Swimming through sick lullabies,
Choking on your alibis,
But its just the price I pay,
Destiny is calling me,
Open up my eager eyes,
Cause Im 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, and their seventh, Pressure Machine, in 2021.
Principal Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic:)
- Brandon Flowers - lead vocals
- Dave Keuning - lead guitar
- Ronnie Vannucci Jr. - lead drums
- Mark Stoermer - lead bass
Current Touring Members:
- Ted Sablay - guitar
- Jake Blanton - rhythm guitar and bass
- Amanda Brown - backing vocals
- Erica Canales - backing vocals
- Danielle Withers - backing vocals
- Robbie Connolly - backing vocals
- Matt Norcross - former drummer
- Brian Havens - former drummer
- Dell Neal - former bass
- Ray Suen, Tommy Marth, Rob Whited, Bobby Lee Parker, Brian Karscig, Taylor Milne - former touring members
- 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)
- Pressure Machine (2021)
Solo Discography:For reference, all the band members have an extensive solo career on their own merit; and although not part of The Killer's shared output, their solo albums give an insight into what the band members were doing between Killers work.
- Flamingo (2010, Brandon Flowers)
- Another Life (2011, Mark Stroemer)
- Big Talk (2011, Ronnie Vannucci Jr.)
- The Desired Effect (2015, Brandon Flowers)
- Straight In No Kissin (2015, Ronnie Vannucci Jr.)
- Dark Arts (2016, Mark Stroemer)
- Filthy Apes and Lions (2017, Mark Stroemer)
- Prismism (2019, Dave Keuning)
- A Mild Case of Everything (2021, Dave Keuning)
Their music include examples of:
- Afterlife Welcome: The narrator of "Lightning Fields" dreams of reuniting with his wife again after death and sees her dressed in white at the titular lightning fields, with her voice (performed by k.d. lang) comforting him to not hold any regrets on their mortal life together.
- 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, "Imploding the Mirage" on Imploding The Mirage, and "Pressure Machine" on Pressure Machine.
- 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.
- 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).
- Angelic Beauty: Some of the various pieces of Thomas Blackshear used as art on the singles in Imploding The Mirage and within the album folds. The "Caution" single art shows a blonde haired woman surrounded by butterflies and sun glistening in her hair, while the art for "Blowback" shows an angel standing over a sleeping child.
- 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 boyfriendWho looks like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year."
- As the Good Book Says...: Flowers, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, always snuck in religious imagery into his lyrics, but it becomes stronger in their latter albums as he became more active again in his church, notably with Imploding The Mirage's track 6 "Fire in Bone" being a re-telling of the parable of the prodigal son from the Bible. Flowers does somewhat avoid being too overt with his religious references, taking influence from how Bono handles his experiences with Catholicism in U2's music. Often religious imagery is invoked to purposefully contrast with the image of Las Vegas being "Sin City."
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Brandon Flowers.
- Ax-Crazy: Santa in "Don't Shoot Me, Santa" is determined to see Brandon dead.
- Badass Boast: The lyrics of "The Man" are a parody of Badass Boasts. According to Word 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.
- Break Up Song: Nearly for the band itself and narrowly avoided during the Wonderful Wonderful era. Dave Keuning facing burnout and clashes with the rest of the band took a hiatus from the group and followed solo projects. Mark Stoermer who was involved in a pyrotechnics accident on stage suffered hearing damage, and although he remained an active part of the band in the studio, he took a hiatus from touring. As such Wonderful Wonderful ends with a song titled "Have all the Songs Been Written?" both a reflection on writers block and the possibility of a band break-up, featuring one of the few Keuning performances on the album. For several years this left Brandon and Ronnie as the only original band members still regularly active in both studio and on tour, and this is reflected particularly with the amount of guests artists such as Adam Granduciel (The War on Drugs), Lindsey Buckingham (formerly of Fleetwood Mac) and Lucius who appear in Imploding The Mirage. In 2021 Dave returned to the band full time with Pressure Machine and Mark performed with the band for an online show, marking the first time all four members of the band were together again in public since Dave's hiatus. Dave is touring regularly with Brandon and Ronnie again, but Mark's public performances are still sporadic with touring member Jake Blanton taking his place in most live shows.
