Spotlight: Why ‘The Man’ is the defining song of The Killers

As Genius describes it, ‘”The Man” is a meditation on modern masculinity- complete with a disco-rock beat”.

Today I’m making ‘The Man’ by The Killers as my spotlight track. Do I have a whole host of reasons for this that I’m going to bore you with? Of course, but first, let’s discuss the song and the background of it a bit. ‘The Man’ was dropped in June 2017 as The Killers first track back in five whole years, in this time frontman Brandon Flowers had released his second solo album, The Desired Effect, took time off to have even more kids and reflect on the whole ‘Killers’ experience. The Killers that returned in 2017 aren’t The Killers that released Hot Fuss back in 2004, 13 years, a lot of life experience and a couple of kids changed that.

However, ‘The Man’ comes out, this big, grandiose song that’s more funky and pop-y than any song ever released before, were The Killers we knew dead and gone? Had they…been killed? Not at all. We were re-introduced to The Killers via this larger than life song that sounds boastful, charged with testosterone and ego, but on deeper look and reflection, it’s all a facade documenting Brandon Flowers’ quick rise to fame after the release of Hot Fuss, how it all got to his and the band’s heads and made them act a little bit like dicks at times. Of course, this was what made us love them even more, but it was a damn while ago. And now Flowers recognises that ‘The Man’ was not who he was, it was a character and he’s repeated that it wasn’t a true representation of who he is, it was the man that overcompensated to counter his newfound fame and a sudden feeling of invincibility we all have in our early 20’s.

‘The Man’ really takes The Killers back to their roots in everything but sound, in a sense this closed the previous chapter once and for all, and allows The Killers to move forward from ‘Mr. Brightside’ and into a new era, and whilst there are countless people saying that they miss the old Killers, or that their older stuff is better, not many indie-rock bands have stood the test of time quite like The Killers, have quite took an introspective look at fame and masculinity like them, nor have any had the longest-running hit in the UK charts like The Killers have.

Apart from being sonically amazing, ‘The Man’ is accompanied by a fantastic video envisaging Flowers as many forms of ‘The Man’, he lives and works in Vegas, he’s a showman, an amazing gambler, loved by women and men alike, but as the video progresses, the illusion fades. ‘The Man’ isn’t popular at all, he’s a bit of a joke, he’s losing his money on the horses and lives alone in the Mojave.

I’ve been following The Killers since I was 10 years old, my older sister was a big fan of them and me, being the kid that wanted to be like his cool older sister, made sure to download Hot Fuss onto my tiny mp3 player that couldn’t hold much more than that album. I became obsessed with Hot Fuss, each track so different from the last, showing the complete talent of this band, but yet creating one iconic brand that became the pinnacle of music in the mid-00’s. A few years later I had to dissect ‘Mr. Brightside’ as a part of an English lesson, now here I am writing about my love for The Killers in a real, reputable news source, Mr Cookson would be so proud.

For me, this track has been a real crutch at times. Last year I suffered from bouts of terrible mental health and resulting physical illness, but this song empowered me every time I put it on. Maybe I don’t want to be the specific ‘man’ being referred to, but I want to feel confident, I want to steal some of the bizarre ego and bravado just for a few minutes. Sometimes you need to remember that you are ‘The Man’ and can beat anything, you can conquer anything, and you’re an all-around pretty impressive human. Not quite so far as to alienate everyone in your life, but just enough to get through the day as best you can.

The moral is to always go to Brandon Flowers for both confidence-boosting tips and eyeliner advice.

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