My Top 10 The Killers Songs

Ever since I first heard the opening to ‘Mr. Brightside’, I knew I loved The Killers. And why wouldn’t I? Ever since their first album, they’ve been producing top quality music, and with the singles I’ve heard from their new album, they look to continue this. Wonderful Wonderful is out this month, and in celebration of that, I’ll be counting down my favourite songs by them.

Honourable mentions (Warning, there are a lot!):

  • Mr Brightside
  • Somebody Told Me
  • All These Things That I’ve Done
  • Change Your Mind
  • Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll
  • When You Were Young
  • Bones
  • Show You How
  • Romeo And Juliet (Dire Straits Cover)
  • Joy Ride
  • This Is Your Life
  • I Can’t Stay
  • Neon Tiger
  • The World We Live In
  • The Man

10. Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf

There’s something about this song that I just love. The old-fashioned sound quality, and the bluesy guitar rhythm go together to make this one of the most oddly charming Killers songs.

Find it on: Sawdust (2007)

9. For Reasons Unknown

From a relatively unassuming verse, the song bursts into life with Brandon Flowers belting out by far one of the best choruses he’s ever written. An essential listen if you want to get into the band.

Find it on: Sam’s Town (2006)

8. Smile Like You Mean It

One of the highlights of their first album, this is one of the very songs that got me into The Killers. Just try listening to this without it getting into your hair.

Find it on: Hot Fuss (2004)

7. Sam’s Town

This song is a perfect introduction of one of my favourite albums of all time. But not only that, Brandon Flowers shows some of his best writing skills off in this song. What more can you ask than great music with great lyrics?

Find it on: Sam’s Town (2006)

6. This River Is Wild

I can’t believe this song isn’t more well known, because in my opinion it’s one of The Killers’ best. It sounds huge and epic, but with vulnerable lyrics, and I absolutely love that contrast.

Find it on: Sam’s Town (2006)

5. Under The Gun

Short but sweet, this is one of the most catchy songs I’ve heard in my life. Probably one of the most underappreciated Killers songs too, only being a bonus track on Hot Fuss.

Find it on: Sawdust (2007)

4. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine

Believe me when I say this, this song is a masterpiece. Not only does it sound great, it tells a captivating story, something The Killers do expertly. It is the last part of a trilogy  of songs also containing ‘Midnight Run’ and ‘Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf’.

Find it on: Hot Fuss (2004)

3. Losing Touch

This song probably has no right to be where it is on this list, but I love it so much. There is a certain infectiousness to the chorus that won’t let it leave your head.

Find it on: Day & Age (2008)

2. Read My Mind

Simply put, I think this is one of the best songs ever written. From the synth intro, to the lyrics, to that amazing chorus, it’s just perfect from back to front.

Find it on: Sam’s Town (2006)

1. Tranquilize

Well where do I go from one of the best songs ever written? This is the only song I could have possibly picked for the top spot. The Killers have never written anything like this, and I don’t think they ever will again. It’s dark, unsettling, and utterly brilliant.

Find it on: Sawdust (2007)

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Album Review: Across The Atlantic – Works Of Progress

Across The Atlantic’s first album, Holding on to What We Know was a great record, mixing aspects of metalcore with pop-punk to great result. But due to a lot of similarities, many people heard it and christened it ‘A Day To Remember-lite’, despite a lot of redeeming qualities in the music. But on this, their second album, they have definitively shaken off this label, producing yet another great selection of songs, abounding in both style and substance.

Not only is this album great in its own right, it surpasses the band’s previous album by a long way. A perfect example of this is ‘Sundress Funeral’, which has to be the best song the band has ever produced. A quiet ukulele strummed intro bursts into a huge pop-punk hit, complete with a chorus any band would be proud of. A close second to this is the furious ‘Self(less)’, which uses a brilliant metalcore-esque breakdown to emphasise maybe the angriest song on the album.

Obviously the range of styles has made this album rather diverse. If you take the summery pop-punk vibes of ‘Sundress Funeral’ and compare them to ‘Blind Eyes’, possibly the most metalcore-inspired song of the album, you wouldn’t even think they were the same band. The album is anything but generic, I’ll give you that. But despite the variety, this album sounds very cohesive. All of the songs fit together, and nothing really feels out of place, which is what separates this album from the previous one. This is not just a great step, but a giant leap for Across The Atlantic, and I can’t wait to hear whatever they come up with next.

