The Killers, Hot Fuss

posted by Jason Kottke Aug 13, 2004

On a recommendation from Justin, I picked up Hot Fuss by a group called The Killers. It's their debut album, but the band already seems to have it together. Here's a favorite track of mine from the album: Mr. Brightside (mp3, 5.1Mb).

And if anyone out there in Kottkeland has an extra ticket to The Killers show on Monday in NYC, I'm so totally not doing anything that evening. (Kottkeland? WTF? (I know! Boo! I'll take it out. (On second thought, I'm leaving it in, but I should probably erase this. (Nope, I'm leaving that in too. [please erase this self-indulgent crap or I'm killing the piece -ed] (Nice try, but it's all self-indulgent, dumbass. (See!))))))

Reader comments

MattAug 13, 2004 at 10:08AM

I gave it a listen. Sounds like one of those bands that.. sounds like every other band doing that type of music. That's not to say it's bad, it just sounds a lot like one of those albums that would blend into the overall background radiation of the rest of my CD collection.

ericAug 13, 2004 at 10:12AM

at least you balanced your parentheses. geek :)

NoahAug 13, 2004 at 10:16AM

If you like The Killers, you also might want to check out Robbers on High Street - Fine Lines and The Fever - Red Bedroom. Both are debut full-lengths and quite good (like The Killers, they're both fairly Strokes-esque). In a completely different direction, if you haven't heard the new Kings of Convenience (and you're into that stuff) check that out too, I think it's fantastic.

LalitreeAug 13, 2004 at 10:23AM

Am I a hopeless modern if I love meta-meta stuff like paragraph 2? 'Cause I do.

JeremyAug 13, 2004 at 10:35AM

If you like the killers, check out the following:

Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

MattAug 13, 2004 at 10:38AM

I was actually reminded of And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead.

I'm actually on a Modest Mouse binge myself right now, though from what my younger (18-21 y.o. - I'm 25) friends tell me, Modest Mouse is seen as overwrought "nu punk" so I'm not sure if liking them makes me unhip. =P

Mr. SpecimenAug 13, 2004 at 10:43AM

'Jenny was a friend of mine' is a song I can play over and over and over and over again.

Becky FAug 13, 2004 at 10:47AM

Just a testimonial: go see The Killers, if you can find the tickets. I had heard about them (and, as a side bar, Franz Ferdinand) from my friend in NYC late last winter; they were his "hot picks" for the first half of 2004. So I went to see them open for Stellastarr* here in Chicago in April or so, and The Killers had far more "rock star" presence than Stellastarr* did, (though I thought Stellastarr was alright) . I was blown away by the confidence and sexy rock persona the 22 year old lead singer had (you *might* not be so impressed with the sexiness). They're a great, tight band, and, though another commenter had it right when they said they sounded like a lot of other bands doing this kind of music, they do it very, very well. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

williamAug 13, 2004 at 10:48AM

Shutup already. You're neither DFW nor Eggers.

vaskaAug 13, 2004 at 10:51AM

Nice song. Reminds me a bit of that great Underworld song (from Trainspotting) with that build of energy in the intro. I'll certainly check them out a little more.

I'll third or fourth anything Modest Mouse. They've been doing their thing since 94' (is it?) so I don't think they are so 'nu punk'. Their early works are considered essential listening to most rockars I know of...if that counts for anything.

JAug 13, 2004 at 10:51AM

Get Franz Ferdinand, Jason. You will love it.

jkottkeAug 13, 2004 at 10:57AM

I like Franz but Modest Mouse doesn't do it for me for some reason. It gets recommended to me all the time and I've listened to Good News...Bad News a few times and can't get into it.

Shutup already. You're neither DFW nor Eggers.

I have been zinged and I loved it.

JAug 13, 2004 at 11:01AM

I bought Modest Mouse ages ago... I like it/I don't like it. It's weird. There are days when I "get" them, and there are days I don't and I go, "What the hell is this?"

kingbennyAug 13, 2004 at 11:20AM

thanks for posting that, I love that song and I think I'll pick up the album... i'm having trouble comparing their sound to anything I've heard lately.

Swami PremAug 13, 2004 at 11:22AM

I dig this band! They are from Las Vegas.

gordAug 13, 2004 at 11:23AM

After downloading this song off your site and listening to it, I had to run out and grab the album.

