The Killers are a “beautiful day” band. Their songs are anthemic, perfect for a big sky open road. Brandon Flowers’ voice is a cruise ship – smooth, gliding through rocking instrumentals; huge, building upon itself in layers; powerful, momentous, gargantuan. Bono, of U2, once said of Mr. Flowers, “We need him on the radio.” I mean, I don’t know who “we” is, and I don’t know what “need” means, and I don’t ever listen to the “radio”, but hey – Bono said it. So it must be cool/Irish.
The Killers have been really famous since their debut album in 2004, “Hot Fuss,” with chorus-driven hits so catchy that I’m sure you still semi-remember the lyrics and the beat. “Somebody Told Me.” “Mr. Brightside.” These tracks are 10 years old and still sound contemporary, because the Killers have been tearing it up ever since.
Listening to those singles from 2004 takes me back to The Darkness in high school (not figuratively) and “Love is Only a Feeling,” which was really popular at the same time as “Hot Fuss.” The Darkness and The Killers had a similar sound, really strong, arcing over and around you, with great lead singers and instrumentalists. I know The Darkness came out with an album last year, but the amount of attention I paid to it is the same amount of attention I paid to [insert witty pop culture reference]. NONE. I may have to check it out though, because the Killers also released an album last year, “Battle Born”, and I thought it was freaking great.
But no one else really did. The album did well in stores, hitting #3 on the Billboard charts, but it got hammered in most reviews. Pitchfork (which is not a good measuring stick for bands like the Killers, because Pitchfork is like the strongest bastion of indie hipster music and will categorically reject anything that doesn’t come with tattoos and an edge) gave it a 4.9/10. Rolling Stone gave it a 3/5, although its readers voted “Battle Born” the 2nd best album of 2012. What did those same readers vote as the 1st best album? Adam Lambert’s “Trespassing”. I don’t know much about Adam Lambert, but that makes me suspect that Rolling Stone is as useless as Pitchfork for judgment on the Killers.
So I think “Battle Born” is damn good. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. But you know what? It’s Friday night, and Friday night is about getting out and getting down. So let’s forget the traditional Killers songs, though you should check out “Miss Atomic Bomb”, off of “Battle Born”, at the bottom of this post. Instead, focus on this mashup of the Killers, Yelle, and Avicii, by Manila Killa. It starts off a bit quiet, but yes, it’s for Friday night. It’s for drinking with your homies, dancing with your friends. It’s for jumping up and down.
Which, by the way, I did during the closing seconds of the Warriors win last night, on a table at a bar in the Inner Sunset. I knocked down four glasses, and broke one. The bouncer understood – he said, “We’re all excited. It’s okay.” Download available through SoundCloud!