REVIEW: The Killers new album ‘Imploding the Mirage’


Island Records, the Killers

William Becker, Staff Writer

If you want the definition of a mega-hit, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers might just be that. It was always really impressive to me just how successful “Mr. Brightside” ended up becoming. It was certified a double-platinum single in the United States, it went platinum five times over in the United Kingdom (even joining the top 15 most downloaded songs of all time in that country), and the track is also the most played song on Last.Fm. There hasn’t been a single year since its re-release in 2004 that the track hasn’t been on the Billboard Top 100. It also is a university classic, so if you’re reading this article and don’t know the song… what are you doing, bro? 

Even more impressive was that the song was a part of The Killers first album, “Hot Fuss,” not even four years after the group formed. Four albums and almost two decades of content later, The Killers have finally released their sixth album, “Imploding The Mirage” after years of lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike. 

If there’s one thing “Imploding The Mirage” does successfully, it’s having the music match its artwork. It actually might be better to say that there are two sounds that are meshing together on this album. The first is a grandiose, jubilant, celestial sound that soars above the clouds with almost new-wave sounding synths, upbeat drums and the Brandon Flowers’s anthemic choruses that wouldn’t be out of place on a Queen record. This sound is most evident on the opener and single, “My Own Soul’s Warning,” which features synth-rock at its finest. Midway into the song, Brandon’s vocals ascend into an impassioned octave that seems to belt out from the speakers.

The second sound seems to embody the spirit, storytelling, and down-to-earth energy of artists like Bruce Springsteen, which is most readily apparent in songs such as “Dying Breed” and “Caution.” The former song starts with a simple and repetitive drumbeat, with Flower’s vocals seeming more laid back and relaxed. At around the two-minute mark of the song, the song explodes into something that is joyful and quite beautiful, sounding like a call to arms about love and pride with lyrics like “There’s gonna be opposition/But we’ve got everything we need/Ooh, baby, we’re a dying breed.” 

“Caution,” the lead single off of the album, is a wonderful journey through storytelling. “Let me introduce you to the featherweight queen/She got Hollywood eyes/But you can’t shoot what she’s seen/Her mama was a dancer/And that’s all that she knew/’Cause when you live in the desert/It’s what pretty girls do,” Brandon sings, perfectly capturing the beauty and passion of 80s power-ballads.

Album-highlight “Lightning Fields” is a powerful ode to the parents of Brandon Flowers. The male vocals are from the perspective of Brandon’s father, Terry, as he misses his wife who passed away in 2010 of cancer. It’s an absolutely gorgeous tribute to a pained but successful relationship. It’s stunning and emotional and an obvious standout track. K.d. Lang’s female vocals pair well with Brandon’s.

By the time “Fire In The Bone” hits, the sound of the album has become somewhat repetitive, making it perfectly placed in the tracklist. “Fire In The Bone” is particularly exciting because it takes on something of a funk, harkening to The Talking Heads or even “Fame” by David Bowie. However, this brings one of the main flaws of the album to the forefront; barring a handful of songs, every song has a similar feel and composition; with a simple beat beginning each, followed by Flowers’s vocals, some synth and then an anthemic chorus that soars above the rest of the song. The rather standard drum patterns and instrumentation doesn’t do much to differentiate the group from acts such as New Order. 

That being said, the second feature on the album with Weyes Blood, “My God” is another surprising breath of fresh air, vocally, instrumentally and even lyrically. “Imploding The Mirage” is an energetic and smooth closer that wraps the album up in a nice little package.

Considering the severe dip in quality in the last couple of albums by The Killers, “Imploding the Mirage” is the group’s best album in ten years. Granted, that isn’t an extremely high bar, but even still, it’s a fun, neat listen, even if it does border on being repetitive from a structure standpoint.