I have the Modest Mouse album too, and at first I really disliked it, but after listening to it a couple of times, there are some tracks on the Good News album that rock.

ghjessAug 13, 2004 at 11:30AM

Don't diss Modest Mouse! This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About is the one album I can't possibly live without. Try out some older stuff if you don't like Good News.

MikeAug 13, 2004 at 11:32AM

Great tune, I think I just found my next music purchase. Thanks.

sockdaddyAug 13, 2004 at 11:33AM

man, The Killers rock. i picked up this album a few weeks ago b/c it was recommended at Virgin, and it has been in my laptop ever since. they might have a sound that can be identified with some other bands out there right now, but these guys seems to have a "finish" and tightness to their recordings that blows away everything else i've been listening to.

even Franz Ferdinand, which i bought on the same day.

f5Aug 13, 2004 at 11:43AM


Just a quick thought about Modest Mouse (and I'm sure I'll get slammed for saying this). Their new album is essentially them finishing out their contract and agree to sound more commercial to please their label. It's okay...really, it's just okay. Modest Mouse's older stuff -- ANY of it -- is way way better. I'd say give Moon and Antarctica a listen (if you haven't already), it's definitely a studio-refined album, but it's still them when they were really good.

DaveAug 13, 2004 at 11:52AM

I don't know how anyone makes out that The Killers sound like Franz Ferdinand, but I never get all these comparisons that people make anyway!

The Killers are brilliant, especially the first half of the album. It gets a bit poorer after that, but it's still good. I narrowly missed them at Oxegen which is something I'm still regretting!

jkottkeAug 13, 2004 at 12:28PM

Who's DFW?

He's either talking about the Dallas/Fort Worth airport or David Foster Wallace, an American author of some repute.

MerrickAug 13, 2004 at 12:41PM

I saw The Killers open up for the yeahyeahyeahs in San Diego a couple of months ago - the band members do not gel on stage. It seemed like the lead singer had just met the other guys that night. The CD is allright though, a few good songs.

samAug 13, 2004 at 12:47PM

cool song. video's available, too.

aside: i still haven't had a day where i "get" modest mouse.

DavidAug 13, 2004 at 12:52PM

If all you've listened to is Good News, you really aren't giving Modest Mouse a fair try. Considering how different it is from the rest of their eight or so albums and EPs, using that album to judge the band itself is a bad idea. If you don't enjoy Good News too much, that's understandable (especially when Satin in a Coffin and Dance Hall make it into your listening experience. Ouch). But listen to some older stuff, likeLonesome Crowded West, Nothing out of Something, and Parlour Tricks. Honestly, a lot (maybe most) of their music is great.

MattAug 13, 2004 at 1:05PM

He's either talking about the Dallas/Fort Worth airport or David Foster Wallace, an American author of some repute.

Oh, the lobster guy. Why didn't you say so! I suggest we purge "DFW" from the record and replace all references to him with "The Lobster Guy", for us aliterati.

MichaelAug 13, 2004 at 1:37PM

I was surprised the song you posted was "Mr. Brightside". I think "Somebody Told Me" is easily their best song. In fact it's so good, compared to the rest of the album, that I think they could be destined for one hit wonder status. The radios have been playing it non-stop out here on the west coast for awhile now, are they playing it as much out there? Maybe they are and that's why you put Mr. Brightside up.

quisAug 13, 2004 at 1:47PM

Best Modest Mouse song I've heard (if you want a sample listen and might be one of those bad bad people that use those evil p2p software programs) is "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset".

This might be getting a bit tangential now, but in the kind of "emo" (urgh) vein I've just started listening to At The Drive-In again, and everyone should hear "Napoleon Solo".

joshAug 13, 2004 at 2:02PM

Modest Mouse is great (The Moon and Antarctica is a masterpiece), but I have no idea why so many people are recommending them based on the Killers. The two bands aren't even in the same musicplasma galaxies!

I like the Killers, though my guess is that they won't age gracefully. They have the Strokes/Franz Ferdinand/etc. sound, distilled, and put into a shiny package for accessible listening enjoyment. Yet I've gone for a couple of weeks wanting to listen to them over and over again.

