Artist: The Killers
Title: Wonderful Wonderful
Genre: Alternative Rock/Pop Rock/New Wave
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Length: 43 min.
Producers: Erol Alkan, Jacknife Lee, Stuart Price, and The Killers
Personnel: Brandon Flowers (Lead Vocals, Keyboards), Dave Keuning (Guitars), Mark Stoermer (Bass, Guitars), and Ronnie Vannucci (Drums, Percussion)
Additional Personnel: Erol Alkan (Synthesizers, Percussion, Keyboards), Woody Harrelson (Spoken Word on “The Calling”), Davide Rossi (Strings), Jacknife Lee (Guitars, Keyboards), and Mark Knopfler (Guitar on “Have All the Songs Been Written?”)
I’ve enjoyed many of The Killers singles in the past, like “Mr. Brightside,” “Somebody Told Me,” “All These Things That I’ve Done,” and even some of their Christmas songs, especially “Boots.” Yet I’ve never been huge on their albums. Still, with The Killers not having released an album since 2012’s Battle Born, I was interested in Wonderful Wonderful. So I dove in.
“Wonderful Wonderful” is a good, building, widespread opener. “The Man” starts out as a really fun throwback to ’70s disco, like the Bee Gees, plus modern glam pop, like Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” or much of the material from The Weeknd. However, what it leads up to before its ending, the bridge and more, is more cringey than it should be and not as satisfying as it could be. “Rut” is a fun song, but without an enjoyable dedication to the over-the-top. “Life to Come” starts out like an ’80s rock ballad from somebody like Bryan Adams mixed with U2 and Bruce Springsteen. It’s actually pretty good. Then, “Run for Cover” comes on, and it’s even better, one of my favorite tunes on Wonderful Wonderful. There is a real energy and emotion here, and it sounds like there is a story behind it, too.
Getting to the second half of the album, “Tyson vs Douglas” has an interesting title, for sure, and, for the most part, it delivers on that interest. It feels close to the heart and has an intriguing premise. It also sounds like a mix between Weezer pop punk and ’80s synth pop. “Out of My Mind,” for me, is kind of unremarkable, though very synth-y ’80s glam mixed with modern pop, and the way they play the simplistic tune and perform the simplistic lyrics is, admittedly, a little enchanting. “The Calling” starts out with a spoken section of some verses from Matthew chapter nine read by Woody Harrelson, of all people. The song, when the spoken section transitions into it, feels very blues and gospel influenced. It’s got a sort of rock ‘n’ roll, Rolling Stones touch, plus a sort of Arctic Monkeys and synthy hip-hop vibe. “Have All the Songs Been Written?” is a bit of a weak closer. It should be better, starting out like a hymn and turning into a Dire Straits flavor, which is fitting since Mark Knopfler himself added his guitar to this track. Pieces of the song also remind me of the build-up on The Killers “All These Things That I’ve Done,” except, in this case, that’s the whole song. Throughout all the tunes in Wonderful Wonderful‘s track listing, The Killers maintain their identity.
Besides what I’ve already mentioned, Wonderful Wonderful is probably The Killers’ most personal, mellow, and settled album. However, it has received mixed feelings from dedicated and casual Killers fans alike for the inconsistency of its tracks and the emotions they portray. Yet there is a lot to like in the glamorous, glossy production and the juxtaposition of such genres as indie pop, alternative rock, heartland rock, pop punk, and new wave. Maybe The Killers have done it better, but they’re doing it pretty well here, too. Are they at their most memorable? Probably not. But I think they’re at their most mature.
I’m going to give The Killers’ Wonderful Wonderful a 71%.