Every hipster millennial had their Killers moment.
These kids vehemently yelled "Mr. Brightside" in the shower, and then on the bus to school (since it was 2004, and Discmans were still in), they packed an extra set of Duracells for a habitual Hot Fuss morning sesh.
Over the years though, overweening frontman Brandon Flowers (he called the Bravery a fake band and deemed Green Day's American Idiot 'anti-American) and company have been praised and vilified for their glossy faux-Brit New Wave Duran Duran theatrics. And the band's journey into Bruce Springsteen's small town tropes on 2006's Sam's Town didn't bode well either -- though Flowers called it "one of the best albums in the past 20 years." Sheesh. Don't mess with The Boss.
The Killers released two other records (Day & Age, Battle Born), but they're pretty forgettable. Over a 12-year career, though, the Sin City rockers have sold 20 million albums worldwide, and are still touring hardcore. So we here at Crossfade give you five reasons the Killers don't suck.
5. Their first album ruled
"Somebody Told Me" is like Panic! at the Disco's "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." It hurts not to sing along. And yes, the Killers ripped off New Order, the Cure, the Smiths and every other band in the New Wave, post-punk handbook. But were you not at least mildly obsessed with Hot Fuss? It houses all
the only Killers' gems -- the former yarn of an androgynous lover, "Smile Like You Mean It," "Mr. Brightside," and that catchy as shit chorus "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier." Whether you were 25 or 14, these songs made your day.
4. They legitimize fans of shitty music
Call them what you will, but the Killers are a crossover band. And people with sucky music taste capitalize on their pseudo-hip appeal. A bro who likes Dave Matthews Band (and has a soft spot for Nickelback) thinks he's indie if he streams any of the group's post-Hot Fuss stuff -- it's like "duh bro, I love 'Mr. Brightside,' but have you heard 'Human'? Brandon's so poetic on that 'Are we human, or are we dancer?'" refrain. No.
3. They're awkward
YouTube's archived an array of uncomfortable interviews with the self-assured Flowers (usually accompanied by the soft spoken Mark Stoermer or Dave Keuning to break the ice) who's often defending his eyeliner and Bruce Springsteen impressions. But this one trumps all.
Aussie interviewer James' sardonic interrogation approach is painful (he basically asks Flowers and Stoermer, "do you ever just not want to play the songs you're known for?" and then berates their fan base in Granada), but the two handle the sitch with a great, big, internal "fuck you."
2. They're politically conscious but non-commital
Instead of fiercely aligning themselves as Dems or Reps, the Killers choose to be quiet in the storm. The band played at the White House in 2010 for President Obama's "Salute to the Military" concert, and Flowers had a private lunch with fellow Mormon Mitt Romney during the former candidate's visit to Nevada in 2011 (so opportunistic-Mitt). But Flowers declined to join Romney's cause, on grounds of staying neutral in the election. Stick with Bono and the Product Red campaign, boys.
1. They've managed to maintain nostalgic appeal
The Killers are often filed as shoddy descendants of '80s Brit pop, New Wave masters, 20 years their senior. But aside from bitter veterans who detest their modern brand, most millennials beam (though may not readily admit) when they hear "Breaking my back just to know your name." The Killers are mod wave forerunners who can play with grandpas like Coldplay or even freaking Morrissey, and still rep their own epoch.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
And we know, their fan base kind of grew up, and preteens now think they're "vintage." But the band's grandiose synth rock is cause for why big-sound Euro acts like Two Door Cinema Club and Muse have skyrocketed in the U.S. (irony alert since the Killers have always fared better in the UK). Makeup and cockiness aside, you can't knock them for that accomplishment.
The Killers. Saturday, August 17. American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Boulevard., Miami. Show starts at 8 p.m. Call 800-462-2849, or visit aaarena.com