JBRAug 13, 2004 at 2:34PM

This is the first time I've spieled on this, but I feel compelled... Why on Earth are so many otherwise intelligent people, who otherwise offer such keen insight on the contemporary human condition, so tunnel blind when it comes to music? Everyone is so narrowly focused on indie rock, it's maddening. There's so much unbelievable stuff out there but to read blog after blog you'd think that everyone is as uniform in their tastes as a group of suburban mall-frequenting junior high kids. And the music that gets promoted is the same old sh*t, recycled over and over and over again. EXPAND YOUR MIND. Listen to something that's not on the cool college rock station's Top 25. We've heard the latest 20-something-with-cool-hairdo-band's take on (insert post-punk/no-wave/etc. here) only like 10,000 times now. Move on. The Killers are no different. Ten years from now no one will give a sh*t about The Killers. It's disposable b/c it sounds like everything else. I'm holding out for a blog or group of blogs written by people who DIG DEEP for the real stuff instead of listening to the crap that's churned out en masse. I know kottke.org isn't a music blog - and I love it, that's why I'm here - but it seems like as good a place as any to rant on this. Next time you buy an album, ask yourself, "Why this album?"

LalitreeAug 13, 2004 at 2:54PM

Indie rock is the new Top 40? Well damn. I'm just going to stay in my room and listen to Jandek then. (Actually JBR you'll find that as with any other musical grouping, there are strata of indie rock and FF/MM/The Killers happen to be at the upper crust right now, which means that a lot of people who dabble in indie rock are going to love them & recommend them to others in the way that say, Jeremy did up there in the early comments. Seems your problem is with the dabblers, perhaps? I like FF and the Killers seem okay, though I find "Somebody Told Me" mostly a bit vapid.)

JBRAug 13, 2004 at 4:24PM

Yeah, re: Lalitree's comment, one key recurring theme is genre classification, which is a fascinating area of study... Is music classification typically inductive or deductive; i.e., do people listen to (e.g.) The Killers and say, "Oh, this is indie rock," or do people have some Platonic ideal of indie rock (and are able to articulate its attributes) and, by virtue of its manifest sound, The Killers are filed thusly. Of course it's a bit of both, but the question of *who* does the classifying and *how* the classifying gets done is what's interesting. Personally, I suspect that as soon as something *sounds* like indie rock, I start to steer clear of it. Is this b/c most indie rock isn't good (to me), or b/c I have intellectualized the distinction between indie rock and, say, "experimental" genres into my identity? Am I rambling, or am I actually onto something useful for discussion here?

MichaelAug 13, 2004 at 4:26PM

I'm not defending The Killers however I would hardly call them college rock or indie rock, for from it. These guys are pure pop rock. What recent albums do you suggest JBR?

JBRAug 13, 2004 at 4:39PM

I'm not falling into that trap - then the focus moves to another random guy's recommended albums. I was just hoping to urge whoever reads this thread to challenge themselves more in terms of music appreciation. There's a sameness to indie rock (and "power pop," "pure pop rock," I could go on and on) as there's a sameness to teen-oriented top 40... I know that to some extent this is what genre classification is about, but I think that indie rock fans (based on some I know, used to know, etc.) often congratulate themselves for listening to something *different* when in fact the sound, structure, approach, etc. of the track/album in question is not at all far removed from the stuff they deem inferior. Too often it's a matter of attitude and style, not substance. If we as music fans vote with our $ and demand more original music, maybe we'll get it.

DanielAug 13, 2004 at 4:56PM

the killers are great. I saw them here in san diego before the cd came out and their shows are awesome. I've already written up my little review on my weblog aswell. Glad to here the killers are spreading!

grantAug 13, 2004 at 4:59PM

People like what they like, JBR. I for one don't really make a lot of judgements, what I listen to isn't superior because it's this genre or that genre, it's superior because I like it--and if the rest of you windbags don't get that, then obviously your taste is crap, nothing to see here, move along.

Franz, Modest, Killers. Personally, they don't hold up to repeated listening the way, say, Pavement does. That said, who cares?

Why should listening to music take on the transformation into "challenging one's self more appreciate music". Poppycock. Your very attitude about there being right kinds and wrong kinds of music to appreciate is no different than some indie-cred hipster doofus' illusions that listening to the NYC indie band du jour is somehow superior to bobbing up Lil Jon driving R&B anthem of the

There's a sameness to that kind of lame sophistry if you ask me.

That said, wrangle it back over to a constructive tip: make some recommendations about what you think is worth listening to.

Also, last month I saw Jeremy and Achilles from The Fever in a three-way makeout with the Last Tranny Left in the Meatpacking District. Wait. No I didn't.

Robert AndrewsAug 13, 2004 at 5:31PM

They're great, aren't they? I've just got into them too.

