The Killers
Hot Fuss



January 14th, 2005 | 554 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

The Band:
Brandon Flowers: Vocals, Keyboards
David Keuning: Guitars
Mark Stoermer: Bass
Ronnie Vannucci: Drums

Released: 2004 (Lizard King)

The Killers are one of this years hottest new bands, coming from Las Vegas. This album is their debut, and was preceded in the UK by the single releases of Mr Brightside and Somebody Told Me. The album is largely rooted in British influences, particularly with bands such as The Smiths and other indie bands. The band already have a reputation as a very good live act over here, having played several shows and festivals in the UK already.

The Songs:

1. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine. Starting with an electronic noise in the background a repetitve guitar part quickly sets the scene for this song, with an atypical mournful tone to Brandon Flowers's vocals, with him singing, "It's time for me to go" in a partially anguished, partially resigned tone. This is one of the most Smiths-esque tracks on here, with the drums pounding in the background holding this song together, while the bass weaves in and out of the song before an elongated outro. 4.5/5

2. Mr Brightside. Probably the most well known of their songs, a guitar leads into the song again before Brandon Flowers's voice gets louder as it comes into the song. The chorus in particular is very strong, with the lyric "Destiny is calling me" giving a hint of the confidence of this band, before distorted guitars come in, seeming somehow to add the essence of summer to the song. A highlight of the album, this gets 5/5.

3. Smile Like You Mean It. The vocals in this are more subdued, taking a second place to the chiming guitar, which adds a whole new layer to what would otherwise be a fairly unmemorable song. The solo in this song, while coming seemingly out of nowhere, works well, and shows that while the group may work as a unit, their members can make standout moments by themselves. 4/5

4. Somebody Told Me. This was the track that first got The Killers noticed in the UK, and it's not hard to see why. The bass is again more evident in this song, as is another very strong chorus, with Flowers singing, "Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend, who looked like a girlfriend." On paper it sounds appalling, but listening to the track, the tone of it with some hidden venom under it makes this another highlight. It's again notable here how "tight" the instrumental section are; something very impressive for a relatively young band. 4.5/5

5. All These Things That I've Done. Featuring a keyboard, which adds another layer to this song, it starts with Flowers singing wistfully to himself, "You can't hold on", before the guitars and drums again provide another great backing for the lyrics. This song would be a highlight of the album anyway, before a moment which made me stop what I was doing and just listen in surprise the first time I heard it. Midway through the song, the music except a guitar fades out, leaving you with Flowers singing repeatedly "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier." Then the gospel choir kick in. Put simply, this is one of the most surprising single moment of new music I have heard this year, and means this track can only get 5/5.

6. Andy, You're A Star. A punchy guitar riff leads in here, but in truth, there is nothing overly remarkable about this track, although it's typically well put together, and features some emotional vocals from Flowers, although these don't really lift the song to previous heights. Ironic vocals ( "Andy, You're A Star, in nobody's eyes but mine"), reinforce the Smiths's influence. The layered guitars and vocals provide a nice touch, but this only gets 3.5/5

7. On Top. A more electronic opening to the song nevertheless quickly turns into a sharp guitar part, with it mirroring the tone of Flowers's singing. The change in guitar tone about a minute in, with it jumping higher adding an airy quality to the song is a good moment , before returning to the previous sharp riff. I like this song, despite it's lack of special moments, because it shows what The Killers do best: catchy indie songs, with a strong chorus and very good backing to the vocals, and message of the song. 4/5

8. Glamourous Indie Rock & Roll. Another piano intro leads into what is probably an Oasis moment in the album. The song starts slowly, with a funky bassline, before Flowers starts singing "It's Indie Rock & Roll for me", with his voice occasionaly faltering. What's notable here is the certainty of this comparatively rocking song, which acts as a real statement of intent, with several sections in the song, seemingly representing The Killers showing off quite what they can do. Many people dislike this song, but it's one of my favourites off the album. 4.5/5

9. Believe Me Natalie. This features a drum intro beaten out on the toms, before more sun-kissed guitars pave the way for a love song with Flowers singing to Natalie to "forget what they said". The drums are very prominent in the mix here, but this loses something compared to other tracks on the album. It's more a filler track, going on for too long, than anything else. 3/5

10. Midnight Show. A partial return to form, with this being a dirtier more sexual song, with the lyrics "You've got a real short skirt". The vocal layering again stands out here, as does the fact that, again, The Killers owe a vast debt to British indie bands, with the wistful Morrisey/Robert Smith-esque vocal tone. The song features another brief guitar solo, also. 4/5

11. Everything Will Be Alright. This is another dark song, in tone, with Flowers's drunken sounding vocals singing "I'll come and find you if it takes me all night", before seemingly hopefully repeating the title. The song itself doesn't really go anywhere, making a fairly dissapointing end to the album. There's nothing actually wrong with it, and indeed it features a very nice piano part, but it would be nicer to get a stronger ending. 3.5/5

Two of the major criticisms of the album are that Brandon Flowers cannot sing, and the second half is not exceptionally good. While it is true that the first half is stronger than the second, this album is well worth a listen, and critcism of the singing seems somewhat unfair to me. The standout points are the musical cohesion of the band, and the maturity of Flowers's songwriting skills, which can combine with some brilliant individual moments. This album is not a masterpiece, but if you like the genre, and even if you are not a great fan, it is well worth a listen. It needs multiple listens I find, as I didn't like most of it first time, but it should be given a chance.

