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Music / The Killers

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Jealousy, turning saints into the sea,
Swimming through sick lullabies,
Choking on your alibis,
But it’s just the price I pay,
Destiny is calling me,
Open up my eager eyes,
Cause I’m Mr. Brightside.
"Mr. Brightside"

The Killers are a rock band from Las Vegas, made up of Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, keyboard), Dave Keuning (guitar, backing vocals), Mark Stoermer (bass, backing vocals), and Ronnie Vannucci (drums/percussion, backing vocals).

For an indie-rock outfit, they've been quite successful, selling 15 million albums worldwide (and with Sam's Town and Sawdust hitting UK number one).

Their sound has been (very accurately) described as "more Eighties than The '80s." All their albums save Sam's Town have been essentially synth-driven indie-rock, with the influence of New Wave, particularly Duran Duran, painfully obvious. Sam's Town was different, but also very much Eighties, being Heartland Rock/Americana In the Style of... The Boss, with some more synth.

The band took a break after years of touring, during which time both frontman Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vannuci, unwilling to slow down, released their own solo albums entitled Flamingo and Big Talk respectively. Most of the reviews agree that Flamingo was So Okay, It's Average, while Big Talk was better received.


The band released Battle Born in September 2012, nearly four years after their last album as a group.

After another four year sabbatical following Direct Hits, the band released their fifth studio album, Wonderful Wonderful, in 2017. This was followed by their sixth studio album, Imploding the Mirage, in 2020.


  • Hot Fuss (2004)
  • Sam's Town (2006)
  • Sawdust (2007, a compilation of B-sides)
  • Day & Age (2008)
  • Battle Born (2012)
  • Direct Hits (2013; contains two new songs)
  • Don't Waste Your Wishes (2016, a compilation of yearly Christmas themed singles released between 2006-2016)
  • Wonderful Wonderful (2017)
  • Imploding the Mirage (2020)


Their music include examples of:

