The Killers (2001-present) are an American rock band that formed in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2001. Their classic lineup is vocalist/keyboardist Brandon Flowers, guitarist Dave Keuning, bassist/guitarist Mark Stoermer, and drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. The Killers have recorded many successful albums including 2o04’s debut of Hot Fuss, 2006’s Sam’s Town, 2008’s Day & Age, 2012’s Battle Born, and 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful. The later went to number one in both America and England.
The band created an alternative style that combined indie rock, new wave and punk elements. The Killers have combined a mix of 1980’s-styled synth pop and with a hard rock edge. Hot Fuss, became one of the decade’s biggest releases, producing four hit singles — including their most popular hit, “Mr. Brightside.” This song sent the group into the international spotlight. An abrupt stylistic shift occurred on 2006’s Sam’s Town— that de-emphasized the band’s new wave revivalism in favor of a more mainstream heartland rock style. This allowed The Killers to reach a balance between their stylistic influences and go on a run of Top Ten releases that peaked with 2017’s chart-topping “Wonderful Wonderful.”
“Wonderful Wonderful” by Brandon Flowers, Mark Stoermer, Ron Vannucci, and Jacknife Lee
The song “Wonderful Wonderful” revealed The Killers to be moving into darker territory than previously ventured. The Killers frontman, Brandon Flowers, wrote the song about his wife Tana’s childhood trauma that she suffered as a result of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The song referenced Tana as a “motherless child” being rescued by the Mormon couple’s faith. Flowers stated that the song served to bond he and his wife and deepen his compassion for her condition.
Musically, “Wonderful Wonderful” began with a haunting bass line in a minor key that created a dark mood. The drums added a pounding rhythm on tom-tom drums to capture a primal feel. The guitar and synth lines established an eerie mood that enabled the lyrics to paint a brooding soundscape. “Wonderful Wonderful” captured a gothic and post-punk feel with its menacing bassline and screechy and glitchy electronic effects. Flowers remembered that he was inspired to create the dark mood when he was in the desert and saw a storm approaching.
Moving forward, the original Killers lineup was reduced to a trio, as Keuning did not appear on their next album and Stoermer provided bass for just a handful of tracks. In 2020, their sixth album, Imploding the Mirage, received critical praise and earned them a U.S. alternative chart-topper with the single “Caution.”
2020’s Imploding the Mirage, introduced a new era for the Killers. Upon release, the critically acclaimed album topped the charts in Australia and the U.K., and made the Top Ten in the U.S. with the hits “Caution” and “My Own Soul’s Warning.” In early 2021, a deluxe version of Imploding the Mirage was issued, featuring the previously unreleased “C’est La Vie” and reworked versions of “Caution” and “Blowback.” By then, there was already talk of another Killers album in the works, with Keuning and Stoermer returning to the lineup.
Less than a year later, they released the more subdued Pressure Machine. This album saw a significant shift in the band’s approach. A restrained concept album that focused on Flowers‘ home in Utah, it stripped away their usual anthemic bombast and Vegas glamour to examine the darker side of small-town life. The album reached number nine on the Billboard charts. About a year later, the release of the anthemic “Boy” marked a return to their signature sound.
The Killers are known for exciting concert performances. This was evident in their 2009 release, Live at the Royal Albert Hall. They have also headlined huge shows at London’s Hyde Park in 2009 and 2011.