Once again, I’m cutting it close (and by close I mean late), but my suit mate has made it her personal goal to keep me on track despite the fact that she doesn’t read. Oh well. This week is kind of an important one, so if you don’t know any of these songs you probably should go listen to them now.
Album: Hot Fuss Artist: The Killers
So lets talk about The Killers for a second. But before we do that, let’s pause for just a moment to appreciate that their name is The Killers because I like it. Like are they murderers, or are they just killing it all the time? (I know, I’m being so lame but it’s also midnight).
ANYWAY, Hot Fuss was The Killers’ first album, and was produced by a British record company called Lizard King Records. But what was that? They aren’t British? I won’t lie, I actually did think that The Killers were British for a long time (I mean, Flowers’ fake accent isn’t that bad) mostly because they played the UK seriously before the US and they record in the UK, etc… but they are in fact from Las Vegas. Not Los Angeles, Las Vegas. I know, I know. Not the stereotypical California you’d expect. I mean who would ever guess Nevada? But that isn’t the point.
A lot of this album was put together with Jeff Saltzman (who I do believe is a former manager for Green Day) as demos, but most of the demos from their earlier days made it onto Hot Fuss, which dropped in 2004. I think a lot of people my age and older certainly remember the singles “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me,” because I know I sure do. I actually really associate The Killers with my older sister’s swimming days because I remember these songs playing in the car when I was little and we drove her to and fro. Again, not the point though. The point is this is an excellent album, especially for a debut.
The album opens with “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine,” which is an upbeat, pop/rock funky mix that starts the album off pretty aggressively, but man is it a good song. The fist time I listened to Hot Fuss all the way through I remember getting about halfway through “Jenny” and thinking, “Yeah. This is gonna be a good album.”
The Killers’ sound is the perfect combination of that 90s rock n’ roll I love so much and everything that was good from the 80s. Between the funky bass, the 90s guitar riffs, and Flowers’ keyboard, it’s the perfect 80s/90s lovechild. There are heavy influences from the likes of Duran Duran and The Cure (to name a few), but also that late 90s sound of The Strokes and arguably the Smashing Pumpkins. And it just works. There’s a lot of talent in The Killers, and the members seem to mesh well together.
In fact, Hot Fuss actually makes for great running music. Most of it’s tempos are held fast, the best example of this being “Somebody Told Me.” The music seems to fly by, even as Flowers pleads “Pace yourself for me/I said maybe baby, please.” And overall, I find myself pretty impressed with Brandon Flowers’ lyrics. I mean, we can all admit it: some of them are kind of cheesy (example, “Smile like you mean it”), but then there are lines like “Save some face/You know you’ve only got one,” found in “Smile Like You Mean It” or the somewhat gospel-like anthem “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier,” found in “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
Hot Fuss has it’s slower moments though; “Andy, You’re a Star” opens with a somewhat raunchy guitar riff, but turns into a pretty impressive ballad and “Everything Will Be Alright” is a kinda creepy synthesizer anthem with strangely beautiful lyrics.
I guess what it all boils down to is this: Hot Fuss was kind of a big deal. It made not just one, but two of Rolling Stones’ top 100 lists (including Top 100 of the Decade and Top 100 Greatest Debuts). The Killers are the perfect example of how pop and rock can mesh together to make good, mainstream music that isn’t trash. If you ask me, we need another band like them now.
Any suggestions? Leave them here, Twitter, or Facebook! Until next week, keep listening 🙂
Honorable Song Mentions: Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, Smile Like You Mean It, All These Things That I’ve Done, On Top, Midnight Show