This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

The Killers: Geniuses or Peniuses?

2nd November 2006

I was penning a new Music Monthly, as I’m getting numerous requests to bring them back. Part of this forthcoming installment was a long and winding rant about The Killers.

The Killers

Figure 1: The Killers are a) geniuses, or b) peniuses?

This cathartic rant has spiralled out of control, so I’ve pulled it out and am just going to post it right here, right now. So, do I love The Killers, or do I hate them? Read on…

Late 2004: I Hate The Killers

Right. I hate The Killers. I base everything I knew about them on the first two singles. To me, Mr. Brightside and Somebody Told Me are utterly shite. I have never been able to appreciate the good bits in those records due to the awful nursery-rhyme-esque choruses or verses that sound like infants trying to coin their first poems at school.

I paraphrase: “Now she’s smoking a cab, and she’s doing her hair, and I’m getting quite bored, rather wrestle a bear…”, or “Somebody Told Me, You had a boyfriend, looked like a ladyboy, I write like a schoolboy…” and so on. I just don’t get it, yet the whole world seems to be going bandy for them. The singer doesn’t look convinced himself - he looks nervous.

Summer 2005: Seems they have a couple of good songs

Some time later, I see The Killers perform All These Things That I have Done at Live8 (on the TV) last Summer. Hmm, not bad, fairly epic, no naff bits or nursery-rhymes. The “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” is a little bit cheap, but they turn in a good performance, and I’m semi-impressed. Not long after, my good friend and DJ Ben Wood plays Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll in a club whilst I am smashed. Epic, knowing, fantasticly naff - and I love it.

Then I hear Smile Like you Mean It on Middle-Of-The-Road FM (Virgin Radio), and I like it. Sounds like it was made in the 80s. Then I hear more stuff off Hot Fuss and it all sounds like it was from the 80s. My God, how cool is that baseline in Jenny Was a Friend Of Mine? Despite my ever-so slightly increasing interest, I still say I hate the band to anyone who will listen, as I still think those first two singles are utter nappy-mess.

September 2006: Hmm, the new single is pretty good

I am then experiencing a week off before I start my new job, and I’m watching a lot of MTV2. The new Killers single, When You Were Young is on heavy rotation. I don’t get it at first, but I like the video. Is Bruce Springsteen singing the bridge? Anyway, it seeps into my brain like drip torture, but I’m starting to turn it up. Before I know it, I’m fucking loving it, and have purchased it from iTunes.

October 2006: The new album is fucking brilliant!

I get drunk with the Agenzia boys, go home, and browse iTunes. For some reason I buy the new Killers album - Sam’s Town. It is good. I listen more. It is very good. Two days later, I can’t turn it off. It is really, really good! Cohesive, intelligent, and with more nods to 80s English music (The Associates, Depeche Mode, Bowie - even Queen) than Now That’s What I Call Music 1984. I am even forgiving them for dressing up like cowboys. Tracks like For Reasons Unknown and Bling have captivated me completely.

The album has a bonus track - Where The White Boys Dance. Bonus track?! Are you ‘aving a laugh?! Fucking amazing record. Sounds like David Bowie at his best, with stunning vocals and melodic wot-nots. My track of the month for sure. Track of the year. If you hate The Killers, at least give this song a listen. It is like sex on toast.

Conclusion: I love The Killers, but…

...I still hate those first two singles, and always skip them if I’ve got Hot Fuss on. Bloody awful, disjointed, childish papp. Give me anything but those two songs. My current conclusion with The Killers is that they seem genuine, and seem to sing about America in an authentic way with pretty cool lyrics. The big thing for me is the melodies, and also the obvious nod to 80s synth and bass sounds. That stuff is just spot-on. Anyway, end of rant.

Responses

# Richard Rutter responded on 2nd November 2006 with...

Somebody Told Me [is] utterly shite.

And to think I put it on my Best of 2004 compilation. I still like it actually.

# Jared Christensen responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

I still think Hot Fuss is a pretty decent album (but not great by any means). Sam’s Town, however, is terribly boring and pretentious.

# quis responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

i love the velvet underground 80s, but it doesn’t mean i want every band to sound like them it - can’t remember who said this, but yeah.

# Simon responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

Mr. Brightside - I’m going to get lynched for this, but I actually like it; yeah the songwriting is cheesy, but when you listen to The Killers, you have to, well, embrace the cheese.

I cringe slightly when I hear the ‘I got soul, but I’m not a soldier’ (I imagine the guy that penned that one thinking ‘Hey guys, I think I’ve got something really deep here…’), but like I said, embrace the cheese - the tune is anthemic and I really like it.