ZooeyAug 13, 2004 at 6:07PM

I must admit that if I were to suddenly mention music in an otherwise non-music blog, it would not be the very generic-sounding Killers. Although, after a second and third listen they begin to grow on you a little.

What about truly unique bands like Explosions in the Sky or Magnetic Fields? Had any of you even heard of Modest Mouse before their radio play or the commercial? Probably not. Built to Spill are better than Modest Mouse, I'm afraid.

I have recently been turned on to Death from Above. Very intense.

scottandrewAug 13, 2004 at 6:42PM

I enjoyed that track a lot, but I think it needs more cowbell.

Colin RamsayAug 13, 2004 at 6:51PM

The Killers are good, but have fallen foul of that old chestnut - a good band who make an average album.

Embrace are another UK band who have been going a while and are about to release their fourth album. The first single from it, Gravity, was written by the singer from Coldplay, and is quite nice, though not representative of the album.

They have an excellent and variety back catalogue, but I urge you to look out for their new album - it's called Out of Nothing and is very good indeed.

www.embrace.co.uk and www.happyandlost.co.uk (fansite) for more.

nickAug 13, 2004 at 9:40PM

Hi Jason,

You might also like The Bees, I have a track online here. Not all their songs sound like your in an Austin Powers movie... Go to their website and check out the other tunes before making a decision though ;) Also check out The Delays.


Tom ArmitageAug 14, 2004 at 4:20AM

I've only heard Mr Brightside, and liked it a lot; however, the more I listen to it, the more I think "Echo and the Bunnymen".

Even though I don't exactly know a lot of Bunnymen. Anyone care to explain?

WillAug 14, 2004 at 11:40PM

What's Up NYC is giving away free tickets -some kind of lottery.

(Sorry, I can't figure out what the anchor tag is. It's not a long scroll to get there though.)

CoryAug 15, 2004 at 12:57AM

Both Mr. Brightside and Somebody told me are on super-ultra-mega-heavy rotation on KROQ here in LA, with each of them getting several plays an hour.

MachadoAug 15, 2004 at 6:21PM

Unless I am very much mistaken, I have just left a completely useless comment.

Sam WalkerAug 15, 2004 at 9:31PM

If you like the killers, check out the following:

Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

I don't see how you could find any resemblance at all between the song linked here and Modest Mouse.

DerekAug 15, 2004 at 11:55PM

Got a recent gig to shoot the killers private concert in Seattle
If you so desire you can check em out here.




adrianAug 16, 2004 at 1:32AM

Zooey, what music blogs do you recommend? I'm enjoying Death From Above's Romantic Rights from their site.

Zach HaleAug 16, 2004 at 4:43AM

Heh, these guys rock. I'm actually wearing a Hot Fuss shirt I picked up when they played in Seattle about a month ago. They are also playing at Bumbershoot Labor Day weekend. These guys rock. I really like "All These Things That I've Done". It is definetly great stuff.

I would suggest checking out: Metric - One World Underground, Where Are You Now? with the single "Combat Baby" (which was free on iTMS a few weeks ago).

stephen who makes bad suggestionsAug 16, 2004 at 2:26PM

Umm... Yeah, Listen to eisely-Marvelous things
They dont sound anything like the killers... But still!!

No! Better yet!! Listen to Neautral milk hotel!

and when your done with that, finish it off with that damn donny darko song! The gary jules one... you know!

ZooeyAug 17, 2004 at 11:47AM

Adrian, go to divestar.org

Sarah EspositoAug 18, 2004 at 9:36AM

Does this remind anyone else of Jimmy Eat World or Eve 6?
BTW Modest Mouse kick ass, they're like reading a Sam Shepard play...they would probably "get" each other

Mark CraneAug 18, 2004 at 5:49PM

Why is David Foster Wallace the lobster guy?

FaithAug 19, 2004 at 12:21AM

I'm glad you posted Mr. Brightside instead of Somebody Told Me... Somebody Told Me has been getting too much radio time here. You know when they play a song over and over...IMO, I think Mr. Brightside is a lot more relaxing on the ears than Somebody Told Me.

Doesn't remind me of Jimmy Eat World or Eve 6. But if their only hit is Somebody Told Me, then they probably will.

sarah knappAug 19, 2004 at 12:32PM

Theres a band coming out of coventry uk called SCI-FI MAFIA .

Try and get downloads of them, very 80s ,very raw and very heavy.Like a cyber Janes Addiction , highy recommended,could be big.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.