- And of course played a lot more traditionally with songs like Mr. Brightside itself.
- 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!"
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Taken literally with the band having a licensed hot sauce label that pops up every few years with flavors named after their songs, with the sauce sharing a title with "Blowback" being the hottest one available in the box set.
- Camp Straight: Brandon especially with his on-stage persona and glittery suits. Considering how much the band's performance is influenced by acts such as David Bowie the camp is very intentional.
- Brandon's sparkly gold suit was so heavy it caused shoulder problems requiring corrective surgery; and despite its absolutely fabulous sparkly-ness had to be retired from use on stage.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Brandon during the band's early years, coming from a household where none of his parents drank since he was a child; meant there were plenty of stories of Brandon struggling a bit to keep his drink down in many parties and events the band attended in the Hot Fuss era. His decision to return to church and a desire to protect his vocal cords lead to him eventually decide to stop drinking altogether, and he's been sober since.
- Careful with That Axe: Brandon's scream before the solo in their Joy Division cover, "Shadowplay".
- Career-Ending Injury: A large reason for Mark's absence in live shows was due to a pyrotechnics accident at Wembley in 2013 which damaged his hearing. Although Mark will still play a live show on special occasions, his hearing damage has made him primarily only work with the band in studio with Jake Blanton taking his place in most live performances. Its not quite bad enough hearing damage to consider Mark a Deaf Composer, but it has certainly changed his career outlook.
- 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.
- The Salt Creek and the Ute Stampede both in Nephi,Utah are first alluded in Sam's Town during "This River is Wild" and return again (properly named) in "Terrible Thing" in Pressure Machine.
- Cherubic Choir: The children who sing at the end of "Some Kind of Love" are Brandon and Tana's three sons.
- 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.
- Cluster F-Bomb, from the opening spoken word segment to "In The Car Outside" while interviewing a group of men seemingly working on a car in Flowers' hometown of Nephi, Utah; one of them suddenly goes on an expletive laden rant against one of the other men present berating him for screwing something up.
- Considering the album is not marked as explicit or anything, the language might surprise some listeners who weren't expecting it.
- Close-Knit Community: The people of Nephi, Utah coming together to support families who had to bury their deceased children during "Quiet Town."
- 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".
- Concept Album: Pressure Machine is a concept album about Flowers' childhood in Nephi, Utah, told from the perspective of the people there.
- More subtle, but both Wonderful Wonderful and Imploding The Mirage are partially autobiographical focused on Flower's and his wife Tana's relationship dealing with her PTSD in Wonderful Wonderful while Imploding the Mirage deals with triumph over that and a hope for their relationship to continue into the afterlife.
- Cool Car: The Ford Mustang on the cover of Battle Born in a night time desert face off with a mustang... horse.
- Cool Old Guy: Almost any Killers collaboration with an older "classic rock" legend, such as Lou Reed, Elton John, Neil Tennant, and Lindsey Buckingham. Especially in the reworking of "Dustland Fairytale" released in 2021 as simply "Dustland" featuring Bruce Springsteen, The Boss himself.
- Cool Train: The grandchildren of the spoken word narrator at the end of "The Getting By" seem to think this of the Union Pacific trains passing through their hometown... although the train has a much darker connotation in the rest of the album. The end of the animated music video for "Quiet Town" shows a steam train passing through which resembles the Union Pacific's restored Big Boy locomotive which actually visited Nephi, Utah in 2019 a few years before Pressure Machine was released.
- Crowd Song: The chorus of "All These Things That I've Done."
- Daughter of a Whore: speaking from the point of view of Brandon's wife Tana in "Rut" the lyrics state, "The money from my mother's men, I'm not like her, you're not like them" suggesting Tana's mother worked in the sex industry in Las Vegas while she was a child. "Caution" further elaborates on this with the narrator stating in allusion to Tana's and her mother, "Her momma was a dancer, and that's all that she knew. 'Cause when you live in the desert, it's what pretty girls do."
