock jaunt of "All These Things That I've Done" doesn't quit fit around the Cure-inspired synth reveries of "Everything Will Be Alright" and "Believe Me Natalie." "Midnight Show," as much as it plucks from Duran Duran's "Planet Earth" and "Is There Something I Should Know?," does show promise for the Killers. Hot Fuss came at the right time because the pop kids needed something to savor the summer with, and "Somebody Told Me" served that purpose. Now pull out your Duran Duran records and dance like no one is watching. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, Rovi

Direct Hits [Deluxe Edition] Play

Almost ten years after "Mr. Brightside" helped turn the Killers into new millennial rock sensations, the time has come for a hits collection. Calling the compilation Direct Hits -- a punning title that feels timeless but has rarely been used before, a nifty encapsulation of the group's style and attributes -- the Killers cannily use the singles-centric conceit to showcase the band at their overblown best, emphasizing their arena-sized neo-new wave just slightly over their Springsteenisms. Both are on display on the two new songs -- "Shot at the Night" and "Just Another Girl," songs that sound as if U2, Springsteen, and the Cars created a supergroup in 1988 -- but the main benefit of Direct Hits, especially for those listeners who have always doubted the skills of the Killers, is how the operatic ambitions of Sam's Town feel not so extravagant when bookended by selections from Day & Age and Battle Born. All three of the albums -- which are represented by three cuts a piece -- sound strong here but what really has lasted are those singles from 2004's Hot Fuss, especially the initial breakthroughs "Mr. Brightside" and "All These Things That I've Done," which now seem to capture a particular moment in time and yet also transcend it. [A Deluxe Edition added three tracks.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Sawdust Play

Biding time at a juncture when they don't necessarily need to, the Killers released the odds-n-sods collection Sawdust in November 2007, a mere 13 months after their second album, Sam's Town. If the title suggests that the group is digging further into a preposterous fixation on faux Americana, this grab bag of B-sides, new songs, covers, stray tracks, and re-recordings feels more like a sop to the fans who found the Springsteen worship hard to stomach. There's not as much Boss here but the ghost of The Joshua Tree still lingers, particularly in the clatter of the echoing Edge guitars, but that's married to the Killers' studied new wave moves, which is a better fit for that sweeping sound anyway. Better fit doesn't necessarily mean a perfect fit, however -- the return to the Killers' stylish throb only emphasizes their scattershot songwriting, where they can get elements right but they can't quite tie it all together. Tellingly, the best moments are leftovers from Hot Fuss -- whether it's the cool glam groove of the leftover "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf" or "The Ballad of Michael Valentine," which does the cod-Americana better than Sam's Town -- but too much of the newer stuff clatters around pointlessly, all pomp and no circumstance. This goes double for the directionless Lou Reed duet "Tranquilize," which plays as if Bowie decided to have Lou sing on Tonight, then it goes triple for a stupifyingly silly "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," where the Killers seem like kids in cowboy hats even more than they did when they were kicking around the desert outskirts of Vegas. Covers don't treat the Killers well at all, as they reveal how hammy Brandon Flowers is at his core (swapping Mark Knopfler's sly, dry delivery for Flowers' community theater bluster robs "Romeo and Juliet" of its delicate beauty). When Flowers is in his natural setting, supported by glistening waves of keyboards and guitars that ring like synths, that ridiculous theatricality can be a bit of a guilty pleasure, and Sawdust does indeed contain some moments of grand pomp, but its scattershot nature works against the band as it winds up emphasizing the lingering question from Sam's Town, that the Killers have a hell of a lot of ideas but they just don't know what the hell to do with them. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
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