The Killers’ “Wonderful Wonderful” Album Review

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Meera Parikh

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The Killers when all their band members used to go on tour

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The Killers when all their band members used to go on tour

Thirteen years after their biggest hit, “Mr. Brightside,” and five years after their most recent album, “Battle Born,” the Killers have released their fifth album, “Wonderful Wonderful” on September 22.

They released two singles this summer, “The Man” followed by “Run for Cover,” both of which received positive reviews. “The Man” contrasts with the Killers generally standard rock vibes, having a disco, glam-rock feel. Though the flashy, over-the-top lyrics and guitar riffs risk sounding cheesy, Brandon Flowers’ strong vocals backed by a solid bass turn it into a catchy hit among alternative songs.

“Run for Cover” has a very different feel from the straightforward and bombastic spirit of “The Man.” While “The Man” almost mocks the idea of masochist physical strength and power, “Run for Cover” examines the consequences of the overbearing male personality in a relationship. The music is more representative of the Killers usual style, but the lyrics describe a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship. Some may argue that lines such as “He got a big smile, he’s fake news” are politically charged, advising people not to trust everything the media tells them.

“Tyson vs. Douglas” and “Rut” also demonstrate the classic Killers synth riffs, but with a new layer of vulnerability. They both explore the idea of rising up after a loss, while the former is about a boxing match and the latter deals with PTSD. The Killers may be telling their fans that they might be past their prime, but they will finish strong.

“Life to Come” continues this thread of the revival of The Killers, as Flowers preaches to “dropkick the shame” and asks his fans to “have a little faith in me.”

Unfortunately the title song along with “Out of My Mind” and “The Calling” fall short of the high standards that the Killers have set in previous albums. Lyrically, they are decent, but they lack musicality and do not compensate with a strong beat. All three drag, leaving the listener waiting for a tempo shift that never comes. “The Calling” is so slow and drawn out to the extent that it straddles the border of country-western territory.

Based on the themes of loss and redemption in their songs, it is possible that this is the last album the Killers will make before they split up. Brandon Flowers released his second album, “The Desired Effect,” in 2015 and he is going on the “Wonderful Wonderful” tour without bassist Mark Stoermer and guitarist Dave Keuning, two founding members of the band. This album may mark the bittersweet end of a great American rock band, as they close off asking, “Have All the Songs Been Written?” Most likely, though, Flowers will find a few more to write himself, perhaps taking it solo from here on.

The Killers gave their fans a satisfying blend of the classic sound we have come to love, mixed with some new, more profound pieces. They put up a facade of fearlessness in “The Man,” but each song humanizes the album, eventually showing that raw emotion is actually more courageous than stoic bravado. Though “Wonderful Wonderful” may not live up to glory of “Hot Fuss” or “Sam’s Town,” The Killers reassure us that they will not die without a fight.

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