- Dem Bones: The music video for "Bones".
- Eagleland: Upset that many mistook the band for being British when Hot Fuss first came out, future albums began borrowing heavily from Springsteen-ish influences to root the band into Americana starting with Sam's Town. Taken to narmish levels in Battle Born and then perhaps perfected with a more somber mood in Pressure Machine.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Hot Fuss may be arguably the band's most popular album, but its heavy influence of British post-punk feels divorced from the style the group's following albums would craft as an Americana act in the vein of Springsteen. Sure songs like "All These Things That I've Done" could blend in with the songs from the later albums, but there is no way tracks such as "From Here On Out" or "The Getting By" could have ever worked on Hot Fuss.
- Epic Rocking: Most of The Killer's tracks are short three to four minute radio ready songs... but "Joy Ride" is an exception. While the original album cut is a brisk 3:34 track, the extended "Joy Ride: Night Version" clocks in at 7:17 and was allegedly trimmed down from an epic more than 20 minutes long recording of the song which has yet to be publicly released.
- Also from Day and Age the final track "Goodnight, Travel Well" clocks in at 6:51. Interestingly enough, the song has never been played live by the band.
- Ethereal Choir: The final alternate take of "West Hills" included in the deluxe album "West Hills III", performs the lyrics of the song with a stripped back church choir with simple instrumentals and set to the tune of a popular LDS Hymn. Some of the lyrics of the song are modified to strengthen the religious connotations.
- Excrement Statement: the humorous line of "Sometimes your the Shih Tzu, sometimes your the tree" in "C'est La Vie", references the idea that dogs love trees nearly as much as they love fire hydrants...
- Fading into the Next Song:
- From Hot Fuss, there's a split-second where the end of "Mr. Brightside" overlaps with the start of "Smile Like You Mean It".
- From Sam's Town, "This River Is Wild" -> "Why Do I Keep Counting?" -> "Exitlude". Sweet heavens.
- Fish out of Water: The lyrics to "All The Pretty Faces" call out relationship issues as a rock star traveling on the road and encountering pretty women regularly, and the stress it creates in maintaining a stable marriage back home; while the narrator is also overwhelmed by the new locations and sites.
- Gayngst-Induced Suicide: The narrator of "Terrible Thing" feels isolated as a gay child in rural Utah in the 1990's, and contemplates suicide while the local Ute Stampede Rodeo is ongoing in town. Flowers said he wrote it based on the experiences he had when he encountered old high school friends later in life who had come out of the closet and discussed their struggles growing up.
- Gentle Giant: Bassist Mark Stoermer could be labeled as one.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: The Union Pacific trains passing through Nephi in Pressure Machine, in "Quiet Town" killing two high schoolers who are struck by a train and "In The Car Outside" representing the failing loveless marriage of the narrator who watches the trains roll by while questioning his life choices.
- 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".
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Brandon and Ronnie. Both currently live near each other in Park City, Utah; and it was clear that while Dave and Mark were often absent during the making of Imploding The Mirage that Brandon and Ronnie were just chugging away at the album because they enjoy the work and working together; and seemingly bizarre band projects such as the official Killer's hot sauce came from shared hobbies between Brandon and Ronnie.
- Ironic since other than Brandon and Ronnie; the rest of the band has mentioned none of the rest of them have that strong friendships with each other. It has always been a music first attitude, and it was part of the strain as to why Dave chose to take a hiatus from the band briefly. Brandon and Dave jokingly pointed out that when Dave returned to the band they talked to a group therapist to try and strengthen their working relationships.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Dave was on a hiatus after Wonderful Wonderful and up until his return in Pressure Machine but despite that he is still listed in the album notes for Imploding The Mirage as a member of the band despite being in zero songs, writing none of them, and his whole interaction with the rest of the group during the making of the album being apparently via the occasional text message to respond to some samples they'd send him. Dave is absent from the album art inside Wonderful Wonderful as well, but does appear in some of the music videos. Of course it did allow his return for the next album to be properly hyped.
