The Killers – Hot Fuss

This album was on the brink of being overplayed even before the CD was released, but let’s give it a go shall we? Imagine a band that comes out and puts the words dance/rock into every little hipster’s mouth. Now imagine the millions of carbon copy clones that arise after this band gains popularity (think everyone from Hoobastank to Incubus). Now imagine a group that manages to take the best parts of the popular bands and mixes them with their own infectious sound; you have this month’s latest musical obsession, The Killers. The lads from Las Vegas have released an album which brings dance to the hipsters, joy to the indie snobs, and possibly a summer hit for the masses.

The singles, “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside,” are guaranteed to bring fans in from whatever indie rock sub genre. “Somebody Told Me” may have the most confusing lyrics I’ve yet to hear but the sheer addicting quality of the music and melody hooked me at the first listen. Let me paint a little picture of me listening to this song:

The Killers: “It’s not confidential / I’ve got potential / for rushing, a-rushing around”

Me: “Huh? … What the? … Meh! … Let’s dance!”

This song caused me to forgo all of my insane love of lyrics and made me dance around like some spastic hippie. “Mr. Brightside” opens with an instantly infectious guitar riff which leads us towards the equally addicting vocal melody. The lyrics have a less than sunny outlook as they describe a jealous lover’s thoughts on what their partner might be doing. “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” is just a sample of the lyrics that detail how despite these thoughts and their probable truth the narrator will still show a happy, “bright” demeanor while on the inside “it’s killing me.”

One song that didn’t really click with me until recently is the song “On Top.” I didn’t really give it a chance but when I actually did, it became one of my preferred songs of the album. It begins with a little synthesizer because, well, what would a dance/rock record be without some synthesizer? The vocals then proceed to maintain a certain fun tension as the collective guitar, bass, and drum work paints this nightlife scene. The chorus jumps in with lush riffs and once again the lyrics come into the limelight. “It’s just a shimmy and a shake / uh huh / I can’t fake / We’re on top” brought another one of those “What..?” moments to me but I found myself embracing them and soon enough I found that they had become some of my favorite lyrics of the entire release.

“Believe Me Natalie” made me question everything I’ve come to know about myself. This song evoked sadness from my danced filled body and I can’t truly explain why. The lyrics play a big part with lines like, “Remember the art of roses lined up on your couch / Forget what they said in SoHo” and “God help me somehow / There’s no time for survival,” but I think the defining element of the track is the smooth, mournful music. Even in the beginning it seemed to be different in comparison to the rest of the material. It held a darker, less upbeat tone while all the others boast some sort of optimistic quality.

If it were up to me, the eleven songs of Hot Fuss would qualify as little three to five minute drugs. Even after hearing the entire album day after day, I still find myself coming back for more. I could try to describe them as a more rock influenced Franz Ferdinand but that wouldn’t do any justice to their infectious sound. The Killers have shaped and molded the genre of dance/rock to a most excellent form.

(Island Records)

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