Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2004 : 19-20 Aught Music Roundtable: "Hot Fuss" by The Killers

Roundtable Part One: "Smile Like You Mean It"

The Killers are a strange band to me. I know there are plenty of bands that have good first albums, and never get that good again. To me the Killers are one of those bands. Hot Fuss is an amazing album and every album after that has just disappointed me. It is not that the other albums are bad, it is just that they are not earthshaking. They do not grab me and force me to pay attention. Whenever I hear a song from Hot Fuss in the background, like on a TV show or in a store, I shift my focus from whatever I was doing to the song. If it is only a clip of the song, it gets stuck in my head like an earworm.

"Smile Like You Mean It" really feels like 2004 to me. It is serous, straight ahead, a little sad, and it still has that little wink back at the audience. In the end it knows it is just a song. I love the ways that the Killers pull in sounds from the Cure and the Smiths. They are reminiscent of the past without being nostalgic.

The odd thing to me about the Killers is that I know lots of people that act like their albums kept getting better and better. They act like Hot Fuss was just the kick off of something great. I know that I am not alone in my disappointment, but it seems that way sometimes. I wonder if they will make something as good as Hot Fuss again.

Rich Thomas

Roundtable Part Two: "Mr. Brightside"

Though I've had this album since not long after it came out, I didn't really listen to this song on regular rotation until after I spent eight days in Vienna in April of 2008. The Austrian version of MTV was very into this song at that time and, in searching for something that wasn't in German, I ended up watching this video may times during my stay there. Now I can't hear it without thinking of Vienna; it is a lovely association.

Like many of my favorite songs, this is an upbeat song about being jerked around, and it's guaranteed to make me want to turn the radio up really loud and drive way too fast when it comes on in the car. I also find "Mr Brightside" to be wonderfully therapeutic when I'm in a terrible or angry mood. There's nothing like singing along at the top of your voice with someone else's anger and jealousy to ease your own frustrations.

And then, beyond the song itself, I love the story the video tells with its ridiculous costumes and strange dance numbers. It's like some sort of dystopian period piece.

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsHz_rdWSvc

April Walker

Listen: The Killers >> "Smile Like You Mean It" | "Mr. Brightside"

1 comment:

Jamie Yates said...


The Killers are a definite enigma of sorts. I too bought this album in 2004 and played the hell out of it.

However, with their subsequent albums, I didn't have any desire to keep going. I had absolutely nothing to base this on, but I had an almost subliminal knowing that their future albums would be sub par. Most people actually LISTENED to their follow-ups and found them lacking. I just didn't feel like making the effort, and it looks like my superficial assumption was correct.


There's so much that can be said about certain songs, but really, isn't associating a given track with a specific time/place the best? Also, singing along is great. I remember "Mr. Brightside" playing at a New Year's Eve party a few years back...everyone was singing along at the tops of their lungs, and wow, was it energetic.