- Mark who was unable to make it for the Pressure Machine sessions due to COVID restrictions likewise has his name in the album notes as well despite not performing music on that album. It seems at least The Killer's are devoted to keeping their core group's names recognized even when members sit out an album or two.
- Hopeless with Tech: The band's fandom knows very well that the band just has no clue how to do social media. Take the release of the single "Boy" a song which the band had teased for a while as having been written before Pressure Machine and having inspired many of the themes of that album, but unfortunately was unable to appear in the album do its quickly evolving tonal differences. So "Boy" itself finally made its long hyped public debut live at a show in Madrid in 2022, and the band uploaded it to Instagram and the results are... a potato quality video and rough recording of the song shot on a cellphone.
- How Dad Met Mom: Brandon's parents as told in "Dustland Fairytale" and then Brandon and Tana in "Imploding the Mirage."
- 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.
- Interquel: Its possible the events of "Terrible Thing" in Pressure Machine occur during the carnival at the end of "This River is Wild" from Sam's Town as both seem to be allusions to the Ute Stampede a rodeo/fair event in Nephi, Utah.
- It's All About Me: Besides being nonstop Badass Boast, the lyrics of "The Man" also include this part:Them other boysI 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.
- Judgement of the Dead: The narrator of "West Hills" after being arrested for opioid possession and sentenced for a 15 year prison sentence contemplates suicide, saying he'd rather take his chances with God's final judgement than the one the courts gave him.
- "And if there really is a judgement when He pulls my chart, He'll reject my actions, but He will know my heart; and He'll prepare a place for me, where happiness instills. And the light puts its loving hands on my head, free in the West Hills"
- "The Calling" also mentions a good book being open in front of a judge, however its possibly a play on words referencing betting on horse racing as well with the fates of heaven and hell being an allusion to the outcomes of the race.
- Large Ham: Brandon Flowers. "HE DOESN'T LOOK A THING LIKE JEEEESUS!!!"
- Just about everything on Battle Born is this dialed up to 11, with the album being very bombastic and blunt with its lyrics leaving no room for subtlety. Flowers later admitted he struggles to perform many songs off Battle Born in later years for that reason, excluding perhaps the few more earnest tracks like "Be Still" and "Runaways."
- There is no other way to explain the existence of "C'est Le Vie" a bonus track for the deluxe release of Imploding The Mirage; than as an exercise of goofing around and being as big of a ham as possible, including lines about Shih Tzu's peeing on trees.
- 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").
- "The Getting By" has five alternate versions. The first version on the main album release is a reflective song about a crisis of faith. The second version released on the deluxe album takes the lyrics and amps them up to an arena rock ballad; and is the arrangement used in live shows. The rest of the versions experiment in different moods including a country ballad style.
- 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.
- The lyrics themselves once completely divorced from the music video? A reflection on returning from war and dealing with PTSD based on DJ and US Army veteran Matt Pinfield of course!
- Madness Mantra: From the afflicted lover in "Under The Gun": "Kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now..."
- 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.
- "Desperate Things" from Pressure Machine tells a story of a jealous cop who caught up in an affair arrests the abusive husband of his partner and murders him in a dark desert canyon.
- Myth Arc: Brandon's parents are reoccurring figures in the band's songs; his parent's young romance as the inspiration for "A Dustland Fairytale", his father's religious conversion and decision to quit drinking the narrative of "Bling (Confessions of a King)", mentions of how they lovingly raised their children in "Quiet Town", and his mother's eventual diagnosis and death due to cancer in "Goodnight, Travel Well." The song "Lightning Fields" describes Brandon's father dreaming of seeing his wife again in the afterlife.
- Likewise Brandon's wife Tana and her upbringing begins to come into the music albeit with a focus on her dysfunctional home life and her desire to escape it in songs such as "Rut", "Caution" and "Blowback." Confronting the traumatic experiences of Tana's youth eventually inspired Brandon to take an introspective look at his own upbringing, leading to the stories in Pressure Machine.
