Record Rewind: The Killers – Hot Fuss
I don’t think that neither The Killers or Hot Fuss need too much introduction;l everyone knows the band and the album – aware of that or not. Just think about Mr. Brightside or Somebody Told Me, if nothing rings in your mind, well, Google them and then you will go something like “oh, I know these songs! I even know the lyrics”. It was 2004, it was The Killers’ debut album, it was when they reached unexpected, but deserved, success. Hot Fuss can be described in many ways, alternative rock, new wave, indie rock, with 80s influences, and that’s why it is a unique album.
Jenny Was A Friend of Mine opens the record, while concluding The Killers’ Murder Trilogy (about the murder of a girl named Jenny) composed by Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf (not in this album, before the murder) and Midnight Show (the murder itself). It starts with a synth sound, followed by an interesting guitar riff, which is then present throughout the entire song. Brandon Flowers’ vocals are dramatic and emotional, creating the perfect mix with the melody.
The second song is Mr. Brightside, maybe the most famous song by The Killers. Although the lyrics, about infidelity, are repetitive (verse 1 and 2 are the same), it is a well constructed track, personal and relatable. The upbeat rhythm, the guitar riff and the well delivered instrumental parts make Mr. Brightside a great song.
Somebody Told Me is another of the most well known songs by The Killer. It’s fast, catchy, irresistible. It can be read in different ways, related to a romantic relationship or to the music creation process.
All These Things That I’ve Done starts with a solemn organ opening, instrument typical of churches. This religious theme is present all over the song, in the lyrics, asking for help to something or someone higher than us; with the reference to Brandon’s religion in the “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier” line (Mormons have to compete a missionary call); and with the collaboration with the Gospel chorus The Sweet Inspirations.
A crispy guitar riff opens Andy, You’re A Star, a sarcastic song about Andy, a guy who used to provoke Brandon Flowers during high school. The slow rhythm challenges Flowers’ vocals, which cannot be considered as good as in the rest of Hot Fuss.
The electronic opening of On Top is then followed by more rock sounds, characterised by punchy guitars and drum. Now according to the version of Hot Fuss (deluxe or not), you will find either Change Your Mind or Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll (probably a sarcastic joke about The Killers’ genre) to precede the last three songs.
Despite the seriousness and the sadness in the lyrics, Believe Me Natalie still sounds quite happy, with an hint of instability. Hot Fuss is closed by Everything Will Be Alright, where Flowers concisely repeats “Everything will be alright”, as a way to convince himself.
Hot Fuss received lots of critics, both positive and negative, but eventually it has been defined as one of the best debut albums by a rock band and it made into charts like 100 Best Albums of the Decade by Rolling Stone. Most of the songs were recorded like demos, but the irresistible rock sound, synth vibes and (most of the times) great lyrics made Hot Fuss a huge success.