  • Album Title Drop: Inverted with Day & Age. The songs were written before the album was named, and the name was chosen in part because the band realized they'd used that phrase in two songs ("Neon Tiger" and "The World We Live In").
    • Also present in "Flesh and Bone" and "Battle Born", on Battle Born, as well as "Wonderful Wonderful" from Wonderful Wonderful.
  • Alien Abduction: "Spaceman". Amusingly, in an article about The Killers, Q Magazine had an interview with an expert on alleged real-world alien abductions, who was quite pissed that the song bore so little resemblance to the common alien-abduction claim.
    • An alternative interpretation is that it is actually talking about an attempted suicide, with the alien abduction being simply due to ambiguity on the part of the one telling the story (who is implied to be somewhat delusional).
      • One of the more widely accepted interpretations is that the whole song is about their meteoric rise to fame and the distance that puts between them and their loved ones.
      • Or about the conflict between religion and science...
      • ...or about an accidental overdose.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: The most common interpretation of "Somebody Told Me" seems to be that the girl is dating a transgender man who dated the singer pre-transition.
    "Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend
    Who looks like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year."
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Brandon Flowers.
  • Badass Mustache: Drummer Ronnie Vannucci usually has one of these, as seen in the page picture.
    • Flowers on occasions. Opinions differ on whether it makes him badass.
    • Dianna Agron.
  • Badass Boast: The lyrics of "The Man" are a parody of Badass Boasts. According to invokedWord of God, the song pokes fun at Flowers' past hubris when he was younger.
  • Bad Santa: The videos "Don't Shoot Me, Santa" and "I Feel It In My Bones".
  • Bait-and-Switch: The music video for "The Man" off of Wonderful Wonderful pulls one of these by depicting the protagonists doing stereotypically masculine things only to show the repercussions of those things in the modern age: the high-rolling gambler gets thrown out on his ass when his luck turns, the daredevil motorcyclist is only reliving past glories because of a bad accident, the bar-crawler gets into a fight with a bigger man that he started by getting shitfaced, and the Vegas lounge singer is performing for a disinterested and sparse crowd due to a severe loss in interest for that sort of hokey performance.
  • Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Michael Valentine".
  • Bookends: Sam's Town begins with "Enterlude" and ends with "Exitlude." The latter is a reprise of the former with an added verse at the start.
  • Broken Record: "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier, I got soul, but I'm not a soldier..."
    • "It started out with a kiss/How did it end up like this?/It was only a kiss/It was only a kiss!"
  • Careful with That Axe: Brandon's scream before the solo in their Joy Division cover, "Shadowplay".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Drunk Dave.
  • Call-Back/Call-Forward: Played with in the songs "A Matter of Time" and "Miss Atomic Bomb" of Battle Born. The two share several phrases ("laughing with your girlfriends", "falling back on forever", etc.) and are part of the same story. "A Matter of Time" comes first on the album, making the lines in "Miss Atomic Bomb" a Call-Back. However, "Miss Atomic Bomb" is a single from the album and the one most fans heard first, so when later listening to the album in order, "A Matter of Time" serves as a Call-Forward.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: In a rare musical example, the extremely confusing line from "Who Let You Go?": "But hopefully this story ends/When you ain't got nothing I never had."
  • Creepy Child: The children singing "kick the can, kick the can, skipping, blackjack" in "Tranquilize".
  • Christmas Songs: One of the band's traditions is that, every year since 2006, they write and record a Christmas song for Product Red. This being The Killers, many of these songs are Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Crowd Song: The chorus of "All These Things That I've Done."
  • Dem Bones: The music video for "Bones".
  • Fading into the Next Song: From Sam's Town, "This River Is Wild" -> "Why Do I Keep Counting?" -> "Exitlude". Sweet heavens.
  • Gentle Giant: Bassist Mark Stoermer could be labeled as one.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Guitarist Dave Keuning is a male example, if that popular video is anything to go by.
  • Heavy Meta: "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll".
  • Incompatible Orientation: The reason behind the narrator's unrequited love for the Jerk Jock in "Andy You're a Star", although an Alternate Character Interpretation is that Andy is equally in love but, High School being what it is, he's dating The Beard. Considering that "Andy" is sometimes a nickname for "Andrea" (or similar), the incompatibility could even be going the other way.
    • If you take the interpretation of "Just Another Girl" being Dianna Agron trying to get just another girl and her friends telling her "it just wasn't meant to be". The video itself is filled with Les Yay as the Glee star cross-dresses highly attractively.
  • It's All About Me: Besides being nonstop Badass Boast, the lyrics of "The Man" also include this part:
    Them other boys
    I don't give a damn.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: One reading of "Mr. Brightside" could be a case of this, as the lyrics imply that the singer is being cheated on by their significant other but is either too disinterested to care or has such low self-esteem that they let them go so they can be happy, even at the singer's expense. Given that it was written after the lead singer had gone through a bad breakup due to being cheated on, this is probably the intended reading.
  • Large Ham: Brandon Flowers. "HE DOESN'T LOOK A THING LIKE JEEEESUS!!!"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Quite a few of their songs feature upbeat, engaging melody lines combined with lyrics that range from downbeat and somewhat depressing (e.g "Runaways") to Nightmare Fuel (e.g the "Murder Trilogy").
