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Album Reviews: Hot Fuss

Listen to Blake, Jake & guest host Sarah McDonald discuss the hype before the release, and the critical response to the album at 32:05 below!


With the indie scene blossoming and the post-punk revival in full swing, the stage was set for the Killers to release their debut album Hot Fuss in 2004, but no one could’ve seen just how monumental the record would become. The album would stay on the UK Albums chart for the next four and half years, and later be listed by many publications as one of the best debut albums ever, but at the time, critical reception was much more mixed. Johnny Loftus brings some classic Pitchfork snark with his 5.2 rating of the album, critiquing the lyrical content, 80’s influences, and seemingly being bitter about Brandon Flowers’ level of attractiveness.

So, it's plain that The Killers have made a record more concerned with artifice than artistry. If the intent is to place their album's principal teases on the next Now That's What I Call Music compilation, then bravo. But why does it try to squeak by as another deft pop reversion when it actually seems to be a revisionist cash dance?

Dan Martin at NME was much kinder, but still found the album's second half to be lacking in the urgency and quality that made the opening tracks such a draw.

There's a song toward the end of 'Hot Fuss' called 'Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll', which is possibly the most teeth-grindingly embarrassing thing you will hear in your entire life. It's chorus, and we're not lying, goes, "It's indie rock'n'roll for me!" Jesus, Brandon, people go into rehab for less.

Nick Reynolds & the BBC continued the trend of British publications loving the album more than their American counterparts, praising everything from the band's synth-pop homages to their good looks.

For a start you need a great singer. Brandon Flowers fits the bill perfectly. He's got charisma, commitment and a unique vocal style. All the Killers look good, with that scruffy unfashionable glamour that all the best bands have.

16 years after the release of the album, we still know all the words to Mr. Brightside, so regardless of what the critics thought at the time, The Killers were clearly on to something.

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