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Song of the Week: The Killers Bring a Message of Hope with the Anthemic “boy”

mxmtoon, Spielbergs and Samara Joy also dropped essential tracks

boy the killers
The Killers’ “boy” artwork, photo by Anton Corbijn
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    Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, The Killers return to their synth rock roots with “boy.”


    Nearly a year from the release of their introverted seventh studio album Pressure Machine, The Killers have returned to their synth-heavy arena rock with their new track, “boy.” Back when they debuted the song last month at Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival, Brandon Flowers told Consequence that “boy” is a song that they’ve had in their back pockets for a while, and now it was time for it to see the light of day.

    Within “boy” are traces of every Killers album to date: the chopping hi-hats from drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr. are reminiscent of Hot Fuss, Dave Keuning’s expressive guitar lines evoke the heartland rock of Battle Born, and Flowers’ personal, symbolic lyrics feel right in line with the stories of Pressure Machine. But the biggest comparison is undoubtedly the band’s third album, Day & Age, which featured similarly glittering synths, shout-along, heartfelt choruses, and philosophical quandaries dressed over dance beats.

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    According to Flowers, “boy” came at the onset of the pandemic as he returned to his hometown in Utah, in between the outburst of energy from 2020’s Imploding The Mirage and the solemn direction of Pressure Machine. Flowers speaks both to himself and to his sons, meditating on the past while providing a sense of hope and guidance for the future. Interestingly, Flowers employs a vocal effect that gives a watery hue to his anthemic melodies, imbuing a small, but definable, sense of doubt to an otherwise motivating song.

    But his primary thesis — the command “don’t overthink it, boy” — is repeated throughout, urging himself and his sons to free themselves from anxiety and expectations. Flowers works in short phrases, conjuring brief but striking images. “Only diesels dance/ these streets weren’t meant to house/ jet fuel engine drеams,” he sings in the second verse, reflecting on the lapse between his ambitions and his small town’s resistance to change.

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    And yet, Flowers wants us all to know that “there is a place that exists” — all we need to do is “just give it time.” It’s a lesson that Flowers has learned throughout his lengthy career as a rockstar, and it’s a message of hope and resilience that becomes a celebration on top of the band’s bright synth rock.

    Sometimes it’s difficult to see the happiness and relief on the other side of anguish, but The Killers want you to know that against all odds, it will arrive. And for now, don’t overthink it, just give it time; a simple but profound lesson.

    — Paolo Ragusa
    Editorial Coordinator


    Honorable Mentions

    mxmtoon – “kaleidoscope”

    Bedroom pop artist mxmtoon has just announced the deluxe version of this year’s Rising album, and with it, shared the effervescent “kaleidoscope.” The song is an ode to breaking conventions and living your life outside the box; she begins the song crooning “I was born in a box/ and taught to be soft/ learned to draw within the lines” before asking the listener “can you pay attention/ more than one dimension?” Her delicate, shimmering voice may not suggest the chaos that she sings about in the song’s chorus, but her confidence, creative lyrics, and driving instrumentals represent a newer, more psychedelic side of mxmtoon. — P.R.

    carobae – “till the day i ___”

    Indie darling carobae is a great reminder of the diversity of sounds coming out of Music City. The Nashville-based artist and producer is back with “till the day i ___,” an honest track that hinges right in the middle ground between catchy and raw. Throughout the song, she digs into pressures that apply not just to life as a musician and creative, but also to people in their ’20s doing their best to navigate an increasingly overwhelming and chaotic world. With a debut album set to arrive this fall, things are just starting to take off for carobae. — Mary Siroky

    Spielbergs – “The New Years Resolution”

    Norwegian rock trio Spielbergs are back with another blistering single, “The New Years Resolution,” which is set to appear on their forthcoming sophomore LP Vestli (out August 19th). The song never loses its immediate urgency, thanks to drummer Christian Løvhaug’s frenetic drive behind the kit. But similar to earlier tracks “When They Come For Me” and “Brother of Mine,” there’s an atmospheric fuzz that characterizes the production on “The New Years Resolution,” and it results in a sound that feels as delicate and lush as it is massive and anthemic.

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    Chatting with Consequence this summer ahead of their Mad Cool Festival debut, frontman Mads Baklien said that the band strives to “make as much noise as possible” when playing live. It’s definitely apparent in their recordings — but there’s a striking distance that the band employs to separate you from the sheer power of their music, and it makes songs like “The New Years Resolution” all the more satisfying. — P.R.

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