"Who's the man with the plan? I'm the man," exclaims Brandon Flowers on The Man, the second track and first single of Wonderful Wonderful. The Man is the most brazenly funky and unashamedly poppy song on the album, and its lyrics find Flowers consumed by an insatiably vain form of masculinity (to the point of self-destruction; the accompanying video finds Flowers rejected by all parties he tries to impress with his macho swagger).
There's something about the song that feels entirely ridiculous, and at the same time, very great. It's delightfully tongue-in-cheek, partly thanks to its thumping beat, glittering synths and Flowers' flawless falsetto. It's not 2017's Mr Brightside, which is a good thing - rather, it's proof that The Killers are moving with the times while maintaining their ability to write coherent and playful rock songs.
That Flowers continues to stay devoted to The Killers despite his success as a solo musician is impressive; the band is fragmenting, with guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer opting to no longer tour with the band. The frontman remains focused and thoughtful throughout Wonderful Wonderful, and it makes for an engaging and dynamic album - but there's a safety to it that makes for a number of middling moments, and songs that rival The Man only appear a couple more times (the energetic Run For Cover and the delicate, ethereal Some Kind of Love are standouts).
Flowers told Timeout that the album was inspired in part by his wife's struggle with Complex PTSD - and that making the album was a "healing experience". There are certainly moments of tenderness, but on Out of My Mind, the lyrics are confusingly self-centred: "I stormed the gates of Graceland/To make you realize/Went back to back with Springsteen/You turned and rolled your eyes."
Rock music has to fight harder than ever to stay relevant in 2017, and there's no denying that Flowers has still got it - writing a good rock song that uses the 1990 Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas fight as a way to explore the idea of imperfect heroes is no mean feat (Tyson vs Douglas). Flowers' self-referential lyrics leave a lot to be desired, but his hard work and unrelenting energy manages to steer Wonderful Wonderful close enough to its titular adjective.
The Killers, Wonderful Wonderful
Not exactly wonderful, but there are some killer tunes
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