The 20 Best Killers Songs

Music Lists The Killers
The 20 Best Killers Songs

Quintessential Las Vegas alternative rockers The Killers have been in the spotlight since the release of 2004’s Hot Fuss, when the earworm that is “Mr. Brightside” hit the airwaves—thus implanting the lyrics in our minds forever. Alongside Brandon Flowers’ Springsteen-esque vocal melodies, The Killers cultivated a distinct sound out of synths and guitars. With a powerful discography spanning seven studio albums (if you count the 2007 b-sides album Sawdust) and a greatest hits compilation, The Killers were far from a flash in the pan. In honor of their newly released LP Imploding The Mirage, which is something of a return to form, we ranked The Killers’ 20 best songs.

20. “Just Another Girl”

One of The Killers’ more underrated singles, “Just Another Girl,” gives fans an easily digestible song, easter eggs from old music videos and Glee’s Dianna Agron posing as Flowers. (She embodies the role well.) —Lexi Lane

19. “Bones”

Amidst the stark desolation present through tales of drug-addled uncles and familial death on Sam’s Town, “Bones” is a shining moment of light. The album was partially recorded at the Palms Casino in Vegas, which might be why this song is increasingly extravagant. —Lexi Lane

18. “Run For Cover”

From their 2017 album Wonderful, Wonderful, “Run For Cover” opens with a supercharged guitar loop and in just the first verse, alludes to both a Nevada senator’s affair and boxer Sonny Liston. It’s a somewhat mismatched pairing, but the song’s background instrumentals make it work. —Lexi Lane

17. “Battle Born”

One of the many homages to their hometown on this list, “Battle Born” is a brilliant title and closing track. It has one of the most triumphant Killers’ choruses and lines ever: “The season may pass / But the dream doesn’t die.” —Lexi Lane

16. “This Is Your Life”

The first entry from 2009’s Day & Age on this list, “This Is Your Life” has one of the most interesting opening verses of any Killers song, digging into the perspective of sex work in Nevada without feeling exploitative (“Candy talks to strangers / Thinks her life’s in danger / And no one gives a damn about her hair”). —Lexi Lane

15. “Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll”

Convinced The Killers aren’t really “indie rock?” Here’s a whole song about the debacle from 2007, where they even predict the hipster thrift store culture popularized in years to come. Also, the heavy guitar breakdown is incredible. —Lexi Lane

14. “Runaways”

2012 single “Runaways” is a love story that falls apart, where Flowers takes the blame for the relationship’s destruction. He also wails “We can’t wait ‘til tomorrow” several times. —Lexi Lane

13. “Spaceman”

Another big hit from Day and Age, “Spaceman” is supposedly about being dissected and abducted by aliens, but it’s easy to make a lot of great metaphors for the song. Plus, the chorus is one of the better hooks on the record. —Juan Gutierrez

12. “Caution”

This is the first single and only entry on this list from their brand new album Imploding The Mirage. “Caution” has hardly been out long enough to make an impression, but it closes with a stunning solo from Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham—enough said. —Lexi Lane

11. “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine”

The opener to their debut album, “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” serves as an extension of Flowers’ inspirations: Morrissey and a real-life murder case. Told from the perspective of an interrogation, it’s also one of the best songs from Hot Fuss and one of their best performances. —Lexi Lane

10. “A Dustland Fairytale”

“A Dustland Fairytale” is the hidden gem of Day & Age, traditionally outshined by radio-friendly singles like “Human” and “Spaceman.” Here, Flowers spins a powerful story inspired by his parents’ romance. However, lines like “Out here the good girls die,” take on a heartbreaking new meaning, as the song was released a year before his mother’s passing. —Lexi Lane

9. “Sam’s Town (Live From Abbey Road)”

Another underrated cut is the Sawdust live version of “Sam’s Town.” This slow piano version allows listeners to focus on its words and depth. There are no frills or synths here—it just gets right to the heart of Flowers’ talent. Like so many Killers songs, it always brings us back to Las Vegas, with the titular casino (Sam’s Town) acting as a beacon of hope. —Lexi Lane

8. “On Top”

From the second the loop starts on “On Top,” it’s instantly addicting. Similar to “Mr. Brightside,” this Hot Fuss track contains exhilarating repetition, even if it’s not as widely beloved as that aforementioned song. Once again, they drop a hometown reference to Las Vegas’ Rio casino in the opening line. —Lexi Lane

7. “Smile Like You Mean It”

One of the Killers more melancholic songs, “Smile Like You Mean It” is about growing up, growing old and as time passes, going to the places that now only exist in memory. With a mellifluous synth lead, it’s one of those songs that carries you into that nostalgic, contemplative space in your head. —Juan Gutierrez

6. “Somebody Told Me”

Even though “Somebody Told Me” is one of the most recognizable Killers songs, when it was first released it actually did pretty poorly. However, when re-released, the song slowly grew in popularity to become one of the band’s biggest songs. Flowers said that the song is about “trying to meet someone in a club.” The heavy introduction is seductive, and its incessant beat makes those legs start to move. —Juan Gutierrez

5. “Miss Atomic Bomb”

Imagine there was a part two to the story of “Mr. Brightside,” made for crying after your karaoke session ends… Well, actually there is one: “Miss Atomic Bomb” from 2012’s Battle Born. The Killers use both the lyrics and music video as a continuation of the story of the one that got away. “Mr. Brightside” serves as the anger and initial reaction to pain, while “Miss Atomic Bomb” is what comes after it simmers, leaving listeners alone with the memories. —Lexi Lane

4. “Human”

With its sharper, EDM-influenced sound, 2008’s Day and Age was a shift from previous records. “Human” is one of the highlights of the album, bringing a catchy magic dust to some nonsensical philosophical pondering (“Are we human or are we dancer?”). —Juan Gutierrez

3. “Mr. Brightside”

“Mr. Brightside” is the classic Killers song that everyone knows. It’s a karaoke standard because of its anthemic qualities and simple repetition—no unnecessary words to memorize, just jam and scream it out. We swear the second verse goes just a little bit harder than the rest, though. —Lexi Lane

2. “All These Things That I’ve Done”

“All These Things That I’ve Done” serves as a contrast to the rest of Hot Fuss with its inherent earnestness. It’s a song that deals with life’s suffering and lack of meaning, while featuring the band’s most oblique line, “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” Plus, the song ends with the climactic gospel build-up with vocals from the Sweet Inspirations, a R&B group founded by Whitney Houston’s mother. —Juan Gutierrez

1. “Read My Mind”

“Read My Mind” offers up some of the best lyricism in The Killers’ repertoire: “A teenage queen / A loaded gun / A drop-dead dream / The chosen one.” It’s as nostalgic as it is painful, tied together by the contained power of Flowers’ vocals—not too harsh, not too quiet, just the right pacing. —Lexi Lane

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