Whether you never understood the appeal, or loved them from the early days of "Hot Fuss," The Killers have built a career based on americana hooks, lonely insight, and triumphant music known to soar when the moment is right, I hope you enjoy this list, and i look forward to hearing your opinions!
10 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.
9 BLOWBACK: IMPLODING THE MIRAGE
The synth vibe opening the song is straight out of a science fiction project from the 80’s, yet the song quickly moves on to a more rock oriented instrumental section. Flowers’ voice is persistent but pessimistic throughout, as the lyrics convey a desire to face trauma while also managing to stay on top of your game. Much like the bands others works, this has a down home Mid- west vibe to it, hard working but complicated to its core, which when Sung by Brandon Flowers make the emotion in the song that much easier to recognize.
8 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.
7 MR BRIGHTSIDE, HOT FUSS
For many reading, I suspect this will be a point of contention, as most believe this is the band's best and most popular song, and while it’s a tremendous song that gave the band more open doors than they knew how to handle. It lands on this list at #7. It’s poppy sure, but it has much of what inspired indie rock kids to love the band initially. The guitar hook is infectious and very moder rock, but the real star of “Mr. Brightside '' is the energy the entire band brings to the table. Everything from the lyrics to drums works, which is why it’s still one of the biggest hits of the Aughts
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 THIS RIVER IS WILD: SAM'S TOWN
Nearing its 15th year in existence, “This River is Wild” remains one of the best anthems in the band's catalog. It has this buoyant enthusing through it, even if the lyrics speak to tremendous stress and desperation. The beat is determined and forceful, with Ronny”s drum pounding the pavement as the band keeps up rhythmically. Flowers is vulnerably honest for much of this track , yet it all washes away as the soaring chorus latches on and takes the listener on a journey reminiscent of early days of Springsteen.
4 JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE: HOT FUSS
For years I sang 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 underbelly 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.
3 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 tomorrow will 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.
2 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.
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!
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Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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