Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Runaways - The Killers

Before you begin reading this, you should know that this post/review/whatever is going to be extremely biased. And I could not be less arsed about that.

The Killers are my favourite band. I still remember the very first time I ever heard The Killers' music. It was early September 2004, just as I was starting high school. Me and my then 13-year-old brother were sat on the sofa arguing over which music channel to put on. He flicked on to 'Q', and there they were, dancing in a desert and singing about 'a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend'. I remember just sitting and staring at the screen for the entire four and a half minutes of that video, totally mesmerised. I'd never felt that way about a song before, and as someone who was only near to turning 12, it was pretty overwhelming. Ever since that day, The Killers have been my favourite band, and I no doubt will be forevermore.

Despite it being four years ago, it feels like only yesterday that we were last all crowded round the radio ready to hear a new track from the Las Vegas quartet. I've never seen a fan-base so torn about a song like The Killers' fans were that day. It has to be said, compared to the beautiful, crescendo crashing, anthemic hit that was 'When You Were Young', 'Human' was extremely underwhelming. 'Day & Age' was a big risk for The Killers, and although not a personal favourite, that album needed to be made. The Killers needed to explore and fulfill all their curiosities about creating different sounds; simply trying to re-do the masterpiece that was 'Sam's Town' would have been idiotic, and quite frankly it could well have been a train wreck. But as I said, they did the right thing. They created a dynamic album which means they'll never be left with that 'what if?' feeling, and now they've got the chance to go back and bring some of the older ideologies into new track 'Runaways'.

The opening piano intro (after the space-ship sounding bit) sounds very much like Flowers' lead solo single 'Crossfire'. In fact, 'Runaways' is quite similar to 'Crossfire' in a number of ways; they both have that piano intro, they both have those big, swooping choruses, and they both have us air drumming or fist pumping the air. Like his hero Bruce Springsteen, Flowers' lyrics hit us instantly and send visions through our minds. The opening line, 'Blonde hair blowin' in the summer wind/ A blue-eyed girl playing in the sand', gives us an immediate feeling that a story is coming. See, like Springsteen, this is what Flowers is so brilliant at. Instantly you know that you're about to be told a real story about real people, and it's exciting and refreshing; it grabs you and pulls you in, making you want to hear more. 

Taking a little longer to kick in than most Killers' choruses, this one comes in at around 1.20. But oh boy is it good. Honestly, the thought of standing in the middle of the crowd at one of the bands' live shows and screaming along to 'WE CAN'T WAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT TILLLLL TOMOOOOOOOORROOOOW' makes me shit myself with excitement a little bit. You might say they've done it all before with the likes of 'When You Were Young', 'This River is Wild' and 'Mr. Brightside', but when The Killers are just that good at big, sing-a-long choruses, why on Earth would we want them to stop? Yes, it's arena rock. But who cares? The Killers have never been ashamed of being this type of band, so why should the fact that it's big and U2-like get in the way of the fact that it's a really fucking great song?

Now, of course 'Runaways' has its little synth section in the second verse (let's face it, as much as we hated 'Human', a Killers song wouldn't be a Killers song without a synth section), but the thing which stands out most for me is the guitars. Those guitars that we haven't heard in almost six years and have missed so much it actually hurt at times. For me, Mr. Keuning has got it absolutely perfect on this record. It's not over-powered by squealing solos or power chords, it's a simple mix of subtle riffs, and it works perfectly. Well done, Tavian Go.

As you can probably tell, I could go on for hours about just how much I adore this band and this record. But there's one last thing I will say. Don't be put off by the fact that some of the older generation like The Killers. Don't be put off by the fact that they're considered a mainstream, arena rock band. Don't listen to the cool, underground indie bands telling you that this type of music is wrong. Just listen to this record, and bask in the true wonder and beauty of it.