For me, the Jury’s still out on Sam’s Town… I love When You Were Young, but it took me a while not to cringe over the Meatloaf-esque part. It’s now got its claws into me though and I think it’s the best track they’ve done. The video is brilliant, that guy’s an utter rotter though, the dirty dawg.

# Matthew Pennell responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

I really like Hot Fuss, although I think that’s mainly down to the singer’s voice being right in my range, so I can sing along to just about all of it when I’m in the car on my own…

# Face responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

It’s your revolution of attitude to “The Killers”? :D

# Jaro responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

I didn’t like them until yesterday when I saw them performing on the MTV Music Awards. I like the raw noise they made on the stage.

# Simon Collison responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

Ha! I knew this would be a multi-sided debate. Some like Hot Fuss, some hate Sam’s Town, some only just “got it”, some never “got it”, some sense elements of Meatloaf (oh dear) and I’ve even managed to diss Richard Rutter’s taste.

Mr. Rudkin, I forgot about the New Order fact. Very good.

# Olly responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

Simeone me ‘owd, i’ve tried to like ‘em because you said I should, ‘onest I ‘ave.

But I don’t, I can’t and I won’t.
I respect your opinion on matters such as these, you have been responsible in the (very distant) past for introducing me to some of the greats; Charles Aznavour, Ricky Martin, Mike Flowers Pops and Coldplay to name but a few, but not this time me old mate, this time you’ve blown it like a trumpet.

That said, i’ve only heard Mr Brightside and the girlfriend boyfriend one which puts me right back at the top of this article.

The killers. It’s their own fault i never got any further down their tracklist.

Fuck ‘em. Unforgiveable.

# Simon Collison responded on 3rd November 2006 with...

Olly: Ha-ha. Best mate banter there folks. I think you are confusing me with somebody else. Ricky frigging Martin? Shake your fucking bon-bon. I did used to like Coldplay (when they brought Parachutes out and were a small band). Hmm, Charles Aznavour though. Interesting. Off to download some of Charlie’s work…

# tom responded on 4th November 2006 with...

Ah, so you see, I have the exact opposite reaction. They kicked off with some good singles, but it all went slowly downhill from Jenny was a friend of mine, for me.

I find the new album really painful - musically, it’s OK; the guitarist in particular is having a lot of fun - but for me, Brandon Flowers’ weedy dwarf-voice just can’t carry the power-ballads no matter how much they double-track him. He just doesn’t have the stadium-rock voice that the record demands, and as such it annoys me greatly. I see what they’re trying to do, but it really falls very short, and I’m always bemused that people are quite so enthusiastic about it.

(Also, I think there’s a hint of early U2 in there…)

# Nik Steffen responded on 4th November 2006 with...

I love Hot Fuss, I think it was one of the most balanced (as in little epic songs, but alot of very good ones) album of 2004.

I have listened to a bit of Sam’s Town, and am not sure what to think of it yet. It is probably one of the the-more-you-hear-it-the-more-you-like-it type albums. That said, I love When You Were Young

# Maz responded on 4th November 2006 with...

i love the killers but, the more i hear sams town the more i dislike it, there are a few good tracks on there but personally i prefer hot fuss, even though after a while i just get sick of hearing too much killers. i find they tend to be somewhat whiny!

# Jake responded on 5th November 2006 with...

Well, I think Ricky Frigging Martin is over now. Since he’s not working with his hit-composer Robi Draco Rosa, his carrer is pretty much sucky.  Well, now, try to see Robi Draco Rosa and you would see a genuine real rock n roller darkish kind of guy, he writes for himself things that he didn’t write for ricky frigging martin.
By the Way, I think the Killers started with commercial stuff really nice. . . They gave a big step with Sam’s Town, more mature, more musical, more voicy, more deep, more interesting…i’ve been listening to sam’s town like 10 times a day in a row, i’ve been listening to it since the mid-october. my friend, it’s the best album of this year. Have you listened to “Why Do I keep counting?” geez that’s BEAUTIFUL ! And geez man, they’ve got the balls to create nice arse music. Respect to them. They are making me concentrate at work, feel alive…very good music.

# Barry Crosby responded on 7th November 2006 with...

I have to admit, I love the Killers.

Well, not in a teenage girl “Brandon, Brandon!” way; I think they hit my musical niche dead on.

I love 80s music - New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Human League - all top notch sounds for me to indulge into.

# Darrin responded on 9th November 2006 with...

The Killers remind me a great deal of Oasis.  No, not in their musical style but in their inflated sense of self importance and relevence.

I’m a big fan of not getting involved in basic band shenanigans, but sometimes a band like Oasis or the Killers seem to go out of their way to make themselves look different than all the other bands around them.

More music, and less drama from this band will be the only thing that saves them from my “WTFC” list.

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