- 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".
- Opposites Attract: Brandon and Tana in the autobiographical title track "Imploding The Mirage". Brandon describes himself as an innocent "Rockwellian boy" while Tana is depicted as more world weary being "tattooed and ready to deploy" and burdened from the abuse in her past.
- Prequel: The new song "Miss Atomic Bomb" is a prequel to "Mr. Brightside".
- Production Foreshadowing: Shawn Everett one of the producers on Imploding the Mirage and Pressure Machine was also working with The War On Drugs and their album I Don't Live Here Anymore simultaneously to his work with The Killers. As such The War on Drug's front-man Adam Granduciel pops in to play keys on The Killer's "Blowback" and the duo Lucius appears on all three albums, backing "Caution" and being featured in "The Getting By II" for The Killers, and being featured on the title track of I Don't Live Here Anymore for Granduciel's band.
- "Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf" is one to "Midnight Show" and "Jenny Was A Friend of Mine".
- The Promised Land: In "The Getting By" the lyrics mention that "my people were told they'd prosper in this land" a reference to the historical Mormon Pioneers who settled Utah and were the ancestors of many who live there now. The song mentions many in Nephi, Utah though who have lived their whole life in the town and never left to see the rest of the world, and questions if somehow the Promised Land has become a Crappy Promised Land.
- Protest Song: "Land of the Free" released in 2019 was the band's attempt at trying to tackle the political divide in America during the Trump era, with a music video shot by Spike Lee. The lyrics attempt to tackle immigration, gun violence, racism, and a myriad of topics which come across as Narm Charm due to the song's attempt to almost take on too many topics at once; with a gospel choir and bombastic rock instrumental accompanying it.
- Released only a year later the "Land of the Free (2020 edition)" is considered an improvement over the original, instead focusing on the reaction to the death of George Floyd. The song's reworked lyrics are more focused, and the COVID restrictions meant only a few people were able to record the song removing much of the overdone bombast and giving a more intimate performance. Its likely the stripped down sound of The Killers in their 2020 rework of the song heavily influenced their work on the stripped down and reflective Pressure Machine album which came out the following year.
- Put on a Bus: The Killers are noteworthy for having a stable permanent lineup that hasn't changed since the band first made it big in 2004. That said, two of those members have had noteworthy absences from entire album cycles: Dave Keuning was absent for segments of Wonderful Wonderful and all of Imploding The Mirage, while Mark Stoermer was absent from Pressure Machine.
- Rage Quit: During the music video for "Mr. Brightside", Brandon Flowers is playing checkers with Eric Roberts, who is winning. Eventually Flowers just flips the table.
- 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.
- Sampling: In "Dying Breed" in particular which opens with a beat borrowed from German krautrock bands such as Neu! and Can.
- More subtly in "Mr. Brightside" which borrows some of its lyrical delivery style from David Bowie's "Queen Bitch" and its guitar rift from Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
- 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 MessiahWherever he may roamFirst I'm gonna make itThen I'm gonna break itTill it falls apartHating all the fakingShaking while I'm breakingYour 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.
- One of Mark's preferred bass guitars is the "Fender Geddy Lee signature bass" of Rush fame.
- 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.
- Singer Namedrop: Not for The Killers themselves, but "Out Of My Mind" mentions Elvis, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen in quick succession as though the narrator is trying to use these rock legends and their music to comfort his wife; who it seems is not that impressed by this and rolls her eyes at the attempt.
- Sixth Ranger: Ted Sablay during Dave Keuning's hiatus. Although Ted didn't appear on any of The Killer's albums (he does release his own solo work though), he stepped up from being a backing guitarist to the band's lead guitarist in concert; even learning the guitar solo to "Caution" originally performed by Lindsey Buckingham. Once Dave returned, Ted briefly continued to play the guitar parts for songs from Imploding The Mirage those first few months until Dave had a chance to learn them, and once the Imploding the Mirage Tour kicked off in 2022, Ted graciously stepped back into a backing role as Dave took over the lead guitar parts for those songs.
