Photo courtesy of Island Records
So, “[I’m] coming out of my cage, and I’ve been doing just fine” because The Killers are back with their first album in five years.
The Killers are most known for their song “Mr. Brightside,” an early 2000s rock song that speaks about the dangers of jealousy while emoting a dance rock flavor. The Killers became known for their commitment to well-produced alternative pop rock songs with honest and sometimes cryptic lyrics.
Their new album Wonderful Wonderful, released Sept. 22, shows the alternative pop rock songs with honest lyrics but this time with a more mature tone. The band’s fifth studio album displays an emphasis on lead singer Brandon Flowers’ storytelling through his experiences as a rockstar, husband, family man, Mormon and an American.
The album’s opening and title track “Wonderful Wonderful” begins with a conch shell howl, evoking the album art of a shell in the Las Vegas desert. Slow-moving like a trek over an expansive desert, the song talks about a “motherless child praying for rain.”
Flowers has said in a Twitter Q&A that the song uses a drought as an analogy for his wife’s life. In the song, Flowers gives his wife hope saying “Wonderful wonderful, wonderful wonderful, motherless child I am with thee, thou wast never alone.” Flowers explores his role as a husband in “Rut,” “Life To Come” and “Some Kind of Love.”
The album’s lead single “The Man” sounds like John Travolta strutting down the street in “Saturday Night Fever.” The song reads like a daily pep talk and a cocky celebration of masculinity. Something about it still seems dissonant, especially when considering Flowers’s arrogant past comments on his early success with the band. Among starting feuds with other alternative rock bands like the Bravery, Fall Out Boy, and Panic!
At the Disco in 2006, Flowers called their sophomore album, “Sam’s Town,” “one of the best albums in the past 20 years” before finishing the recording process. Flowers recently told NME he “came to regret” the behavior he expressed in his early days following the success of “Mr. Brightside.” To Flowers, “The Man” was an opportunity to “inhabit that character” again to show his flaws from a more mature stance. Flowers explores his role as a rockstar in “Rut,” “Tyson v. Douglas,” “Have All the Songs Been Written?” and bonus track “Money On Straight.”
“Run For Cover” + “The Calling”
“Run For Cover” and “The Calling,” contain political and religious analogies. “Run For Cover” plays like a high speed chase with urgent guitars and beating hooks. The song warns the listener to “run for cover” and says to not “be afraid of the fear, [because] it’s a played out trap.” The song references a senator’s excuses and fake news but says nothing else politically.
The religious references in “The Calling” are more overt. The song begins with a reading of Matthew 9:10-12 and its chorus tells the listener, presumably the speaker’s father, to “lean into the light.” The story is not based on Flowers’s personal experiences but follows the same storytelling in the track “Uncle Jonny” from the band’s sophomore album, Sam’s Town.
“Out of My Mind”
“Out of My Mind” evokes the Killers’ signature style with its constant and elevating synths, melodic guitar riffs and pounding drums. The song brings back the self-assured character set up in “The Man” by giving a shoutout to classic rock legends Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney. In this song, the character is trying to woo a woman but failing, saying that he’s “falling.”
Overall, the album is clean and purposeful with a cohesive theme throughout. While it may not be the band’s most personal album, it is their most mature album in terms of lyrical content. The lyrics examine past behavior as well as failures and successes.
Follow Kelly Rodriguez on Twitter at @KRodrigNews