Best song: Sundress Funeral

Score: 7/10

Album Review: Turnover – Good Nature

‘I could just take it slow and be here for a moment’, sings lead singer Austin Getz on ‘Living Small’, the penultimate song of this, the third LP from Virginia-based Turnover. I feel like that sums this album up very well too; amidst all of the intense and occasionally political albums that have been released this year (Rise Against and Neck Deep for a start), this is an album that creates a break from the rest of the world. It is something that is meant to be listened to on its own – a blissfully relaxing break from all of the turmoil of the modern world. And it is as good an album as it is much-needed.

From opener ‘Super Natural’ to closer ‘Bonnie (Rhythm & Melody)’, this album delivers a calming and dreamy brand of ambient rock, creating an atmosphere like none other I’ve heard  this year. Now obviously this band are known for their chilled style of music, but this is something else entirely. I came into this album expecting a pleasant listen, but nothing could prepare me for the quality I found on offer. The thing is, nothing on the album is out of the ordinary, but it is executed to absolute perfection, from, from the indie-rock swing of ‘All That It Ever Was’ to the beautiful instrumentation of ‘Pure Devotion’.

Does this album bring any crazy changes or experimentation to the table? No, of course it doesn’t, but it doesn’t need anything different when the formula is as good as this. Instead of relying on any gimmicks or massive changes in style, this album relies on the skill and talent of the musicians in the band, who I have to say have exceeded themselves on this record. From the production, to the composition, to the lyrics, to the instrumentation, to the sound itself, I can’t fault this album. Don’t be surprised to see this in my top albums list at the end of the year, because this is something else.

Best songs: Super Natural, Living Small

Score: 10/10

 

Album Review: Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains

If I say the name Mark Ronson to you, what do you think of? For most of you, the answer will definitely revolve around pop music. The famous producer has made three albums and countless pop hits now, including the song of 2015, ‘Uptown Funk’, and a great cover of the Zutons’ ‘Valerie’, featuring the late Amy Winehouse. Considering this, it shocked me when I found out he would be producing Queens Of The Stone Age’s 7th full-length LP, ‘Villains’.

But despite my disbelief, it was true. And he has teamed up to create one of the bands lightest, most fun records. Now, a lot of rock fans would see this as a bad thing, but I think it’s an experiment that has worked really well for the band. Their trademark sound obviously features loud, heavy guitars, but Ronson’s production has seemed to take a bit of the weight off their sound, freeing up some space for a lot more experimentation. For example, lead single ‘The Way You Used To Do’, mixes pop and rock sensibilities, putting crunchy guitars to a funky rhythm, and ‘Un-Reborn Again’ adds electronic influences and strings to the band’s usual formula. If you’re a fan of their old sound though, there are enough examples of it on the record for it to be enjoyable – particularly in second single ‘The Evil Has Landed’ and ‘Domesticated Animals’.

This record is immediately more accessible than previous QOTSA albums, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Their typical brand of hard rock has been mixed with pop sensibilities to great effect, and if it doesn’t win you over on the first listen, it definitely will over time. A shining example of when genres cross over.

Best songs: The Evil Has Landed, Domesticated Animals, Un-Reborn Again

Score: 8/10

Album Review: Neck Deep – The Peace And The Panic

Every band has a defining album; one that truly defines who they are as a band. For Nirvana, it was Nevermind, for Green Day it was American Idiot (or Dookie, I can’t decide between the two), and for the Red Hot Chili Peppers it was Californication. The album may not be the critical favourite or the fan favourite, but it is remembered by music fans for years. This feels like one of those albums.

Following up 2015’s incredibly highly rated Life’s Not Out To Get You is not an easy task. For example, Rock Sound called it ‘the best UK pop-punk album of all time’. I feel like there was a touch of hyperbole in that statement, but even so, that’s high praise from one of the UK’s most trusted music publications. Not only this, but they went on several successful tours on the back of it, becoming one of the most talked about bands not just in UK pop-punk, but pop-punk all around the world. From there, they could coast on the success of that album and release a similar-sounding record that would please all of their fans, or they could push themselves even further than they’ve gone before. Obviously, they went for the latter.

A great example of this further experimentation is the wonderful ‘In Bloom’, leaving behind the jagged guitar riffs of the previous album for atmospheric strummed guitars and a catchy chorus. If it’s those guitars you want though, you won’t be disappointed. Singles ‘Motion Sickness’ and ‘Happy Judgement Day’ are both classic Neck Deep at their best. But if it’s something new you want, ‘Don’t Wait’ won’t disappoint. Featuring Sam Carter from metalcore giants Architects, this is maybe the most intense song on the album, with Ben Barlow’s melodic vocals and Carter’s screams blending perfectly. A special mention should go out the songwriting to ‘Nineteen Seventy Sumthin”; the song literally brought a tear to my eye.

