Sticking it to the man
THE KILLERS Wonderful Wonderful ★★★★ Island
Long gone are the eye-linered days of
Hot Fuss, when any member of The Killers could have been the hungover lad serving you in Topman, and in its place stands Wonderful Wonderful, a slow deconstruction of modern masculinity.
By namedropping Bruce Springsteen on Out of My Mind as an attempt to warm up a distant lover, we see the pedestal of manhood that Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. are eying up. With Jacknife Lee, Erol Alkan and Stuart Price producing,
Wonderful Wonderful veers towards U2’s Rattle and Hum faux-Americana era but at least Flowers has the sense to wear something more dazzling than a waistcoat… with nothing underneath.
The Man is a glitzy, upbeat disco number that undermines the idea that fame and money make a man, when these things can evaporate in a hot second. The theme continues on Tyson Vs. Douglas. With audio from the 1990 boxing match, which saw underdog Buster Douglas take out world champion Mike Tyson, we learn that everything we have can be taken in one quick undercut, with the winner unsure of what to do next.
Run for Cover’s cutting guitars and sentiment are standard Killers material and as Flowers paints a darkened picture of domestic abuse, he promises that anything is possible. “It’s hard to pack the car when all you do is shame us, it’s even harder when the dirtbag’s famous,” he strains. The Calling, a dragging, accusatory song, begins with a sombre passage from the Bible (Matthew 9:10-11 to be precise) read by Woody Harrelson. Drawling Jesus’s usual yarn of love thy neighbour, it’s a challenge to question who and what we worship, from religion to masculinity to our fallen heroes.
There are microdoses of flamboyance from the Las Vegas act but they’re subtle to hammer home the point that all, as wonderful as it may sometimes appear, is not what it seems. thekillersmusic.com LOUISE BRUTON