The Killers burst onto the scene in the early 00s with a fresh sound and approach with a hint to the past. Hot Fuss was a magical ride of 80s inspired pop riffs with a swanky songwriting ability that caused earworms in the brain. Sam’s Town went a little darker, a little deeper, but still with songs that cut to the core. Day and Age and Battle Born came and went, and now here we are still looking, I think, for that next Hot Fuss, which is most likely never going to happen. With a debut album as big as that one, it’s difficult to repeat, and each and every subsequent record that the band will release in the future will be an instant comparison.
That’s not to say their new record Wonderful, Wonderful isn’t good, it’s just not great. The band has this knack of going just close to the edge of songwriting greatness, but never crossing that threshold. First single “The Man”, is a disco bopper with indelible chorus to match, perfect for a Friday night singalong. But, The Killers fall into that trap of trying to hard to write soaring opuses in the same vein as U2 and Coldplay.
“Rut” is a burgeoning end of movie credits beauty. ‘Life to Come” is close to that soaring with singer Brandon Flowers spitting his trademark warble. I absolutely love the punchy drum beat of “Run For Cover”.There is some nostalgia in “Tyson vs Douglas” with the soaring chorus I was looking for this whole time. “Out of My Mind” does its best impression of some 80s Level 42, or Thompson Twins sugary pop magic, but it’s a veiled attempt at best.
Reviews like this always tend to fall into the bad category. Wonderful, Wonderful is a good record, no doubt about it. The Killers went to the U2 school of songwriting and got a solid C+. And… while that might sound like a dig, no one can be U2, but U2.