Will this album be a fan favourite? Maybe, maybe not. I’ve seen a range of fans voicing their displeasure in the new direction, particularly with ‘In Bloom’, but I feel like half the fans will love it, and half will warm to it over time. This seems like an album that people will look back on and think ‘Wow, that was good! I can’t believe I didn’t like it at the time!’. As for my opinion, I can’t pick a fault with the album. This is a modern pop-punk masterpiece that really shows Neck Deep at their best, in terms of lyrics, production, and of course, the music itself. I can’t wait to see what Neck Deep come up with next, but for the next few years, we have The Peace And The Panic, and I couldn’t be happier.

Best songs: Nineteen Seventy Sumthin’, In Bloom

Score: 10/10

Album Review: Ghostly Times – When All That’s Left Is Grey

We’ve had a lot of beautifully atmospheric rock music released this year. From Manchester Orchestra’s fifth album, to Bellevue Days’ third EP, people have been perfecting the art of creating an atmosphere through their music all around the rock world. One more band that aims to do this are Brooklyn-based Ghostly Times, who have created a fantastic sound on their debut full-length album.

The first two tracks typify this sound fantastically. ‘Ghostly Times’ and ‘Sleepless State’ create a great atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The lead singer’s great voice is perfectly complimented by a plethora of guitar sounds, ranging from melodic swirls to low rhythmic accompaniment. This, alongside the fantastic drumming all comes together to make an atmosphere that is both beautiful and melancholy at the same time. Not all of the songs are the same though. ‘Book of Love’ takes much more of a typical rock format to great effect, and ‘Sit Back, Relapse and Go’ is a 6-minute-long odyssey. Not to mention the incredible ‘Murder of Crows’ – my favourite song on the album.

I have never been one for longer songs, and this album has quite a few of them. Having said that, the band has managed to make them in a way that has kept me engaged throughout the album. Everything on this album just feels right, from the start to the end, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for this band.

Best song: Murder of Crows

Score: 7/10

My Top 100 Songs: 60-51

60. Prayer Of The Refugee – Rise Against

One of the most catchy and easily recognisable tracks Rise Against have ever written in their career, this song is an absolute gem. It shows them at their furious, political best.

Find it on: The Sufferer And The Witness (2006)

59. Holding On To You – Twenty One Pilots

I love an intense song, and this is definitely one of those. It mixes all the best aspects of Twenty One Pilots’ work, mixing soaring melodies, intense rapping and great electronic influences to create a song that once you hear, you won’t get it out of your head.

Find it on: Vessel (2013)

58. Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard

This song is yet another example of early 2000’s pop-punk. Great vocals and guitar are combined with one of the most easily recognisable choruses of all time to make an incredible song.

Find it on: Ocean Avenue (2003)

57. Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

This is one of the songs I’ve liked for the longest on this list. I always had it in my head when it first came out, but I only found out what it was called after discovering The Killers later on in my life. An amazing song.

Find it on: Hot Fuss (2004)

56. Team – Lorde

2013’s Pure Heroine was an incredible album, but I feel like this is the best song from it. Not only does it bear all of Lorde’s trademark incredible writing and production, its chorus can get in my head like no other song.

Find it on: Pure Heroine (2013)

55. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains Of Wayne

I may lose my credibility to a lot of people by saying this, but I love this song. It’s as catchy as anything I’ve heard, but not only that, it’s possibly one of the funniest songs ever written.

Find it on: Welcome Interstate Managers (2003)

54. I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of? – A Day To Remember

I mentioned loving intense songs earlier, but this is something else. It feature incredible screamed vocals and an incredible chorus, the best of both worlds between hardcore and pop-punk.

Find it on: Homesick (2009)

53. Lost In Stereo – All Time Low

From one catchy chorus to another, this is one of the best songs in All Time Low’s discography. It contains one of the best vocal performances too!

Find it on: Nothing Personal (2009)

52. I Could Have Lied – Red Hot Chili Peppers

There is a beautiful acoustic track nestled in amongst all of the smash hits in Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and it’s this song. It’s serene, beautiful, and features some of John Frusciante’s best guitar work.

Find it on: Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

51. This Is Letting Go – Rise Against

This part of the countdown is started and finished by Rise Against, but the songs couldn’t be any more different. While ‘Prayer Of The Refugee’ is filled with anger, this is much more reflective and thoughtful. The lyrics are some of Tim McIlrath’s best work as well.

Find it on: Endgame (2011)

Come back in a fortnight for more of my favourite songs!