Two things seem obvious when it comes to Vegas born Killers. One: They’ve made fun, thoughtful, rock and roll with minimal electronic aspects mostly brilliantly over the course of their fifteen plus year career. The second thing, at least upon my observations, is that a ton, and i mean a lot of people, hate this band. There seems to be little in between, but from my point of view, the Killers represent a band that produced a debut album that everyone loved, and from, there continued to make worthwhile music consistently( though not perfectly continuous), and have managed to become one of the few bands that has been able to say that they went from being one of the lower billed bands at festivals, to headlining them with ease. Here’s what I consider the Top Ten songs by the Brandon Flowers led Killers. Some are super obvious, but there’s more than one non-hit in this grouping, so there’s something here for casual fans and people that soak up all things The Killers. Enjoy!
10. Spaceman, Day & Age
Day & Age is probably the first album where people thought the band took a misstep, but there’s still a good amount of enjoyable music found on the record. On “Spaceman” the band veers more towards the pop side that they brought us on their debut, while managing to have better results on the mixing side of things then the band had in their early days. The song itself though, is a upbeat, classic Killers soundscape, with a glossy chorus that features Flowers quickly touching on “dream makers” and other fantastical elements. Not their crowning achievement for sure, but it’s quality enough to crack the top ten as we begin our countdown.
9. Andy, You’re a Star, Hot Fuss
The crunchy, yet rusty sounding guitar by David Keuning start the track on a lonely, moonlit road as the song unfolds. It’s a slow burn of a number, and it’s something I honestly wish they did more often. When Flower’s wonderfully melodic voice beckons to Andy, to inform his he’s a star, the song has reached further than most of the band's catalogue since. Musically the song isn’t the boisterous stadium killer the band has come to trademark, but on an album as brightly orchestrated and executed as “Hot Fuss,” “Andy, You’re a star” shines in stark contrast to the rest of the album, which is why it works so well in the first place.
8. My List, Sam’s Town
This is a tough one for me to write about honestly. 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 over reaching 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.”
7. On Top, Hot Fuss
Number seven on our list, “On Top,” always feels to me like it should be used in a montage in some 80’s driven action movie, but that’s neither here nor there. The keyboard beats on the song are laid down in a powerful but subtle way, in order to give the band, and Flowers especially, the room to really make the song an impactful one. It’s a song that feels just as comfortable in a dark bar dancing as it does at a mid day cook out as the sun begins to set. It’s relatively upbeat until the doors fly open more immediately as the track concludes, but there’s no denying this song, along with the majority of the songs on “Hot Fuss,” are reasons that the Killers have come as far as they have in the last decade.
6. This River is Wild, Sam’s Town
One thing this band will always do well is managing to write songs that leave the opportunity for huge sing alongs and even bigger vocal choruses. To me “Sam’s Town” will remain their best work, and it’s a selection like “This River is Wild” that serves as an example of why it’s aged so well. Flowers vocalizes how hard it is to stay on the straight and narrow,but he’s also able to explain his own faults in a way that seem both blunt and timid. He’s not happy about the choices he’s made, but he understands that on the road “trying to do what’s right,” there will be twists and turns. After all, the song is called “This River is Wild,” so yeah it shouldn’t be surprising how much the song is able to portray in terms of uncertainty.
5. Runaways, Battleborn
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 album, but that says very little about the song in general. Brandon’s vocals are soaringly 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 five on the Top Ten Killers songs.
4.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 exemplies middle america without even trying, and with this ability to put themselves in a vulnerable mind frame, the song is made that much stronger.
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 band 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 swoop 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, hope you enjoyed!
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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