10 years together, 7 Grammy nominations, 4 studio albums, 1 B side compilation and The Killers are back with their nostalgic, all killer(s), no filler collection Direct Hits.
Now, I know what you’re all thinking “Woah, a best of already? Come on Brandon Flowers, that’s just crazy talk!” and I agree, I was a bit sceptical myself about the release of a best of so early on in their career, and hell, even drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr has come out to say “It feels like a douchie move” and that “We’d wait another 10 years if it was up to us, but it’s a contractual thing”. So that leaves us with the predicament of “why am I listening to this?”
For the most part, Direct Hits really is just that, it’s snappy, it’s all the Killers songs you know and love and it’s in an easily accessible format, with a few extra’s at the end just to spice things up.
There is something really quite interesting about hearing The Killers evolve throughout the album too, it takes you on a journey through Hot Fuss all the way to Battle Born with, a very interesting track list, which dare I say, is more focused on their releases from Day & Age onwards.
Listening to this a few times over, it does kinda get into a lull and you find yourself wishing that they did put more focus on their earlier work. Both Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town were (arguably) their best albums to date, and listening to tracks like ‘Mr. Brightside’ and ‘When You Were Young’ really showcases The Killers finest hour, which makes it a shame they do get lost at the beginning of the album.
Unfortunately due to this, the entirety of the album does highlight their progressive spiral from cool Vegas indie lads, to generic pop rock stars.
New track ‘Shot At The Night’, with the help of M83’s Anthony Gonzalez, does pick up the pace again with it’s synthy electro pop mixed with the bravado of Brandon Flowers’ vocals, but sadly, leaves a lot to be desired. As catchy as it is, does not save the album like I’d hoped it would.
If you look past the sting of a contractually binding ‘best of’ and past the mediocrity from track ‘Human’ onwards, Direct Hits is a nice reminder of times that have been, and that The Killers are still alive and kicking. Like Ronnie Vannucci Jr said himself, a best of woulda/coulda/shoulda been released 10 years from now, but it’s here today, and it ain’t that bad.