Heartland rock band The Killers released their fifth studio album Wonderful Wonderful on Sept. 22 — their first album in five years.
After The Killers celebrated their decade together as a band through a greatest hits compilation album, Direct Hits, they announced a hiatus. Many fans feared that this would be the end of The Killers — the implications of both a greatest hits album and a hiatus did not bode well.
For years, I remember my father — a huge Killers fan as well — antagonizing me that they were obviously breaking up. Now, with the release of album Wonderful Wonderful, I have just one thing to say to him: Told you so!
The Killers will always hold a special place in my heart as one of the first bands I truly loved. Even as I aged and my taste in music broadened, I am proud to say I can still recite every lyric to every one of their songs.
The bands’ latest album touches on themes of hardship, prayer, love and, of course, Las Vegas — no album by The Killers is complete without at least a dozen Las Vegas references.
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Parts of the album feel similar to many of their past works, through its high energy vocals by the immortally charming Brandon Flowers, poetic lyrics, allusions and an endearing, “All-American” charm.
Wonderful Wonderful, however, feels somehow more confident than past works — they knew their fans would eagerly eat up whatever they put out. The level of introspection is also much deeper as vocalist Flowers gains wisdom from his family life and surroundings.
The LP begins with title track “Wonderful Wonderful,” an anthem for grief, prayer and hope. The chorus references the album’s artwork of a shell, through repetition of the lyrics “Keep your ear to the shell.”
The album continues with previously released single “The Man,” which acts as a sardonic parody of the boastful persona and attitude lead singer Flowers exemplified in the band’s early years, after the release of album Hot Fuss. With heavy guitar riffs and beats reminiscent of album Battle Born, the song feels silly and cheeky — but in an overwhelmingly catchy way.
The album takes a quick turn with track “Rut,” as Flowers sings about his wife Tana’s long term battle with PTSD and suicidal thoughts. In the song, Flowers sings from her perspective, as she finally addresses her mental illness and accepts that her demons are a part of her, but will never take her. With lyrics like, “So I’m handing you a memory / I hope you understand / That steadily reminds you / Of who I really am,” the song is easily one of the most emotional and personal tracks on the album.
“Some Kind of Love” carries the same softness and love that “Rut” does, as Flowers sings endearingly to the love of his life. While “Rut” channeled Tana’s perspective, Flowers tries to comfort and console her in “Some Kind of Love.”
The song shows a small glimpse into how it feels to love someone with PTSD, as he sings lyrics like “You got the faith of a child / Before the world gets in,” “Can’t do this alone / We need you at home” and “There’s so much to see / We know that you’re strong.” “Some Kind of Love” shows a real love story —loving someone not only when it’s easy, but when times are difficult as well.
The album as a whole feels more refined and overproduced than their earlier works, which is a deterrent to some diehard fans. However, I see it as a step towards maturity. Of course they’re not going to play with the same carefree, rock ruggedness as they did fifteen years ago: They’re adults now, with families and matured perspectives.
The album as a whole feels grown up, yet nostalgic: A perfect balance between old and new sounds.