Album review: 'Wonderful Wonderful' - The Killers
Lindsey Lanham | A&E Editor
Legends of their own making, The Killers have struggled for eternal life since their debut album. Frontman Brandon Flowers has always carried an aura of arrogance, and with songs like “Mr. Brightside” and “All These Things That I’ve Done,” it’s justified. Now, on their new album “Wonderful Wonderful,” the band embraces their rockstar status and further solidify their immortality.
It’s been a long five years since The Killers released their last studio album. After the flop of “Battle Born,” fans were wary of what the band would release next. When their single “The Man” dropped in June, it was clear The Killers’ time off was beneficial. And when “Wonderful Wonderful” was released Sept. 22, the album proved that the failure of “Battle Born” was going to be a one-time thing.
“The Man,” is as close The Killers will ever get to returning to the artificial confidence that was “Hot Fuss.” A wildly successful debut album (that was only barely topped by “Sam’s Town”), it’s been a clear struggle for The Killers to find a sound like that again.
“The Man” features an arrogant as ever Flowers singing “Who’s the man? / I’m the man.” It’s over-the-top and fun. It feels like “Hot Fuss” but a grown-up version, and after 13 years since the album, Flowers has finally earned the right to be so cocky on the song.
Flowers is infamous for his arrogant nature. In an interview with The Independent he said, “Whether the people want to accept it or not, we might be the best band in the last long time!” The confidence is evident in the way he pushes the rest of the band to be the best they can. Even when the band is on a break, Flowers is working on solo work. He released his latest solo album, “The Desired Effect,” back in 2015.
Though Flowers’ voice notably stands out, it’s been the only constant through their discography. The Killers have never been afraid to branch out with genres. And while there is a definite “Hot Fuss” feeling to “The Man,” the song stands apart from the rest of the album.
The rest of “Wonderful Wonderful” does not have the same feeling “The Man” brings. The Killers have slowed their sound down quite a bit since their early years, but now it works for them. Tracks like “Some Kind of Love” and the title track “Wonderful Wonderful” are mid-tempo rock classics and a much different speed than the singles they’ve released in the past.
Vulture even claims that The Killers are a singles band, only good enough to listen to hits like “When You Were Young” and “Human.” There is much to be said about the way the band structures their albums, and discounting their songs that aren’t singles is doing the band an injustice. Much like on “Sam’s Town,” there’s much more than just “Read My Mind,” and on “Wonderful Wonderful,” there’s more than “The Man.”
“Run for Cover” gets political. Flowers sings “Are your excuses any better than your senator’s? / He held a conference and his wife was standing by his side / He did her dirty but no one died,” which is the most forward the band has been. It’s the most intriguing song on the album, lyrically and musically. “Run for Cover” is very Americana rock, and brings forward a classic sound from The Killers, but remains fresh with political lyrics and striking guitar riffs.
“Tyson vs. Douglas” puts Flowers in the position of the loser. A bold claim to construct a parallel between himself and Tyson, but it works. Flowers compares himself to Tyson, becoming the best at what he does only to get knocked out in the end.
“The Calling” is one of the more interesting songs on the album, lyrically. The song starts off with Woody Harrelson reading Matthew 9:10, “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.” The song is almost sarcastic with Flowers singing “But daddy did you think that you could outrun the Holy Ghost?”
It’s a far cry from the glam rock that was “Hot Fuss” or the desert indie of “Day & Age,” but “Wonderful Wonderful” holds its ground. Arrogant, and rightfully so, Flowers has led The Killers into a new era of success.