Music Between The Lines (June 2014)

Does anyone remember the first time they heard about The Killers? I certainly do. Apparently there was this new band singing about girlfriends being boyfriends and boyfriends being girlfriends or something like that and the rumour was they were all gay! That’s right, not just one of them, but ALL of them. This rumor sustained itself for sometime on my school bus, which was ironically called Bus Q. Anyway, it turned out that none of them were gay and that the lead singer Brandon Flowers was in fact a Mormon.

At the time their breakout single Somebody Told Me sounded like any good indie rock tune of the day. The year was 2004. Franz Ferdinand had released Take Me Out, The Vines had put out Ride an Modest Mouse were making ground with Float On.

But The Killers turned out to be a little more than just another indie band. With the release of their second single Mr. Brightside they shuffled their way into the popular consciousness and into the répertoire of every pub musician singing covers on a Friday night. Mr. Brightside was a smash and their debut album Hot Fuss became a seminal coming of age record for the 21st century.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of Mr. Brightside, I mean, it’s a good song, but it’s not AMAZING, but when I used to play little pub gigs, people would violently heckle us if we didn’t pull out Mr. Brightside. There are a handful of songs from the 2000s that have garnered this kind of obsessive allegiance – Mr. Brightside is one of them.

And to top it all off they appeared on the O.C. Remember that old gem of a show? …. ahhhh to be young. As the quartet provided the soundtrack to yet another one of Ryan and Marissa’s awkward run-ins, they sealed their place in our lives. I understand that I’m narrowing my audience at this point to anyone who went to high school in the 2000s, but you’ll have to forgive me this one time.

As the years have gone on, The Killers have moved further away from the bombastic burst of youthful melancholy the holds Hot Fuss together. The albums that followed – Sam’s Town and Day and Age are fantastic and arguably better. But lyrically, Flowers has been positionally himself as some kind of crossbreed of Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash an American storyteller revealing tales about Cadillac’s and the open Nevada desert. Sometimes I think he just puts random words together on and then inserts them into his lyrics. Their last album Battle Born was pretty weak, for a band so sure in its melodic path it was confusing to hear what they were trying to create. It wasn’t ambitious, it just didn’t sound good.

This month Hot Fuss turns 10 years old – Yep, it’s been that long.

At the album’s peak, All These Things That I’ve Done, Flowers sings ‘I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier’. The Killers have always been a Rock n Roll band with soul, but they lost that soul on their last album – Lets hope they finds it again. Happy Birthday Hot Fuss, hip hip hooray!

Kog Ravindran is a writer, occasionally sings for Melbourne band, The Scarecrows and currently has his debut solo EP Barricades out in the world. Find out all about him at or check him out on Triple J Unearthed.