- Similarly for producer Jonathan Rado who played many guitar parts on Imploding the Mirage in Dave's absence in studio and continued playing bass parts in Mark's subsequent absence for Pressure Machine.
- Small Town Boredom: The first time Flower's hometown is mentioned in the band's music is "This River Is Wild" which depicts the place as a sleepy and religious town where "that bitch tried to make him pray," and the narrator at the end is entranced by the carnival at the Ute Stampede and its lights, almost beckoning like the glamour of Las Vegas itself, which Flowers would return to after leaving Utah as a child. Subverted in Pressure Machine where an Older and Wiser Flowers admits in "Quiet Town" he admires his parent's raising him in a small town and the love he experienced there from them.
- Solo Duet: In the title track for Pressure Machine. Although the idea was discussed of bringing in another female guest vocalist (such as Phoebe Bridger's on "Runaway Horses" or Lucius's backing vocals on "The Getting By II" from the same album) ultimately it was decided that "Pressure Machine" would work better with Brandon himself singing the higher duet parts with a falsetto voice. Considering where Brandon's vocals were at the start of the band (ala "Get Trashed") its an impressive testament to his improved skill over the course of the band's career.
- Solo Side Project: Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vanucci both released solo albums in the last few years, and eventually Keuning and Stoermer followed with their own albums. Keuning's solo albums were both released during his hiatus from the band.
- Spoken Word in Music: Ever wanted to hear Woody Harrelson reading from The Bible before a bass drop happens and the song kicks in? It happens in the opening of "The Calling."
- Pressure Machine has nearly every song open with a spoken word interview with the people of Nephi, Utah; while the residents discuss stories of faith, love, drug abuse, and small town drama. A film titled Notes from a Quiet Town which was shot on film was later released in 2022 expanding the narrative of the spoken word segments with more features showing the town's inhabitants and their daily lives interspersed between live performances of songs from the album.
- Stalker with a Crush: The narrator of "Andy You're a Star".
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: Much of Pressure Machine captures the feeling of returning as an adult to your childhood hometown and then discovering the tragedies and struggles which you were oblivious were happening as a child. In Pressure Machine in particular, its pretty obvious Flowers is saddened by the explosive opioid crisis affecting rural America.
- 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 bedAnd my stomach is sickAnd it's all in my headBut she's touching his chest nowShe takes off her dress nowLet me go...
- Surreal Music Video: "Spaceman" and "Read My Mind" in particular.
- Sky Face: The cover for Imploding The Mirage using Thomas Blackshear art. Brandon said he selected the piece for its thematic connection to the album's themes of marriage, love and eventually death and the hope for an afterlife together.
- Sympathetic Murderer: The cop in "Desperate Things" kills the abusive husband of a woman the cop is having an affair with. Its implied the cop has previous encounters with abusive men and he states "I have no patience for guys that hit, for more than just the obvious reasons."
- Tim Burton: Directed the Music Video of "Bones" and "Here With Me".
- The City vs. the Country: The dual comparison between Flower's two hometowns, Las Vegas and Nephi. One, a massive city in the middle of the desert with neon lights, gambling, sex, and vice flaunted openly. The other a rural town where religion influences everything, everybody knows each other, nobody locks their doors, and gossip spreads easily.
- Flower's decision to move out of Las Vegas and back to Utah later in life due to his wife Tana's traumatic experiences with her upbringing in Las Vegas can be seen as an attempt to escape Vice City for Arcadia, and is reflected in the tonal shift between Wonderful Wonderful and Imploding The Mirage the albums that came out right before and after that move.
- 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.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: While the story of a cop having an affair with a woman who was with an abusive husband in "Desperate Things" is grounded in real life events that occurred in Nephi, Utah while Brandon lived there... the cop then murdering the abusive husband is fiction.
- 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.
- The music video for "Shot at the Night" is the trope played straight.
- 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.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Brandon's confession of a fear of flying in "Why Do I Keep Counting?" where his phobia becomes a problem once the band's career takes off and flying is well required for touring, especially for reaching international shows.
- 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