Since rocketing into the limelight in 2004 with their debut album ‘Hot Fuss’, there’s been no escaping earshot of The Killers. Even if you don’t consider yourself a big fan you can’t deny that they have some incredibly catchy songs. From energetic stadium indie classics to smouldering album cuts that showcase the band’s masterful songwriting capabilities, the Las Vegas foursome have clocked up quite the back catalogue, so here’s a rundown of their best songs to date.
Brandon Flowers has mastered the vocal trick of sounding like Bruce Springsteen trapped in the body of a small boy looking for his mum in the supermarket, and on ‘Runaway’ he sounds more lost and more Bruce Springsteen than ever before – that’s a good thing.
The first few seconds of ‘Spaceman’ lead you to believe that you’re about to be taken on a futuristic journey to a far away galaxy where Harrison Ford kicks back in his rocking chair waiting on his next robot-busting assignment. But no, The Killers have other plans. While lyrically it plays up to its name, with Flowers detailing the time he was ripped from his bed by an extraterrestrial, the contrasting instrumentation, complete with hammering guitar chords and gleeful synths, are more Guardians of the Galaxy than Blade Runner. But just like both those movies, this song is stellar.
9. ‘For Reasons Unknown’
Aside from being the only Killers song where Flowers plays bass, the unique thing about ‘For Reasons Unknown’ isn’t how or why it’s good, but where it’s good: ‘For Reasons Unknown’ might just be the only stadium indie banger in history that’s all about the transitions. Verse to pre-chorus, pre-chorus to chorus, it’s all magic, and as much as we love the payoff, the in-betweens are where it’s at.
8. ‘Run For Cover’
‘Run For Cover’ is a relentless rock’n’roll shotgun blast that hits its target no matter where it’s aimed. It’s edgy. It’s dangerous. It’s reckless. It’s The Killers reenergised and almost sounding like a new band. Easily the best song on ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, you’d not be wrong if you described it as: The Gaslight Anthem-meets-Royal Republic recorded for a 2000s remake of a John Hughes classic.
7. ‘Read My Mind’
Perfect for watching the sun set behind a festival stage, ‘Read My Mind’ is a dizzying cocktail of euphoria and melancholy that Flowers and co. brew up so well. Where rattling guitars glide over a bed of gorgeous synths, it’s a mid-tempo gem that U2 are probably kicking themselves about because they didn’t write it first.
6. ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’
‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ doesn’t get the level of love its ‘Hot Fuss’ counterparts do, with the common consensus being that anyone who remembers more than the “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” bit probably has a Brandon Flowers face tattoo inked across their entire back. That couldn’t be further from the truth: listen again and watch as your heart swoons and soars.
5. ‘Somebody Told Me’
A decade after the gender deconstruction of Blur’s ‘Girls & Boys’, The Killers tapped into the same lyrical wellspring with this disco-fuelled celebration of androgyny. “Somebody told me you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year,” goes the chorus, and the moral of the story, to paraphrase Damo circa ‘95, is that when boys look like girls they get the girls who like boys. You follow?
4. ‘When You Were Young’
If the lead single from ‘Sam’s Town’ was any more heavily indebted to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ the authorities would have to get involved. As it is, the song aims for the stars with such belief and conviction not even the Boss himself would deny it status as a classic.
3. ‘Smile Like You Mean It’
A staple of the band’s live shows, ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ is an upbeat number with downbeat lyrics – but that’s something The Killers have always been good at. Able to take a glass of piss and make it taste like orange juice, this was an early example of how good the Las Vegas four-piece are at disguising melancholy as euphoric bliss. If you let the new wave guitars and evocative vocal runs wash over you then you’ll forget all about the other bloke driving your ex-girlfriend around the streets you used to frequent.
Any list of the best Killers songs that doesn’t include ‘Human’ is automatically null and void. While the lyrics might not make a lot of sense they’re catchy as fuck. Add the soaring vocals of Flowers to the thumping drums and excitable synths that sound like they were picked up off the cutting room floor from a Pet Shop Boys studio session in the 80s and you’ve got yourself a stadium singalong smash.
1. ‘Mr. Brightside’
Possibly the most fun anyone’s ever had imagining their girlfriend bang another dude, ‘Mr. Brightside’ is the Killers falling down a well of self-pity and finding everlasting redemption glittering in a puddle at the bottom. Just when you think the song with the most couldn’t lift you any higher, Flowers turns the crank in the chorus, retching out the “price I pay” line with such projectile pace it’s lodged in your memory forever. Oh, and it’s only the longest-charting single in the history of the UK Top 100 singles chart.