Among modern rock bands, the Killers, hailing from Las vegas, have been able to stand at the top of the heap since early in their career. With the guiding voice that is Brandon Flowers at the helm, they’ve established themselves as a band that is able to elicit grand visions, even grander vocal range, and the ability to move stadiums of people with their added power behind the drums, guitar and bass powers of Ronnie Vannucci Jr, David Keuning, Mark Stoermer .Enjoy!
10. RUN FOR COVER, WONDERFUL WONDERFUL
The guitars are fast and to the point basically out of the front gate, and with that, another great high energy track by this band is given to the world. Flower’s and his lyrics tinge on political elements that the band isn’t normally known for, but in this desperate current political climate, you find more and more artists standing up and taking note. The cadence he uses and the drums at his back provide even more speed to an exhilarating song. It’s a bright moment on their new album, but there’s plenty more where that came from.
9. WONDERFUL WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL WONDERFUL
Like many artists The Killers haven’t always hit it our the park with every single album, but with the latest record, in my opinion at least they’ve rediscovered their importance. This song, the title and opening track, is something very different than we’re used to hearing. The horns, the tribal drum beats, and of course the smoky vocals of Flowers, slithering through the waves of music surrounding him are all very well timed and placed. It’s a sign that this band is still worth watching and engaging with. It’s one of the best, most unlike themselves songs they’ve ever made, and that's why it makes the list at number nine.
8. FOR REASONS UNKNOWN, SAM’S TOWN
Much of Sam’s Town was wrongly pushed aside, but as the years go on, it’s staggering to see just how good this entire record is. “For Reasons Unknown” is classic Killers in its preparation and delivery, but it also has a sullen, heartbreaking element to it. The music is more uptempo, but the contrast to the lyrics is what stands out the most. The listener can feel the sadness and vulnerability bleeding through the speakers, and it makes you wonder and imagine what choices were wrong, but more importantly, it shows you to keep going and strive for something better.
7. READ MY MIND, SAM’S TOWN
To me “Sam’s Town” was a move done to exemplify their desire to grow beyond how they were perceived during the first album cycle, but there’s way more to it. “Read My Mind” represents the Killers successfully going the route of Springsteen. A track like this has so much to offer. Everything from the Americana aspect prevalent through the song, to the nervous energy of a person going on a date. It’s also a song about regrets, and how little you actually know about what lurks in the brains of the people closest to you. It’s a song that exemplifies middle america without even trying. With this ability to put themselves in a vulnerable mind frame, the song is made that much stronger.
6. TYSON VS DOUGLAS, WONDERFUL WONDERFUL
Some songs just jump out at you from the first listen, and for me “Tyson vs Douglas” represents one of those moments. After one hundred or so listens I still can’t decide if the context of the fight in question is the main factor in the song, or if it's all just metaphor and nuance. Perhaps it's both, but either way it works really well. One of the things this band has never had a problem excelling at is soaring chorus, and here they present one of the best ones they’ve ever written. It’s also a damn fine driving song, and the little guitar part that shines through during the second verse is absolutely great.
5. MY LIST, SAM’S TOWN
This is a tough one for me to write about honesty. For my ex and I, this was one of the first songs we ever experienced together, and it stayed a favorite of ours for the years that followed. “My List” fills a more sorrowful void then nearly any other song in the Killers catalogue, but that’s why it’s such an impressive song. Flowers crooning in regards to his love, his regret, and his optimism of the potential future make this song something truly special. The overarching elements of the song are blatantly clear. This is a man desperate for the ability to do the right thing for his partner, while still staying true to himself. The chorus and crescendo at the end set it even higher up in terms of emotion, and it’s a tool the band uses to amazing effect on our number eight pick, “My List.”
4. RUNAWAYS, BATTLE BORN
Basically this whole list is an after effect of me jamming out incessantly to this song for the last week. As an album, “Battle Born” is easily their least accomplished record, but that says very little about the song in general. Brandon’s vocals are sparingly visible and can easily fill a giant open field with thousands singing his words back to him. Also, I know drumming isn’t a thing the band is mentioned often in regards to, but Vannucci’s skills on “Runaways” nearly steals the show from the vocalist, though they don’t quite get there. Lastly, “Runaways” might be regarded as their best song on their worst album, but it’s an unbelievably strong track, and it ends up at number four on the Top Ten Killers songs.
3. JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE, HOT FUSS
For years I sung these lyrics innocently enough. I don’t know why, but it always seemed to me like a lovelorn song about the end of a relationship,and in many ways that remains true. That is, until you realize the song is more than likely about taking someone’s life. The musical aspects are whirling, bright and darkly optimistic, but the under belly of the song hints at a much darker band than fans bargained for with some of the more pop friendly tracks. It’s an early reminder of how well the quartet can blur lines to convince you a song is about one thing when it’s not even remotely about that, and while “Jenny” in the song met her demise by someone she trusted, we are gifted a wonderful, bombastic song that opened up an album that brought the band to places they never thought possible.
2. WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG, SAM’S TOWN
One of the band’s biggest hits finds us at Number two on the countdown. “When You were Young” details the lessons you learn through hard and good times alike. The music is immediate in a way but balanced enough to still leave room for vocalist Flowers to work his magic. What will tomorrow bring, and how will we handle it is also a topic discussed on the song, but it’s the presentation by the band, who all co-wrote this song, that makes it all the more important. The song always has a great juxtaposition regarding growing up. When we’re young we believe all these things, and we’re able to trust more people, but as we grow older, our bodies and souls are forced to confront the tough facts. There’s not always going to be a wonderful man to sweep you off your feet. It’s actually a really somber track in the way it takes our innocent childhood thoughts and forces those thoughts to come to terms with all the loss, sadness and humility a person learns as they get older and navigate this often cruel, misunderstood world.
1. ALL THESE THINGS THAT I’VE DONE, HOT FUSS
Years ago, during a torrentially bad time for me, “All These Things that I’ve Done” was a liftboat for me. There’s no other way to say this. Talk shit all you want, but this song saved me and reminded me that we all need assistance from time to time. The song opens with a soft piano, ambient background noise, and of course, the trademark voice of swooner Brandon Flowers. During this dark period for myself, I was stubborn, resistant, and in way over my head in terms of how I was dealing with depression, fucked up decisions, and various other things I’ve managed to forget over the course of years. When you’re at that point in your life, and you hear this song, you feel as though the band is speaking to you. It was a perfectly sobering experience to be able to relate to the line “You know you gotta help me out,” and feel as though the song itself was actually playing a part in the betterment of my mental health. For that reason, as well as all the others i’ve named. “All These Things that I’ve Done,” tops the list of the Top Ten Killers songs. Thanks for reading!
Annie Clark as St Vincent has steadily built up quite a name for herself over the course of six albums. She’s gone from indie rock shredding sensation to her current tenure as an electronically driven superstar, capable of filling venues all by her lonesome. She really doesn’t need any backing band at this point, as her recent, brilliant tour proved time and time again. Today I’ll be presenting her top ten songs. I hope you enjoy
10. Champagne Year, Strange Mercy
On Strange Mercy, Clark’s third album, she gets more subdued in terms of energy in spots, but when she wants to turn it down a notch and create a song that's as ethereal and hazy, it’s well worth the listen. “Champagne Year,” nestled in the middle of the record, showcases the atmospheric qualities of St. Vincent, but it’s also slightly melancholy and honest in a way that lures you in. It’s like a memory filled with distant recollections, and in the end, the listener is unsure of whether they were even on hand for the events going through their minds.
9. Masseduction, MASSEDUCTION
On “MASSEDUCTION,” both the album and this title track, Clark abandons her more alternative rock vibes in favor of a more synth, electronically heavy concept, to rousing success. Her voice here is ferocious and wanting, not in the mood for the listener to casually sway their hips. She’s thirsty for power, and it’s a testament to the female prowess that sets this record and it’s stylings apart from the glossy, candy wrapped modern pop. Except, it is modern pop, but done in a way that puts it well above the curve in terms of what is popular or carefully packaged idols in the mainstream.
8. Save Me From What I Want, Actor
Many of the tracks delivered on her records are both sublime and billowy in terms of depth and soundscapes. It’s like day drinking, feeling slightly faded, as the sun blasts your sunglassed face. It’s romantic but also not a pushover. On “Save Me,” from her second record “Actor” St. Vincent interchanges her sultry, cautious vocals with a forceful yet not in your face drum beat. It’s that cautiousness that makes the track all the more appealing, and while it could be described as a call begging for help, it’s more of inner cry for help, as Annie struggles to overcome the tense atmosphere of a cruel world.
