CD Review of Hot Fuss by Killers
Killers: Hot Fuss

Reviewed by John Paulsen


rom the first listen, it is obvious the Killers’ 2004 full-length debut Hot Fuss was influenced heavily by eighties synth-pop. What’s odd is that most of the songs don’t actually sound like any music I heard in the eighties. The band combines catchy synth melodies with strong guitar riffs to provide several great songs and a few good ones. The album’s first major hit, “Somebody Told Me”, is probably the second-most retro song on the album - next to the unmistakably Duran Duran-ish “Midnight Show” - but neither song represents the band’s sound very well.

The first half of the disc is award-worthy with the aforementioned radio hit along with the second single, the superb “Mr. Brightside”. “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” is about a murder told from the suspect’s point of view and it prominently displays lead singer Brandon Flowers’ strong lyrical skills. The Killers were formed in 2002 in Las Vegas and it’s obvious that Flowers drives the band - after all, he is the only Killer given writing credit for every song on the album. “Smile Like You Mean It” is solid but not spectacular. Rounding out the front half is the infectious “All These Things That I’ve Done” (with arguably the catchiest lyric of 2004: “I’ve Got Soul/But I’m Not A Soldier”) that proves that the band isn’t afraid to dive into a little gospel every so often. The band stumbles a bit on the second half of the disc - none of the songs stand out like the gems on the first half, although “Everything Will Be Alright” is a cool little ballad that nicely rounds out the disc.

Probably the most curious thing is the absence of the truly amazing B-side “Who Let You Go” (find it immediately on iTunes). Had they included this and other great B-sides like “Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll” and “The Ballad Of Michael Valentine” on Hot Fuss, the Killers would have already cemented their place in history with the album of the year and one of the best debuts of all time. Instead, they are left with a solid album that doubles as a good first effort - no more and no less.

For you downloaders, try this tracklist instead:

1. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
2. Mr. Brightside
3. Smile Like You Mean It
4. Somebody Told Me
5. All These Things That I’ve Done
6. Andy, You’re A Star
7. Who Let You Go
8. Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll
9. The Ballad Of Michael Valentine
10. Under The Gun
11. Midnight Show
12. Everything Will Be Alright

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