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: "All These Things That I've Done" appears to be about the band trying to run out on their girlfriends...while wearing cowboy outfits...and then the women pursue them with boomerangs. And something about a trailer park. The UK version, on the other hand, is pure Sweet Dreams Fuel.
    • It's actually about the band (in cowboy outfits) stealing a marquee sign from what appears to be a Russ Meyer-esque burlesque troupe (or something like that), only to find out that said burlesque girls can and do thoroughly kick their asses. The video is put together very out-of-order, though, and since that's not clear at first glance, you can be forgiven for having absolutely no idea what the hell is going on.
  • Madness Mantra: From the afflicted lover in "Under The Gun": "Kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now..."
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly a 3-4, though they are capable of everything from 1 to 6.
  • Murder Ballad: The "Murder Trilogy": "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf", "Midnight Show", and "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" (released in the reverse order, but clearly telling the story of an angry break-up, a murder, and being questioned by the police). It's supposed to be about the real-life murder of Jennifer Levin by Robert Chambers in 1986.
  • Ode to Youth: "Miss Atomic Bomb", "When You Were Young", "Shot at the Night", "A Dustland Fairytale".
  • One-Man Song: "Andy, You're A Star".
  • One-Woman Song: "Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine".
  • Prequel: The new song "Miss Atomic Bomb" is a prequel to "Mr. Brightside".
  • Rage Quit: During the music video for "Mr. Brightside", one of the band members is playing checkers with Eric Roberts, who is winning. Eventually the band member just flips the table.
  • Recycled INSPACE: The band have stated that Day & Age is "like watching Sam's Town from outer space".
  • Refrain from Assuming: "All These Things That I've Done" is frequently known as "I Got Soul", and has even been covered using this title.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Losing Touch" seems to be this, although, for the most part, it's a fairly calm song compared to other examples of the trope.
  • Shout-Out: At their performance of "Human" at the EMA Awards, Brandon added in some lyrics from "Bring on the Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen.
    Bring on the new Messiah
    Wherever he may roam
    First I'm gonna make it
    Then I'm gonna break it
    Till it falls apart
    Hating all the faking
    Shaking while I'm breaking
    Your brittle heart
    • The name of the band itself is a Shout-Out to New Order. The video to New Order's 2001 single "Crystal" had the song mimed by a group of actors instead of the actual band; going by the logo painted on the drum set, this Fake Band was called The Killers.
    • The title of Battle Born is a shout-out to their home state of Nevada, which is nicknamed "the Battle Born state" because it was admitted to the Union in 1864 during The American Civil War.
    • All the elements of the "Just Another Girl" video are from one of the other music videos except the big number 4 behind Dianna right as she starts walking over to "Human", as far as I can recall. The most logical explanation, then, is that it refers to the actress' role in I Am Number Four. The whole recreating-music-videos thing also links back to Glee. Just in case you thought she was Miley Cyrus for a minute there.
    • The lines "Jason's getting married in the blink of an eye/Got an invitation but I didn't reply/Tell your little brother that we put down the glove" could be a reference to Agron's little brother Jason. Maybe.
  • The Silent Bob: Mark Stoermer is known as one of these—he's the quietest of the band, usually speaking just a few words in their interviews.
  • Solo Side Project: Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vanucci both released solo albums in the last few years, but the band are still together and doing well.
  • Something Completely Different: "Get Trashed", the B-side of "Somebody Told Me" is... a psychedelic lo-fi post-grunge thing? The band hasn't discussed it since, and fans can't decide whether it's a Stealth Parody of something or a sincere attempt at experimentation.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The narrator of "Andy You're a Star".
  • Studio Chatter: An indecipherable bit of this at the beginning of "Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf", maybe Brandon talking to Dave.
    • You can catch some more at the end of "Sam's Town" (the song, not the album itself), which is similarly hard-to-understand.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Mr. Brightside", although the rhythm and the fact that it (slant) rhymes with the following line obscure it a bit.
    Now they're going to bed
    And my stomach is sick
    And it's all in my head
    But she's touching his chest now
    She takes off her dress now
    Let me go...
  • Surreal Music Video: "Spaceman" and "Read My Mind" in particular.
  • Tim Burton: Directed the Music Video of "Bones" and "Here With Me".
  • Unreliable Narrator: While interrogated by the police, the narrator of "Jenny Was a Friend Of Mine" deliberately downplays his relationship with the titular girl and claims he's innocent of her murder.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: Although the band themselves are not this trope, the music video for "The Man" is this, featuring various masculine Vegas stereotypes in Vegas itself and how they don't work out in the present day.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Without reading pretty deep into it, the chorus to "Mr. Brightside" can read like nonsense. Some fans have gone so far as to call the song the "Stairway To Heaven" of the 21st century for its incomprehensibility.
  • Ye Olde Butchered English: Pops up in "Wonderful Wonderful" when the singer addresses the "motherless child".
    Motherless child does thou believe
    That thine afflictions have caused us to grieve?
    Motherless child angels have closed
    Their eyes, thou wast thrown away and exposed


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