The Killers, Wonderful Wonderful | Album Review
The Killers make a “wonderful, wonderful” comeback after a five-year hiatus with its fifth studio album, ‘Wonderful Wonderful.’
After a five-year hiatus, Brandon Flowers fronted Vegas band The Killers return with Wonderful Wonderful. In advance of their fifth studio album, the band dropped four singles, all of which were distinct. Given a strong promo campaign as well as the track record of the band, expectations were sky-high for Wonderful Wonderful. Flowers and company definitely meet those expectations, if not exceed them on their latest LP.
“Wonderful Wonderful” sets the tone of the album, building intrigue. Initially mysterious with a sense of unpredictability, the listener is certainly stimulated by a more experimental approach. Once things settle in, unpredictability wears off. The production is stunning: gritty guitars, pummeling drums, and strings. Despite being a bit lengthy, all in all, “Wonderful Wonderful” is wonderfully wonderful.
On “The Man,” the promo single for Wonderful Wonderful, Flowers is feistier and cockier than ever. “The Man” commences with an enigmatic, foreboding tone. While enigma eventually transforms into stability, the sound remains malicious, anchored by a ‘takes no prisoners’ groove. Even before the bravado of the frontman blesses the track, it’s clear that The Killers as a band are in a “kick ass and take names” sort of mood. Throughout its course, Flowers ‘flexes hard’, asserting his manliness and the utmost confidence. A contrast to their past songs and arguably devoid of depth – cough* cough* that “USDA certified lean” lyric – it’s catchy and fun.
“Rut” has a tough act to follow after a killer opening duo – no pun intended. Nonetheless, the magic continues. Incredibly meaningful, according to Newsweek, it’s about his wife’s PTSD. Whoa! Ultimately, it’s dynamic, powerful, and uplifting, particularly the key lyric, “Don’t you give up on me.”
“Life to Come” keeps things rolling without a hitch. This definitely feels like a companion cut to “Rut,” judging by the supportive tone of the chorus. Assuming this is also about his wife, Flowers seems to be assuring he’d do anything for her.
“If you call my name / I will run whether or not it’s tonight / Or the life to come / Or the life to come.”
“Run for Cover”
“Run for Cover” finds Flowers and company turned up to the nth degree, with 80s new wave cues going full throttle. This is clearly The Killers’ wheelhouse. Flowers pushes his voice to the limit, showcasing infectious energy. The best moment is the powerful, gargantuan chorus. As far as content, there are politics, as well as a reference to Sonny Liston. The central idea seems to be about losses – making mistakes and their ramifications. Ultimately, it rocks.
“Tyson vs. Douglas” is clever, using a famous boxing match to fuel its fire. The match is explicitly mentioned on the chorus, which is among the crème de la crème of the album.
“When I saw him go down / Felt like somebody lied / I had to hold my breath ‘til the coast was clear / When I saw him go down / Felt like somebody lied / I had to close my eyes just to stop the tears.”
The verses seem to focus on a bigger picture, clearly more personal and pertinent to Flowers. The bridge sheds light on Flowers’ feels:
“Lookin’ out the window out on the street / My boy and his mother / And I think of me / Feelin’ the slip again / Don’t wanna fall / You said it was nothing, but maybe you’re wrong.”
“Some Kind of Love”
“Some Kind of Love” is mysterious, experimental, and nebulous. Lyrically, it keeps things simple. Neither verse is particularly transcendent in regards to the words themselves, but the sentiment conveyed is respectable. The chorus is even less poetic, simply reiterating the title. Even give its simplicity, “Some Kind of Love” fits better in the context of Wonderful Wonderful than it did as its on entity as a single. Ultimately, it’s hypnotizing and intriguing, if slightly odd.
Flowers sings about his wife once more, presumably, on “Out of My Mind.” Groovy and more straightforward than “Some Kind of Love,” he’s infatuated with her. The second verse is the most intriguing, where he cites every accomplishment possible to try to impress her. Ultimately, she says she “Don’t need confirmation.”
The electrifying “The Calling” begins Biblically, something that plays into the script. Following a spoken word intro, Flowers is on autopilot, as are the Killers collectively, in regards to the music. The punch packed by the music is a selling point, not to mention the continual, commanding nature of Brandon. The title of “Have All the Songs Been Written?” sounds simple, yet the concept runs deeper. Flowers asks a series of questions centered around life. While he doubts his ability to write a fresh, relevant song, ultimately, Flowers asserts, “I just need one to get through to you.”
The deluxe edition of Wonderful Wonderful extends the album from 10 songs to 13. “Money on Straight” serves as the first bonus cut. This sounds like a song that Bruce Springsteen might sing, with fewer electronic cues. Those who don’t splurge on the deluxe will miss out on this enjoyable, thoughtful joint. In the same token, it’s understandable why it didn’t make the standard edition.
Two remixes of “The Man” fill out the album: “The Man (Jacques Lu Cont Remix)” and “The Man (Duke Dumont Remix).” While remixes aren’t typically something to get incredibly excited about, both featured here are awesome. The best of the two is the Duke Dumont Remix, due mostly to the fact it takes more risks.
As corny as it might sound, The Killers make a “wonderful, wonderful” comeback after a five-year hiatus with Wonderful Wonderful. Brandon Flowers remains a compelling frontman through and through, even if he doesn’t consider himself to be “the man” as he once did. The sounds and production are compelling, while the songwriting, for the most part, is interesting. The Killers haven’t lost their touch.
Gems: “Wonderful Wonderful,” “The Man,” “Run for Cover,” “Tyson vs. Douglas,” “Some Kind of Love” & “The Man (Duke Dumont Remix)”