It’s mind numbingly difficult to point out a singular musical influence that hit me upside the head, there are lots of those. Know what I mean? Maybe one day I have a stable mental list like Def Leppard, Dire Straits, Gorillaz, Durran Durran, and so on. Then there are the days I can’t even.
But if you asked me what bands have kicked me in the solar plexus, I could count them off one hand and have fingers to spare. They had me seeing stars on impact and there is a part of me, a questing part of me, that hasn’t looked back.
One of them, as you can tell by now, is The Killers. Frontman (and sometimes bass) Brandon Flowers, in particular, is a magnetic son of a bitch and I say that with much affection. There’s a perpetual faraway look on his face I’ve yet to see on someone else.
The rest of the band is not to be neglected. We’ve got Dave Keuning on lead guitar and backing vocals, Mark Stoermer with bass, backing vocals and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. on drums and percussion. Together they make magic, transcending beyond what I though Indie Rock meant and felt like.
One of my uncles introduced me to them seven years ago, along with a good number of other artists that have shaped my tastes to this day. I recalled being torn asunder, put back together again and afterward, I could see a new corner of the world that was previously unknown to me. The Killers were the first set of musicians that got me. I witnessed grown-up sentiments that I was just beginning to understand, they sang me to knowledge that I’m still trying to truly comprehend. Weirdly, I felt embraced.
There are so many pain numbing, euphoric numbers, that at first, I thought I’d include a cult classic like Mr. Brightside that tells of unrequited love (as I understand). But personally, I felt the more recent Shot at the Night best illustrates that untouchable charm Flowers got going on, not to mention it makes the 80’s geek in me rejoice. Untouchable yet it had me, arguably a grown woman, in tears.
I’ve listened to them out of chronology, however, I definitely felt their style evolve from the youthful bare bones of hypnotizing drum beats, raw vocals and precisely jangling riffs to adding synths and melodic mixes without losing their essential sound but grew into a more mature creature reflecting their rich store of substance and wild ability of storytelling, their appeal and relatability to people from a sprawling spectrum.
There’s another untouchable aspect to this band that lies far within their their-ness that mere words cannot describe, part of which the previous paragraph contributes towards. I think … I believe has to do with the utmost humility and sincerity with which they give themselves to us. They feel, they understand and respect each said sentiment they rip from their minds and souls and offer to us with knowing mouths and blistered hands.
You know what, screw it. Here’s Mr. Brightside because it’s too damned good to miss.
I don’t listen to them as much as I used to, it’s true, but the fact is that they’re my equivalent to a secret stash of chocolate to keep the dementors away. When I need perspective, when I need focus they are here for me.
Every freaking time, I swear, I am overcome with nostalgia and a rip-roaring yearning for tomorrow in the face of my fears. There are not many things that inspire that in me. And I am forever grateful. I imagine it’s a similar feeling shared among long-time fans of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance.
Have you been a long-time fan yourself, or more recent? Never heard of them? Then you know what to do. What bands or solo artists do you hold close to your heart? Have you ever fallen out? Back in again?
Here’s to good music and standing up to your demons. To growing, bit by painful bit, into the person you want to be.
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