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The Killers, <i>Hot Fuss</i> (2004) spacer The Killers, Hot Fuss (2004)
BY: Travis Scott
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Don't let the name of this of this Las Vegas quartet fool you; they are not an ultra-aggressive death metal group. Actually they land closer to the neo-retro pop genre. However, don’t be fooled by their poppy-ness either; they deal with some weighty and at times dark subject matter. Musically their songs are comprised of a lot of keyboards and synthesizers layered with catchy guitar riffs.

Lyrically they explore everything from murder and paranoia to a club scene and wistful romance. Vocalist Brandon Flowers excels at using nuance in his singing which brings a depth to the lyrics of Hot Fuss that leaves you wondering about the various possibilities of interpretations of his words.

Hot Fuss is a solid debut album from a band that seems to have a promising future. With three hits receiving much radio play the Killers are beginning to receive applause from music critics. The band already has a sizeable fan base composed mainly of college students and teens. This band and album are classic examples of why people ought not judge a book by its cover.


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Questions:
"Jenny was a Friend of Mine”
What’s you’re opinion on the strange sounds that serve as an introduction to this song? Do you think they serve any purpose? Why do you think they were included? Do you think this song is about murder? If so, what makes you think this? If not, what do you think the song is about? What seems to be the singer’s attitude towards the events that take place in this song? What gives you this impression? Do you think the music fits the story in this song? Why or why not? What do you think the bands message is with this song? Why?
“Mr. Brightside”
Where do the events described in this song take place? How does this affect how you interpret the message of the song? What are some ways that a person might misinterpret the message of this song if they didn’t listen closely? What do you think about the line “I’ve been coming out of my cage”? What’s his cage? What do you think about the statement that jealously is taking control of the singer? How you ever felt like this? What were the circumstances surrounding these feelings? How did you resolve them? Why do you think the singer calls himself Mr. Brightside? Why? What’s the significance of this name? Why do you think the song ends with the repetition of the of the phrase, “I never”?
“Smile Like You Mean It” What are your thoughts on the opening line? Why is the singer directing the boy and girl to smile like they mean it? Does the act of remembering in this song seem happy or regretful? Why? Have you ever felt like you lost track of time? When? How does the music help or hinder the emotion of the song? Why? What are your thoughts on the thoughts on the following lines? Dreams aren’t what they used to be Some things sat by so carelessly Why do you think the song ends with the words “Oh no, oh no no no”?
“Somebody Told Me” What do you think this song is about? Why? How does the wit and humor of the chorus affect the way we should hear this song? Why? Why do you think the line “Heaven ain’t close in a place like this” is included in the song? What place is he talking about? Why does he state that he’s got potential? Potential for what? Did you like this song? Why or why not? Does a song need to make complete sense for us to enjoy it? Why or why not?
“All These Things That I’ve Done” What do you think about the change of pace in the music towards the beginning of the song? Why do you think the band decided to have to song start slow and then pick up? What is the feel of this song compared the others you’ve heard on this album? Why do you think this is? What are your thoughts on the following lines?
Another head aches, another heart breaks I am so much older than I can take And my affection, well it comes and goes I need direction to perfection, no no no no
Who do you think the “You” is in this song? Why? What do you think about the line “I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier”? What do you think the singer means by this? What would you mean if you were the one uttering these words? What are your thoughts on the following lines?
Over and in, last call for sin While everyone’s lost, the battle is won With all these things that I’ve done All these things that I’ve done
What do you think he means by “last call for sin”? What battle is he talking about? What are the things he’s done?
“Andy, You’re a Star” What sort of mood does the music of this song create as you listen to it? Why? Do you find this mood appropriate for the song? Who do you think Andy is? Who do you think the person singing to Andy is? What kind of images do the lyrics evoke? What stage of life is the song dealing with? What are your thoughts about the phrase “the pain you drain from life”? Why does singer continue to repeat the words “Hey shut up, hey shut up, yeah”? What do you think the singer means by saying “Andy, you’re a star in nobodies eyes but mine”? What sort of mood does this line stir up? What are your thoughts on how the music ends? Did like or dislike the way the music concluded? Why? Was the way in which the music ended fitting with the overall tone and message of the song? Why or why not?
“On Top” What do you think this song is about? What makes you think this? What do you think he means when he says that he has “found the velvet sun that shines on me and you?” What’s a velvet sun? Who are these lyrics directed at? What is it clear that they “really need”? What are your thoughts on the following lines:
It’s like a cigarette in the mouth Or a handshake in the doorway I look at you and smile because I’m fine
How do these words fit with the rest of the song? How would you rate the poetic quality of these particular lyrics? Why? What are the analogies about? What do they communicate? Why?
“Change Your Mind” What are your thoughts on the following lines: Racey days Help me through the hopeless haze But my oh my Tragic eyes I can’t even recognize myself behind What do these words express about how the singer feels about his daily life? Have you ever felt this way? Why? How did this feeling change for you? If this feeling hasn’t changed why do you think that is?
What are your thoughts on the following lines: We’re all the same And love is blind The sun is gone Before it shines What is the emotion or sentiment that is being expressed here? How does it make you feel? Why? What do you think the question is that he is asking? Why does he want to change the person’s mind? If the answer is no do you think he can change the mind of the person he’s talking to? As the music is ending there is a noise that sounds like a door either opening or closing? Do you think it’s opening or closing? Why? How does this affect how you interpret the song as a whole? Why do you think this sound was included at the end of this song?
“Believe Me Natalie” What is he trying to get Natalie to believe? Why? What do you think the singer’s relationship with Natalie is? Why? How would you describe the mood expressed by the music and lyrics of this song? How do the lyrics and music express this mood? What do you think about the following two lines:
There’s no time for survival left The time is now…
Are these words overly dramatic? Do you think they fit with the rest of the lyrics? Why or why not? He says the time is now. What do you think he’s talking about? The time for what?
“Midnight Show” This song has the fastest tempo of all the songs on the last third of this CD. Is it appropriate to the message of the song? Why? Why do you think the song was chosen for this position on the album? How does it fit with the songs which surround it? What do you think the ‘ midnight show’ is? Why? How do you think the singer feels about the girl(s) he’s singing to? Why?
What are your thoughts on the following lines: Make it go away without a word But promise me you’ll stay And fix these things I’ve hurt Oh make it go away!
What are your thoughts on the musical composition and instrumentation of this song, particularly towards the end of the song?
“Everything Will Be Alright” How would you describe this song? Is it a love song, a lament, a song of hope, etc.? Does the line “I’m dreaming ‘bout those dreamy eyes” give you any clues as to how to interpret this song? If so, what are they? Does the music fit this interpretation? How? Do you find the repetition of the line “Everything will be alright” to be purposeful or annoying? Why? Is this the type of song you would want sung to you? Why or why not? Is this the type of song you would sing to someone else? Why or why not?


Source:
The Killers: Hot Fuss (2004)
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about the author
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Travis Scott
Travis is a graduate of of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. He enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife and daughter. When he's not doing that he likes to spend time sitting in cafes pretending to be productive while drinking way too much coffee. He is a church planter in Auckland, New Zealand and also teaches practical theology at Grace Theological College. He's happy that Denis still lists him as a contributing editor for Critique even though he hasn't contributed much lately. His random musings on life can be found at: www.transpacificism.blogspot.com.
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