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From Boys to Hitmen
They've waved goodbye to Sam's town, and gone for the stadium rock jugular with their new Day & Age album.
Olaf Tyaransen, 20 Nov 2008
Two minutes into my interview with Brandon Flowers, the surprisingly preppy-looking singer and keyboardist of mega-selling Las Vegas indie outfit The Killers, and I’m nervously scanning his vast London hotel suite for hidden cameras. There’s obviously some kind of weird joke being perpetrated here. Why else would the 27-year-old rock star be avoiding eye-contact and sniggering like a schoolgirl?
On the way into the room, his press handler had quietly advised me not to ask Flowers about the lyrics from the band’s new single ‘Human’. The first cut off their soon-to-be-released third long player, Day & Age, ‘Human’ sounds like a glorious hybrid of the Pet Shop Boys and U2. It’s four minutes of synth-heavy, sweeping, epic rock, and boasts the rather melancholic chorus, “My sign is vital/My hands are cold/And I’m on knees, looking for the answer/Are we human, or are we dancer?”
“Brandon has already been asked, ‘What does ‘Are we dancer?’ mean?’ about 100 times by journalists,” the handler informs me. “So you’re probably better off not going there!”
Actually, I’m already aware that the lyrics were inspired by a Hunter S. Thompson quote, in which the late gonzo journalist bemoaned the fact that America was raising “a generation of dancers.” Given that Thompson’s most infamous book was the chemi-crazed Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas, and Vegas is The Killers’ hometown, it seems a good place to start. But perhaps not...
So, Brandon, is Hunter Thompson a big deal in Vegas?
“Not as big as Elvis!” he replies, before near-shrieking out a somewhat nerdy, girlish giggle. “Ha-ha!”
I don’t really know how to respond to that, and a good 10 seconds of awkward silence follows. Eventually, he speaks again, “Em... in France the book is translated as Las Vegas Paranoid. This is one thing I’ve learned because of all this. But, yeah, I guess he’s sort of a big thing.” Then he laughs again. “Ha-ha!”