Monday, 23 January 2012

The Killers - Hot Fuss (Album)

You know how everyone has those albums that just seem to bring them right back to childhood? For me, The Killers debut album is one of those albums. I had just turned 10 years old two months prior to the release of this album, which was released on June 7th 2004 here in the UK, and June 15th in the USA. At the time, it seemed everyone was in love with Mr Brightside. I was more into Somebody Told Me if I'm honest, and truth be told what I really adored was The Killers lead singer, Brandon Flowers. But enough of the sentimental nostalgia value, is it actually any good? Well in my opinion, its a blinder.

Given how much their sound has developed in subsequent albums (especially Brandons lyrics) it could be said that you'd easily forget the fact that The Killers were very 80s sounding when they first started out. Yes, they do still have 80s influences in their sound since that, but for me this is the where the influences are most felt. Highly influenced by 80s bands such as The Cure, New Order Duran Duran, The Smiths... you get the idea, the album itself was actually pretty integral to my own musical development. I guess this was the album that showed me that 80s music was actually pretty damn good, as up until this point I was under the illusion 80s music was cheap and tacky frothy nonsense. This album made me love the 80s, as you can definitely hear the influences on it. Just look at the synth intro to On Top for instance. On that note, I think Brandon's voice here sounds a bit like Morrissey in his earlier days, but again that changes in their later albums.

One of the things that I've read about this album countless times over the years though, is the first half vs second half. Many feel the second half of the record looses steam in comparison to the first. I'm going to be dead awkward here and say I disagree. I mean, Mr Brightside, Somebody Told Me have become somewhat indie classics of the last decade. I mean, over here at least the four singles (All These Things That I've Done, Smile Like You Mean It, Mr Brightside, Somebody Told Me) were played loads, and they were also very popular. I feel it would be hard for the second half of the album to live up to that. I think in a way I actually prefer the second half however, On Top and Midnight Show are brilliant songs, and Believe Me Natalie whilst being rather bizarre is also a great song. The album closer Everything Will Be Alright is generally seen as the worst track but I really like it, its refreshing after the very anthemic tracks that preceed it.

In terms of lyrics, the album did get quite a bit of ridicule, particularly Somebody Told Me and Glamourous Indie Rock and Roll. Whilst there is no lyrical masterpieces here, Brandon does develop leaps and bounds in subsequent albums. Also, despite the album appearing to be, on the surface at least, very glamorous indie pop with some synths here and there for good measure, the album has a murder theme on two of the songs. Midnight Show, and Jenny Was A Friend of Mine are actually parts two and three respectively of a murder trilogy, with the first part, Leave The Bourbon on The Shelf found on B-sides album Sawdust.

The album may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I personally love it, and not just for nostalgic reasons! Its anthemic, synthy in places, and just generally good fun to listen too. Whilst it may not be the most experimental thing they've ever done, its still an exceptionally strong debut!

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