The Killers Show Maturity in Long Awaited Fifth Album

By Kimberlee Bongard
On September 25, 2017

Album artwork courtesy of Wikipedia

After five years, The Killers are back with their fifth studio album “Wonderful Wonderful.”

The album was set into motion more than two years ago. The band’s previous effort “Battle Born” was recorded in just eight months by a handful of producers. This resulted in a final product that felt both rushed and messy because of the varying musical preferences of one producer to another.

However, the dedicated time and close detailing labored by Garret “Jacknife” Lee on “Wonderful Wonderful” makes for a polished sound that flows cohesively from one song to the next.     

“Wonderful Wonderful” and “The Man” kick off the album with heavy instrumentations of droning synthesizers and thundering drums behind Flowers’ daunting vocals.

Following those flashy rock tracks, the album pivots into feel-good indie pop.On “Life to Come” Flowers’ vocals soar, evoking his “inner Bono.” Although “Run for Cover” has a cliché feel with its vague lyrics, the song has a high energy that could carry over effortlessly into a live performance.

The bluesy ballad “Have All the Songs Been Written?” lends gentle closure to the album.

Achieving that extremely well-balanced sound between heavy rock and vibrant synth is the most satisfying feature of any Killers song, and most of the songs on “Wonderful Wonderful” succeed in doing so. 

The Killers we’ve come to know and love are bona fide masters of storytelling. Their most popular jams tell stories that don’t shy away from the tides of jealousy, insecurities and the pain that follows moving on.

“Wonderful Wonderful” has its own stories to tell. “Tyson vs. Douglas” explores what it feels like to watch the unforeseen fall of a hero, as lead singer Brandon Flowers confesses he hopes he never falls for the sake of his family.

During “Rut” Flowers opens up about his wife’s ongoing battle with accepting her mental illness. The summer single “The Man” is Flowers recalling the arrogance of his attitude and mentality when the Killers first took off in the early 2000s. 

All of these concepts are introspective and show how the band’s writing has matured throughout these past few years, even after their extended hiatus.

The album artwork alone hints at a maturing sense of complexity in the Killers. Every Killers album up to this point has featured the band’s name in all capital letters, flashed front and center. Yet this album is stripped of the Killers’ name, as well as the title of the album itself. 

The Killers’ music will forever be immortalized in 2000’s culture. As of right now, it’s tough to say whether hits such as “The Man” and “Run for Cover” will stand the test of time and be heralded as concert classics like the charmers “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me.”

Whether or not these new songs land themselves in the encore repertoire, “Wonderful Wonderful” is a step forward for the Killers as the band continues to explore more personal themes in their songwriting. 

 

 

kbongard@ramapo.edu

 

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