Artist Spotlight: The Killers

By Caroline Meister

The Killers, infamous for their song “Mr. Brightside,” have become almost a “joke” band, a la Nickelback. In my opinion, this a royal shame because The Killers are a band with strong instrumentalists, impressive songwriters, and a large range of style.

The Killers were formed in 2001 in Las Vegas and originally consisted of lead singer Brandon Flowers, lead guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist Dell Neal, and drummer Matt Norcross. Like most bands, the membership has fluctuated, as Neal has been switched with new bassist Mark Stoermer and Norcross has been replaced by Ronnie Vannucci Jr. on drums. However, for having been a band for almost 16 years, The Killers have remained impressively consistent with their lineup. In my opinion, this says a lot about their character and synergy as a band. Even the greatest of edgy bands have had their problems, but somehow The Killers have escaped the bulk of this.

The Killers are not punk rock. They are not pop. They are not singer/songwriters. They are alternative rock. This is very interesting to me, because I typically do not like alternative rock music. I listen to pop, punk rock, and pop punk (with some odd outliers thrown in here and there). So why do I like The Killers so much? In all honesty, I’m not exactly sure. All I can do is speculate, but I think I have some strong guesses.

It could be because they’re fantastic songwriters. Songs like “Dustland Fairytale” and “All These Things That I’ve Done” tell stories woven so intricately that I feel like I’m watching a movie instead of listening to a three-minute song. Lyrics like, “saw Cinderella in a party dress/ but she was looking for a night gown and I got soul/ but I’m not a solider” leave me wanting more of a story.

It could be that their songs are incredibly catchy; whether it’s all the too popular “Mr. Brightside” (“Coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine…”) or the lesser known “Miss Atomic Bomb,” The Killers have had me singing their lyrics all day long for weeks at a time. Not to mention that the entire album Hot Fuss could be a considered a “bop” (is that the term kids are using these days?).

It could also be that The Killers refuse to be pigeonholed. Yes, “Mr. Brightside” saw great success. And yet, The Killers didn’t let a single song define their career. “Mr. Brightside” is on the edgier side of the spectrum; it’s pop-punk. However, as their albums progressed, they stayed true to the vision they had for their band. Alternative rock; not pop or punk. Not a mixture of the two. Just pure alternative rock. In my mind, that’s impressive. A lot of bands would have (or have) fallen victim to being categorized by the industry. No matter of success will shake The Killers from their vision.

Whatever the reason, The Killers, to me, are an incredibly talented and underappreciated band. The next time you’re looking for something to play in the background while you’re cleaning your room, check out The Killers, and not just “Mr. Brightside.”