james debate
james debate

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Welcome back to the artist spotlight. These are intended to educate and provide basic commentary on the chosen band, and listing their biggest hits, as well as the hidden gems they've recorded.

This week the spotlight is on the Killers, in celebration of their brand new album Day & Night

the killers day & age review

In 2001, Brandon Flowers left his first band Blush Response and met David Keuning through a newspaper advert. They then recruited Ronnie Vannucci Jr. and Mark Stoermer to join their new band. The band derived its name from a music video for the song Crystal by New Order, in which the fictional band playing has the name 'The Killers' on their bass drum.

The Killers emerged from the deserts of Las Vegas at a time when guitar music was unfashionable, particularly in America, sporting a distinctly anglophilic sound. Initially rejected by the Warner Bros. record label, they eventually managed a breakthrough with Island Records and proved to the world that cultured and cerebral pop-rock doesn't have to suck. This is a band with the spirit of a rock band, notably writing all their own songs and coming up with their own style rather than just listening to whatever big marketing corporations tell them, and a fresh new electro pop-rock sound that introduced a generation of kids to rock music and made it 'cool' again. Millions all over the world were rejoicing in the uplifting euphoria of their music.

Their first two albums Hot Fuss and Sam's Town have sold 12 million records between them worldwide, and spawned numerous singles, all of which have been massive hits. Later they released a b-sides album called Sawdust that was really a bit of a sidetrack from their real music making, designed to keep us going until their third and arguably best album, Day and Age was released (or will be, in a week and a half).

The Killers have developed a reputation as a bit of a chameleon rock band, constantly changing styles. They emerged with their first album as fresh faced youngsters wearing mascara and makeup, dressed in bright exuberant colors and a taste for the extravagant showiness that they brought to all their live shows. Flowers in particularly reveled in the spotlight, his quirky personality and awkward mannerisms resonating with the unusual and eclectic music the band played.

Then with their second album they washed off all the makeup, grew facial hair and dressed up as cowboys in an attempt to paint their new image as a manlier rock band. To say it was a controversial decision that was met with mixed reaction is an understatement. After all it was their genre transcending brand of exciting uplifting electronic pop-rock that made them such a big appeal to so many people.

And so it came to be that with their third album they returned once again to the world of glam and showiness that had proved such a success with their first album. Only this time with a difference, they brought with them all they learned from their experiences with Sam's Town, retaining an element of the maturity and depth that they had been playing and mixing it with the superficial ecstasy of their pop songs. This way they created something incredibly unique, full of exotic sounds and instruments.

There is more to come in the future of course. The Killers are currently recording another Christmas song to follow up their efforts for the last two years of Great Big Sled and Don't Shoot Me Santa with Joseph, Better Me than You, which they are recording with Elton John.

On top of this there have reportedly (in an interview with music radar) also been discussions with Stuart Price, creator of the Mr. Brightside Thin White Duke remix and producer of the album Day and Age about making a cover album together in the near future.

And now on to the fun bit, the recommended songs:

Mr. Brightside
All These Things That I've Done
When You Were Young

Delving Deeper:
This is Your Life (excuse the bad quality)
Read My Mind
Losing Touch

Still Want More?:
I Can't Stay
Somebody Told Me
Under the Gun

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