Sporting a typical rock band name with the trademark definite article, The Killers are a musical booster that reminds us that, as opposed to Marilyn Manson’s claim, rock is not dead. These four stars and stripes boys, all Nevada natives, have been immerging us in delicious and pungeant soudnwaves since 2004 when their debut album was released with a bang. They havn’t taken much time to take a breath ever since although the four years which followed the release of Day and Age in 2008 have been slightly longer than what we hoped. But naught is lost since the band is preparing to release a much awaited fourth studio album: Battleborn. So instead of growing impatient we ve decided to make the most of this wait and look back on the Killer’s career and single out what we think are their 12 best songs.
12. This River Is Wild – Sam’s Town (2006)
Featured on Sam’s Town, this track strikes by its staccato rhythm. Although its starts in a crazy raucous it then settles into a deep and rather slow rhythm over which distorted guitars come and play making for one of the band’s most combative tracks.
11. Spaceman – Day & Age (2008)
When watching the video for this pugnacious track from the band’s 3rd studio album Day & Age, it’s striking how little MGMT invented and how strongly Bowie’s aura shines in The Killer’s work. You’d almost wonder if Tim Burton hadn’t fallen into music video making given the flabbergasting imagery created around the band: it’s if the Wizard of Oz invited the cast of Star Trek to a psychedelic dinner party.
10. Human – Day & Age (2008)
The undeniable trait of this song is how incredibly Bowie-esque it is. From the lighter, less rock-sounding vocals, to the synth melody and rapid beat which all concur to create an 80s outer-space feeling that bursts into existence with the chorus. “Are we human, or are we dancers?” is one of those genius lines that’s turned into a motto of sorts, the type our children will most likely know.
9. Runaways – Battle Born (2012)
Although four long years passed without a glimpse of an LP, it’s as if The Killers are proving to us that they’re true time travelers. Runaways rings out with the same echoes of the 80s and lives up to the story-telling lyrics the band can boast as a defining trait, announcing a quality LP.
8. This Is The World That We Live In – Day & Age (2008)
Electronic and pop elements intertwine in this track from Day & Age creating one of the most singular tracks in this selection. There all at once something extremely old school in the vibes cranked out by the guitar and something strikingly modern in the pulsating sound effects that sound out in the background.
7. Smile Like You Mean It – Hot Fuss (2004)
The distorted guitar riff that echoes during the intro of the track is one of those that stays stuck in your mind for days on end – as does this classic pop rock track in a whole despite the band’s claims to have written it in 8 minutes. At the bridge, the guitars sound out as if U2’s shadow was looming and voices are electronically modified harking back to references as far-fetched as Daft Punk.
6. Read My Mind – Sam’s Town (2006)
Even if we didn’t rank this song the best one in the Killers career contrasting with Brandon Flowers assertion when it was released that this song is the best he’d ever written, it does deserve a special mention. The same can be aid of its quirky land of the rising sun visuals featuring a Japanese Elvis. Opening with synth and softer drums letting the vocals take center stage “Read My Mind” is one of the gang’s more pop tracks.
5. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – Hot Fuss (2004)
The band leans toward much more of a rock feel with this track from its first album Hot Fuss – the guitars are distorted and ubiquitous, the vocals echo out into the night extremely recognizably. It’s understandable that the track was acclaimed for its poignant base line that is the musical counterpart to the cynical lyrics.
4. All These Things That I’ve Done – Hot Fuss (2004)
When listening to this track, it’s obvious why it was chosen as a soundtrack for an add promoting the 2008 Olympic games: its infamous build up from near silence to a roar of sound and fury is one of the most striking ever played. Its sheer poignancy never fails to get spirits riled, legs leaping and hands reaching for higher skies.
3. Mr. Bright Side – Hot Fuss (2004)
The foursome confirmed their poetical dexterity with this track the lyrics of which are conversely as tragic as the music is punchy. Once more rock elements enmesh with an electronically distorted lead voice cutting an even bigger share of the rock scene for the Killers – added to the burlesque visuals everyone has in mind.
2. When We Were Young – Sam’s Town (2006)
Released as the lead single of the band’s second album Sam’s Town, this track is of the most rock’n’roll ones and for reason since the whole album is said to have been influence by Bruce Springsteen’s work. “Born To Run” clearly looms over this fiery track saturated with distorted guitars and drums.
1. Somebody Told Me – Hot Fuss (2004)
For the top of the list, it was quite natural to chose the band’s first single from their first album Hot Fuss. With it’s bitingly ironic chorus that sticks to one’s mind like a wad of musical sticky tac this explosive track literally blasted the Killers on the rock scene with remarkable poignancy. The track features typical rock lead vocals – sober with a touch of wining and half shouted – as well as catchy distorted guitars but already back in 2004 the band made a stand by introducing modern electronic elements.