7. Actor out of Work, Actor
One of the few intensely upbeat tracks from her whole discography, “Actor Out of Work” is a giant middle finger to her enemies who strive to shut her ideals down, but it’s also an intensely empowering song. The beats and energy here are impeccable and can virtually stand on their own, but it’s the vocals and chaos surrounded by the drums that guitar that make the song the fist pumping anthem it was meant to be. The ending breakdown is something to behold, especially when experienced in a live setting, and it’s for this reason the track finds itself at number seven on the countdown.
6. Chloe in the Afternoon, Strange Mercy
With “Chloe in the Afternoon,” the album’s beginning truly finds its starting point in a way that’s expressly Clark’s doing, The roughness of the guitar bleeding through and making a puddle under your feet, on top of the jingly qualities that keep it entrenched in a place not completely dark, ultimately makes the song a strong companion and lead in for the rest fo the album. Her vocals are able to be lovely and smooth, while also projecting a dark undertone that whispers the next unsure movements of an artist that is ready to excel, even if she’s not sure what the end result will be.
5. Birth in Reverse, St. Vincent
As i’ve mentioned before, this album was truly the first step towards what St. Vincent became with “MASSEDUCTION,” but it still stands on it’s own to feet with full competence and potency. “Birth in Reverse” speaks of the struggle of knowledge in terms of our country’s backward thinking logic, but it also stands as warning shot for all the naysayers who want to believe this type of music can outlast anything in terms of quality. It’s true though. Everything from the murmurings of the synthesizer to the immediacy provided by Clark’s vocals, not to mention her signature guitar breakdown towards the climax, put this song as a turning point for when Clark truly became reckless, dangerous, and truly empowering for fans of bands who truly risk it all for a new, career defining sound.
4. Cheerleader, Strange Mercy
The opening plucks of the guitar on “Cheerleader” only briefly dip into the darkness that's provided by the ominous vocals, but by the time the chorus kicks in, you get the full scope of pain and torment behind the classic song. It’s an anthem for “stupid” girls everywhere who think brains are something that us men simply don’t want. Many females believe this is the way, but in this ultimate fuck you to that construct, Clark smashes that notion and paves her own way to a beautiful, self relying notion that she simply “Doesn’t want to be a cheerleader no more.” It’s a beautiful sentiment about saying to hell with what a different gender thinks you should be, and making yourself the string individual that you want to be.
3. Los Ageless, MASSEDUCTION
Everything about this sonically heavy song, which finds its place at number two in the Top Ten St. Vincent tracks, screams tearing down the walls that hold our culture back. It’s about fighting back, but it’s chorus also touches on that insane type of fixation where a person truly believes they couldn’t be happy if they weren’t with one particular person. It sorta comes off as stalkery, but those moments aren’t force fed through the entire track. It’s almost Dystopian in themes, such as depicting guitar playing ladies forced into cages, but it’s such an aggressive song that it’s easy to not dwell on the lyrics being presented. It’s easily the best exposition on the record, and everything from the vocals, the echoes, the blast beats at the forefront,and the minimal beats you hear faintly, all drive the song to excellence.
2. Digital Witness, St. Vincent
The trumpets, alongside the buoyancy of the opening moments tell you a lot of what you can expect from this fun filled track, but there’s much under the surface that only shows itself upon multiple listens. It’s one of the best tracks on the self titled album, but it also showed that Clark has nearly no problem balancing different style in the same track. It has a very danceable quality to it, but it’s also pushes the bounds of what alternative rock could be, if you can even call it that. This song has been a popular stand out among myself and the people i know, but in the end it deserves it’s number two spot because it’s just a great fucking song. It’s energetic in tone, upfront in attitude, and dishonest in no way shape or form. At the end of the day, it’s an artist trying something outside of her comfort zone, and truly coming into her own as an artist worth watching, and loving.
1. Year of the Tiger , Strange Mercy
This is likely to raise some eyebrows for it’s placement, but since early upon in working on this year, this was the clear cut number one. It’s qualities include, but aren’t limited to it’s subtlety in terms of vocal range, it’s subject matter, but also the dreamlike regret that permeates through it’s length. Her voice never gets immediate, instead opting for a patient walk towards its goal. The musical nature of the song weaves in and out from soothing background in the opening moments to a more dense sounding production as the song veers to it’s closing finale. It works all the better as it’s placed as the very last song of this sublime, transformative record. It’s a song that’s not an obvious choice, but when all the moving parts work so well together, it’s hard to ignore it’s strengths and it power, especially when you’re left contemplating the silence that follows its brilliance. Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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