Analog Adventures: Hot Fuss
About the Artist
The Killers’ meteoric rise to fame in 2003 is incredible in retrospect. Formed in the early 2000s, singer and keyboardist Brandon Flowers sought out like-minded musicians to form the band. Flowers found Dave Kuening, Mark Stoermer, and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. Las Vegas is not the first place one assumes will birth the perfect blend of synth pop and indie rock; but like an oasis in the desert The Killers offer a refreshing break from the status quo of early 2000s rock. They brighten the landscape of droll formulaic music with inventive hooks, melodies, and instrumentation. The use of of synthesizers had long fallen out of fashion since the 1980s, yet their inclusion on Hot Fuss is crucial to the mood of the album. Their debut single Mr. Brightside still finds itself on the Billboard charts due to its continuing popularity and timeless sound.
The Record Itself
Hot Fuss clocks in and just under 46 minutes, and not a single second is filler. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine sets the atmosphere with synthesized helicopter sounds and metallic synths to create the feeling of watching a manhunt on the evening news. The guitar aggressively strums an open chord while the grooving bass locks in with Ronnie Vannucci Jr.’s colossal drum sound. Brandon Flowers voice contributes to the overall moodiness, sounding like a frantic suspect confessing to a murder. Each verse contains a different lyric that he desperately screams to convince the listener that his crime was one of passion, not malice.
‘On the match with the boys, you think you’re alone. With the pain that you drain from love. In a car with a girl, promise me she’s not your world, ’cause Andy, you’re a star.” – The Killers, Andy, You’re a Star.
The morose confessional transitions seamlessly into the upbeat jangle guitar of Mr. Brightside. New wave influences and comparisons are easily made through out this album, none more obvious than The Cure and Joy Division. The record continues with the hit parade, each song better than the next. The climax of Andy, You’re a Star sublimely channels the church choir arrangement in The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ watershed hit Under the Bridge. Wrapping up the album is another murder confessional Midnight Show and the dreamy Everything Will Be Alright. The album ends in a place that leaves the listener satisfied with their journey.
The sleeve of the record.
Is It Worth It?
The standard record is pressed on a generously thick slab of 180 gram vinyl. Surface noise is nonexistent, the highs are in the atmosphere, and the lows are deeper than the Grand Canyon. The popularity of Hot Fuss has ensured that this record is always stocked everywhere. A good used copy through online retailers such as Discogs will only set you back $12-$15, while it sells new for $20. This record is an excellent collection of songs and is a worthy addition to any discography.
- Mr. Brightside
- Smile Like You Mean It
- Andy, You’re a Star