Reflecting On: The Killers – Hot Fuss

It wasn’t until after I saw The Killers that I realized how much I enjoyed their music. They played in Boston for their farewell tour and I literally hopped in the car with my friends when someone couldn’t make the show. It’s still the best spontaneous thing I’ve done. After the show, I embarked on a Killers journey, which I started to chronicle on Twitter, but then stopped bothering everyone with it, as one does. I listened to each album in chronological order – one album a day – to find out my favorite album. And, no pun intended, 2004’s Hot Fuss came out on top.

You can buy or stream Hot Fuss on Apple Music.

It’s hard to believe that one of alternative’s most important albums could be 15 years old, but here we are. The Killers were a band way ahead of their time in 2004, cranking out songs that were both radio friendly and edgy enough for those youths looking for the next big thing. “Mr. Brightside” continues to dominate charts 15 years later, and that’s a real accomplishment. As of May, it was #93 in the Top 100 on the UK singles charts.

The album tells a heck of a story about a high school kid trying to make it work. “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” is (supposedly, but I wholeheartedly accept this conspiracy) the third in what’s known as the Murder Trilogy, in which Jenny has been murdered. The trilogy starts with “Leave the Bourbon On the Shelf”, which can be found in their 2007 B-sides album Sawdust, and continues with the Hot Fuss track “Midnight Show”. The other theory about the album is that the main character, personified by Brandon, is actually gay, and the motive for Jenny’s murder is the fact that the unnamed boy is secretly in love with Jenny’s boyfriend. They’re both plausible if you listen to the album, but I’ve always had a penchant for conspiracy theories, in music and otherwise.

So, why the heck are we all still listening to Hot Fuss? I’d venture to say that it’s both a mix of nostalgia and the fact that the album is truly timeless. I’m not trying to bash anyone, but Panic! At the Disco’s first album sounds very much like the year it was released in – 2005. The early 2000s were obsessed with creating something new and exciting, but I feel like The Killers were able to do it more efficiently. They created a musical experience that perfectly encapsulates growing up in a small town and feeling trapped. And yeah, of course we associate Hot Fuss with the year it came out, because for many listeners, it was a justification of the niche genre they had fallen in love with. It truly brought the alt scene to the mainstream.

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

The Killers Take “Wonderful Wonderful” on the Road

I’ve never been a huge fan of The Killers. It’s not to say that I have anything against them, I just never found a spot for them in my library. Other than their magnum opus, “Mr. Brightside”, and a few other tracks, I’ve never really delved into their discography.

That being said, I was hanging out with some friends recently and they were telling me about how they were going to Boston to see the band that evening but that one of them had backed out and that there was an extra ticket. They asked if I wanted to go and I agreed. Their latest album Wonderful Wonderful was released in September of last year and was announced to be the final album from the band, so I figured it was now or never.

The opener they chose for the tour was a gentleman named Alex Cameron. He has writing credits on a few of the songs from Wonderful Wonderful. Even though that album is great, I didn’t think Alex Cameron was anything to write home about. Granted, I’m very picky when it comes to music. He has an 80’s pop vibe, and, even though that’s a genre I’ve been exploring more and more lately, Alex Cameron’s take on it didn’t appeal to me.

The show started a bit late so I know he probably had to cut a few songs from his setlist. The only song that really stood out to me was the final song he played, titled “Marlon Brando”. It featured a super cool saxophone solo that brought a bit of interest to what was otherwise a strange set. Alex Cameron is better on his recordings, so if you’re inclined, he also released an album in September of last year called Forced Witness.

Next up were The Killers. Since it was the Wonderful Wonderful album tour, it was only fitting that they open with the title track. My concert buddies and way-bigger-fans-of-The-Killers-than-me discussed at length whether they’d play the conch shell sound at the beginning of the show and I regret to inform anyone excited by that prospect that they did not. I thought it was a strange opener as it’s more of a mellow track, but I suppose when you’re Brandon Flowers you can play whatever the heck you want.

Each Killers album was pretty well represented during the performance. They mostly played songs from their first album, Hot Fuss, but I didn’t complain because that meant I knew a few more songs. They chose an interesting theme, stage-presence wise. Brandon Flowers’ piano was encased in what appeared to be the Mars symbol and the three female back-up singers’ mics were encased in the Venus symbol. The backup singers were a fantastic touch; really talented ladies, but not at all what I expect from The Killers. I guess I still think it’s 2005 and expected to find Brandon Flowers wearing guyliner or something. Oh well.

The setlist was really well put together and shows just how long they’ve been doing this. They played a lot of fan favorites and deep cuts, and even played my favorite song, “When You Were Young”. Brandon then stated that it was, “time for them to go to New York City,” and went to leave the stage, accompanied by protests from the crowd. Naturally, they came back and played “Mr. Brightside” and my night was made. It was an impressive set and I’m glad I took the opportunity to experience it. The tour ends in July in Paris, France, so you’ve got plenty of time to make it to a show.

After arriving home at 1 a.m. the next morning, I saved all of their albums and plan on listening to them chronologically and truly educating myself. I’m a real fan of The Killers now, folks.

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.