Final rating: 3.5/5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Adam Jones is GOD
August 15th 2004


Album Rating: 3.0

Good preview, (not a typo since I haven't heard it yet). It's currently one of my should-I-buy-it? list, but since im after a good soild album, the fact you said it loses it in the second half puts me off a bit. But I may just buy it just for Somebody Told Me, love that song.

And singers who cant sing can work wonders sometimes, just look at the deftones (not comparing in any way)

August 15th 2004


Great album, I just bought it a couple days ago, I really like "Somebody Told Me" and "Mr. Brightside". Not only is this band catchy, they actually have talent. The vocal guy can't sing, but hey, that's what makes it interesting.

August 15th 2004


Great job on your review. I am yet to buy the album though.

August 15th 2004


I've only heard Somebody told me. It's really catchy.
Good review.

August 16th 2004


The one that was up before..I don't even know why it had Hot Fuss in the title. It's just a review of Somebody Told Me/Mr Brightside, with a mention of Hot Fuss as the album at the end.

August 16th 2004


Very good review... But I can't help but listen to the album and think "I really want to listen to Hot Hot Heat now." The lyrics are weak at points but they do know how to write a catchy tune to get you dancing in your car at stoplights. I'd give it a 3.5/5. It's been done before, better, but still good in its own right and a definite for people that like Hot Hot Heat, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, and dancier Cure tracks.

August 16th 2004


in what sense can't brandon flowers sing? do you people accept nothing less than the three tenors when you put on a cd? he has an original, at times incredibly emotive, voice, and deserves no more criticism than any singers of a similar genre do. peter andre can't sing; this guy can. and as for the album "tailing off" in the 2nd half: B.S. mate, B.S. What you mean is, there are no singles in that half, and you haven't given it a chance. Glamorous Indie Rock 'n' Roll appears in nearer to the end of the album and it's a near-classic, while Everything's Gonna Be Alright is a superb downbeat ending to a great CD. Buying Hot Fuss is no gamble at all, it being one of the best debuts of recent years. Purchase!

August 22nd 2004


Well, the original reviewer did in fact say - and i quote verbatim - "it is true that the first half is stronger than the second..." - and someone else said, with inexplicable logic: "The vocal guy can't sing, but hey, that's what makes it interesting". I wasn't aiming my complaint at the reviewer so much as at what followed. Whatever, The Killers are great.

August 22nd 2004


Good review, but personally I can't stand them.

August 22nd 2004


The Killers sound like a refreshing breath of air for mainstream music. Particularly in "STM" listening to the instrumentals is fabulous. It's nothing technical, but what they do with the extremely well done synth and flange effects, and the tight, addictive disco-ish groove by Vannucci just make an excellent song.

It's good to see that in this sad, fake, rip-off resurgence of 70's rock as brought about by the Darkness and Jet (ugh), we have a little hope.

The Ashtray Girl
February 7th 2005


I really like this album, there's just something about this band that I really like right now.

As always, a lovely review.

March 20th 2005


Great review. One of my favorite new-wave bands.

March 20th 2005


Good review.

I cant stand Somebody Told Me...but thats just me

March 21st 2005


ive listened to this cd quite a few times, but it seems to weaken around halfway through. I don't know, it's still a great album though.

Subterranean Homesick Alien
March 22nd 2005


good review

In my opinion the album is pretty good, not the best indie out there though. Highlight tracks for me were "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine," "All These Things I've Done," "On Top" and "Midnight Show." All These Things I've Done is a really awesome track and in my opinion the high point of the album.

Subterranean Homesick Alien
March 22nd 2005


good review

The album is pretty good, not the best indie out there though. Highlight tracks for me were "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine," "All These Things I've Done," "On Top" and "Midnight Show." All These Things I've Done is a really awesome track and in my opinion the high point of the album.

Subterranean Homesick Alien
March 22nd 2005


good review

The album is pretty good, not the best indie out there though. Highlight tracks for me were "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine," "All These Things I've Done," "On Top" and "Midnight Show." All These Things I've Done is a really awesome track and in my opinion the high point of the album.

May 2nd 2005


Top review. This is one of the albums that both I and my friends are in love with. I would give it a 3.5/5

May 2nd 2005


Yeah, I'd probably give it that about now as well. I still like, it but a fairer mark would be 3.5/5. It's such a great summer albums though...

May 3rd 2005


Nice review of course.

Good album. Nothing "classic", but I love listening to it. 3.5/5, probably.

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