04
Dec
09

Who Cares About The Killers?

They were one of those bands that took awhile to grow on me, I mean, I’d heard ‘Mr Brightside’ playing on the radio for a couple of months, but didn’t really take to the song at all and as such, it just formed part of the background noise of my life during my chaotic student years while I was drinking my body weight daily and making insidious efforts to avoid doing any actual work.

 

 

My first clear memory of them is from 2004, I was in the gym (of all places) and ‘Somebody Told Me’ started pounding its way over the speakers right into my brain. Before the song was through, I was hooked and a few weeks later got my dirty paws on the album.

Even then I didn’t take it too seriously until one night, a full year later, I was suffering from the worst kind of heartache you can imagine and ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ drifted through the empty corridors of the mansion of a digs we used to live in.

It is, to this day, one of my favourite Killers songs. Something about that song resonates deeply in my bones and I think always will. It’s like the feeling you get when you go back to the house you grew up in, or the place you got your first kiss.

‘And someone will drive her around, down the same streets that I did, on the same streets that I did…’

Of course after that it was only a matter of time before I fell for the other gems Hot Fuss had to offer. I’ve belted out the lyrics of ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ at drunken parties, in drunken bars, in drunken clubs, and by myself, when I’m drunk, more times than I think I could ever count… or remember.

 

 

And yet When Sam’s Town was released in 2006, I was completely meh about the album. A buddy got it for his birthday a week after ‘When You Were Young’ started playing over the radio and we played the album on infinite repeat that weekend at his party and I can’t say it did much for me.

I remember there being some heartfelt tracks that grabbed my attention that night, in retrospect one of them was probably ‘Read My Mind’, but other than that I wasn’t really blown away by the album at all.

A year later though, ‘Exitlude’ became the story of my life. I fell in love hard and fast over two weekends with a woman who would become the love of my life but who, at the time, was only over for a short holiday because she was living in London.

When she went back to London after those ten days we spent together, I kept finding her things around my flat, a misplaced earring here, a fiery, red-golden hair there, her pyjama top mixed up in a pile of my clothes and a CD, Sam’s Town, underneath the passenger seat in my car.

‘We hope you enjoyed your stay, it’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for a day. We hope you enjoyed your stay, outside the sun is shining, seems like heaven ain’t far away…’

 

 

Needless to say, that album fast became a favourite of mine, but it wasn’t until I heard Sawdust, the B-Sides album that came out later that year that I finally conceded that yes, The Killers were a fucking cool band.

I’ve always said judge a band not by their studio albums or radio singles, judge them rather by their live shows and their B-Sides, and Sawdust was packed full of great B-Sides.

The album was by far the edgiest release they had put out to date and as a result, not many people liked it, but personally, I was really impressed with what I was hearing, especially one of the bonus tracks, the alternate version of ‘Sam’s Town’ which is played almost exclusively on the piano.

‘I’ve got this energy beneath my feet,’ Flowers sang, ‘Like something underground’s gonna come up and carry me. I’ve got this sentimental heart that beats, but I don’t really mind that it’s starting to get to me…’

I don’t really mind that it’s starting to get to me. I sang that line a million times that year. I don’t really mind that it’s starting to get to me, because the irony implicit in that line spoke to me, it meant something to me and made me feel a certain way every time I heard it and like all art, the really good stuff, I guess on some level it made me feel less alone.

And then came Day and Age, the band’s fourth album and almost overnight, all the years of respect I’d slowly amassed for The Killers curled up into a little ball in the corner and died.

 

 

What the fuck was that? Seriously, what the fuck was that?! Because to me it sounded like it was rushed, it sounded like the band had gotten lazy and / or had sold out completely.

If you think ‘Human’ is a good track, I have some really bad news for you. You are retarded. ‘Are we human or are we dancer?’ Isn’t there an ‘S’ missing from the end of that last word? And besides that fact, isn’t that song just about the most irritating dance / pop / rock track ever to be recorded?

There is no substance to Day and Age whatsoever and to my knowledge, only two singles were released off the album, and like a fat man at a house party who farts loudly during those precious few moments between the previous song and the next one, the band seemed to slink quietly out of the room to go and reflect on what they’d done.

Day and Age made me realise that Brandon Flowers has a whiney voice. It made me realise that there are tracks off their previous albums that are really bad. I’d never listened to any of their stuff from the perspective of a hater, but Day and Age changed that, and once I started down that road I found there are a buttload of tracks off their albums that are puke-worthy.

The best song on Day and Age was the bonus track ‘A Crippling Blow’ which, ironically, I don’t think was included on the original CD and was only available if you downloaded the album off iTunes.

And so now here we sit, a year since that abortion of an album was released and I’m not sure anyone cares about this band anymore.

You can tell when a band has passed the apex of their fame when they come to South Africa on tour. It’s almost sad when I find out about bands coming to play here because the first thing I think is, ‘Ahhh jeez, do they suck that much now? Damn, I thought they were doing really well…’

And yeah, I bought tickets to go and see The Killers tonight, but am I excited about the concert? Not really. And so I find myself asking the question, Who cares about The Killers? Are they still the band they were a few years ago in everyone’s eyes?

Call me a cynical fucker, but I don’t think so. I guess tonight will be the test of that, but I really hope for the band’s sake and mine, they only play three tracks off Day and Age at the very most and for the rest of the concert we can pretend that it’s still 2006 and that this is a band we actually all still give a shit about.

-ST

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9 Responses to “Who Cares About The Killers?”


  1. December 4, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Ola Slick,

    I saw the Killers earlier this year and they blew my mind with their live performance, especially Flowers and his lil feathery coat;) hopefully they gave the joburgers as scrumptious a treat as I was privvy to.

