The Killers are, perhaps without truly knowing it, the laughingstock of rock and roll. Brandon Flowers harbors a sort of aloof super ego that insulates him from any criticism, or at least allows him to deflect it and thus maintain his serious rock pretensions. We knew they were rip-off artists when their debut LP “Hot Fuss” made Flowers and his rhinestone-encrusted synthesizer famous. But since the tunes were somewhat catchy, many let it pass.
Then “Sam’s Town” comes out and Flowers & Co. tried to convince us that they were, at bottom, purveyors of Americana in the vein of Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty. We knew this to be false, but again, for some reason it was allowed. They even managed to fool the ex-Sex Pistols guitarist and radio personality Steve Jones, who played their tunes a number of times on Jonesy’s Jukebox. Then of course they dazzled the world with the lyric “Are we human or are we dancer,” claiming it was inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, no doubt to lend it a shred of hip cache and a modicum of meaning. Whatever, we know the Killers are the douchebags who linger at a party far too long, hoping to woo that drunken chick sitting in a pile of her own vomit. No need to beat a dead horse.
It’s a tradition for The Killers to release Christmas singles and videos, so the latest shouldn’t come as a surprise. But with the release of The Killers latest Christmas single and video “I Feel It In My Bones,” I’m forced to almost entirely re-evaluate my position on the band. Not because it’s good (it’s fuckin’ horrendous), but because it demonstrates a sort of post-modern or meta version of The Killers. In the song and the video they seem to be winking at their own douchebaggery, as though they were directing comic impersonators on the latest SNL sketch.
The Killers can cast the single off as charity since it benefits the (RED) campaign—which aids the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa—which is all well and good, but such a cause deserves some real artistry, not hackery.
Alas, the band’s motives could all be lost on me. After all, The Flaming Lips are clearly fans of the Christmas holiday, and have used it as a platform to make spectacularly weird pop music. But can The Killers be up to something similar given that Flowers has practically begged for his band’s critical approval? Artistically, I don’t think they’re capable of such creativity, but they are certainly shrewd manipulators of the music sales market, able to convince fans and other impressionable fools to gobble up their musical excretions with mucho gusto. In that respect The Killers are the Nickelback of indie pop music: more of a corporation than a musical entity.
But the foregoing wasn’t really necessary. Listen to and see the musical abortion for yourselves. And thank the universe that Jesus isn’t here to see it.