    What I love about ur blog is that you validate your opinions. I’m sure ul get some heat for this post, possibly at the level of Death by Ayoba, but fuck it!

    My 2c that I want to add is re Human – you are a man who enjoys some deeper meaning and below is a theory about the lyrics that seems to be widely accepted. I personally fucken love the track.

    Laters compadre

    “Are we human, or are we dancer” was taken from a journalist Hunter S. Thompson before he committed suicide, Flowers said this is where he got that line, and the deeper meaning behind that line is this:

    In this song, dancer is used as a metaphor for an orchestrated, rehearsed act. Something without individuality. Without emotion i guess, like a hollow act. A dancer has no room for individuality when in groups(like a person in society) they have to follow an exact pattern that everyone else does. If you’ve ever seen a dancer screw up, it’s very noticeable. so when he says are we human or we dancer, he is comparing someone who is human(not as a species, but as a quality, human means emotional and individual; able to think for oneself). Then the word dancer in this song is also used as a quality, not as a noun. Which is why there is no ‘s’ at the end, because he wants to stress that he doesn’t mean a bunch of dancers, but rather that he’s asking if the world is full of the dancer quality. It’s the same reason there is no ‘s’ at the end of human, because he could’ve said “Are we humans, or are we dancers” but that doesn’t bring about his deeper meaning, which is why he is using ‘dancer’ and ‘human’ as qualities, or adjectives.

    • December 4, 2009 at 11:07 am

      The Maen! Wattup m’nigga!

      Loved your comment dude and yes, I had heard about the Hunter S reference before, and yeah, it might have deeper meaning, but it doesn’t change the fact to me, it still sounds lame.

      Hunter was one fucked up guy. He was all about the old school, got wasted like nobody’s business and was as tough as coffin nails. What would he have thought of the prancy, pseudo-intellectual, pop-slop that is ‘Human’?

      In my mind I see him loading his shotgun and leveling it at the TV, a bottle of whisky dangling limply from his free hand as he pulls the trigger, cackling maniacally and Flowers shatters into a thousand pieces.

      BUT I’m reserving any further judgement until I see them later tonight cause, to be honest, it’s probably gonna be a pretty rad concert ;)

      Watch this space for my post mortem of the event.

      -ST

  2. December 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    There may be a deeper meaning to that line, ‘Are we human…’ but, unfortunately, it seems to be lost amongst the majority. I personally can not stand The Killers post Hot Fuss. Hot Fuss had a retrospective naivete which was endearing and encouraged repeat listenings. By Sam’s Town, The Killers had overestimated their significance and came off as pretentious and frankly, everything that made Hot Fuss great, took a backseat to indulgence of their popularity. They are a kind of band, I believe, that can make Hot Fuss v2, v3, v4 and be better for it, rather than trying something new and fall flat on their faces. Should I respect them for trying something new? I don’t think so, not when they regress to a degree that they blindside you with a low-blow that is Day and Age.

    Another point, I can think of one band who has toured SA at the height of their career, not at the end. That was Muse. They are the ultimate in live performance as I saw them 2 months ago in Stockholm, Sweden and they blew my mind, even when I was expecting something amazing, they smashed my expectations.

    I like your B-Sides reference to the quality of the band’s songwriting. The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana produced amazing B-sides such as Pisces Iscariot and Incesticide respectively. Muse’s B-sides are consistently brilliant as well and for me, the best B-sides album is Deftones, B-sides and Rarities. Just listen to their cover of ‘If Only Tonight We Could Sleep’ by The Cure and you will hear what I’m talking about… And that was recorded live!

    Who cares about The Killers? Not me by a long shot.

    • December 4, 2009 at 2:07 pm

      Another gem of a comment, fuck I love you guys, c’mere, group hug.

      Yeah, I’m with you 100%, what happened to The Killers was a textbook case of rock superstardom – the 1st album is all nostalgic and reflective, they’re writing music about their childhoods, their first loves, things close to their hearts.

      Then comes album 2, they’re famous now, their subject matter becomes broader. They’re shit hot and they know it. They’re still trying to a certain extent to write heartfelt music and in some cases they’re nailing it, but it’s already starting to sound a little contrived.

      Then, album 3 and they’re at the height of their pretentious wankery. They’re already huge, they hardly have to put in any effort to sell thousands of albums and so they don’t, and the result is a collection of embarassingly trite songs that 1000 bands have played 1000 times before.

      The minute a person tells me they enjoyed Day and Age over previous Killers albums I immediately dismiss them as a serious music critic and nod and smile politely while they tell me how much they dig the new Prime Circle album.

      Idiots, all of them, but I love them and long ago came to terms with the fact that it’s rarely more than one person in 10 that shares my musical taste and opinions.

      Love your comments dude, you should be contributing to the material on this site, I’ll pay you in handjobs.

      -ST

  3. December 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I’d be happy to, but only if you use two hands.

  4. 7 Sibsmi
    December 8, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Ok…help a girl out. Dutch rudder?

    • December 8, 2009 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Sibsmi,

      Only a pleasure, helping girls out is what SlickTigers do best.

      The ‘Dutch Rudder’ refers to a sexual act that takes place between a man and his partner (which could be a woman, two women, another man, two other men, a monkey, and so on and so on).

      The man grips his erect member firmly, but not too firmly in his hand (in this case let’s say his left hand) while standing. His partner stands next to him and takes a hold of the man’s left arm, just above the elbow and proceeds to move the arm awkwardly forward and backward.

      The result is like masturbating, but not quite, and all in all about as satisfying as making love to a deflated blow-up doll.

      I would only reccommend someone in a loving relationship to ever try this as the results are nothing short of hilarious.

      Good times ;)

      -ST


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