Brandon Flowers Writes Track-By-Track To The Killers’ Greatest Hits Album

The Killers

The Killers

Exciting news for fans of The Killers! The Nevada rockers will release their first Greatest Hits compilation – titled ‘Direct Hits’ – on November 11. The 18-song compilation features two brand new songs – ‘Just Another Girl’, which sees the band reunite with longtime collaborator Stuart Price, and ‘Shot At The Night’, produced by M83’s Anthony Gonzalez. Legendary Killers frontman Brandon Flowers has penned us an exclusive, revealing track-by-track for the record delving into memories of the past:

Mr Brightside
“I remember being in the studio, recording the demo but still writing the lyrics. I was procrastinating, and that’s why the second verse is the same as the first one, but it just stuck. What strikes me about it is how powerful that song still is, and the second verse is still as powerful as the first one, every night. There’s just something about it. It’s a moment.”Somebody Told Me

“This song really brought out the band’s strengths at that time. I was 20, 21, and just trying to write about what I was doing and seeing in these indie nightclubs in Vegas. I was listening to Pulp and David Bowie, trying to channel all of that stuff. It’s one of Mark’s greatest moments on the bass, too. It’s a really great collaboration.”
Smile Like You Mean It

“It’s more melancholy, but it really translated to a lot of people. It was very personal to me, and that’s one of the things that’s amazing about music – we all bring our own meaning to songs. It was quite a sophisticated song for where we were at that time, I think.”

All These Things That I’ve Done

“When that one was cooking I was really into U2’s ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’. I thought that was an amazing comeback for them, and I was blown away by how many great songs were on that record. There’s an earnestness, spirit soul to U2, and I was trying to channel that. I wanted a song that stood up to those songs. We also took the bassline from a David Bowie song called ‘Slow Burn’, from ‘Heathen’, although enough time has probably passed now that I think he probably won’t sue us!”

When You Were Young
“We’ve been guilty of having a lot of chords in our songs, and there’s not anything necessarily wrong with that, but there’s something great about simplicity. ‘When You Were Young’ is just one progression which repeats, with a couple of small variations, but it was instantly powerful and once I heard it, I came up with the melody and the title within 20 minutes. It was one of those exciting moments that you read about, and I’ve been lucky enough to be part of it a few times. This was definitely one of them. Live, it took a huge load off my shoulders too – there was a lot of pressure on us when ‘Hot Fuss’ did so well, and that song was just a total relief! I knew that song had something about it, and I’m thankful for it every night. It kept the fire in us, it kept the ball rolling.

Read My Mind
I love ‘Read My Mind’. Every producer is different, but they’re all leaders. That’s why we enlisted Flood and Alan Moulder for ‘Sam’s Town’ – they were two guys who had a huge amount of experience and had worked on a lot of records that we loved, and this was where their experience and leadership came into play the most. We had a different song called ‘Little Angela’, but it just wasn’t ‘Read My Mind’. My melody was a little too much like ‘Mrs. Robinson’, the lyrics weren’t great, and Alan had the balls and the courage to tell me – he said ‘Let’s keep this template, and write a different song over it.’ So the song was born out of us jamming that old song, and it grew from there. When we play it live, you can tell it means a lot to people, and that’s definitely one of the songs that attracts people to the band.”

For Reasons Unknown
“We wrote it on the road, while we were touring with Louis XIV. It was written really quickly, and it’s got a real urgency about it because of that. We recorded it live, and I’m playing bass on it – that’s the only song on any Killers record where I play bass.”

The Creativity Post: Does Style Trump Substance?

style

By Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.

Synopsis

“(…) the visual element plays a larger role in our judgement of expertise and performance quality than we might think.”

I was five years old when I first played for Dr. Suzuki. I performed Corelli’s La Folia, and when I was done playing, he said something very astute that always stuck with me.

I should note that he was always very kind to me, and unfailingly supportive and optimistic, but the gist of his comment, conveyed to me in the gentlest possible way, was “You sound better with my eyes closed.”

Indeed, I cringe to watch videos of myself performing back in the day. Knees locked, shoulders slumped, tummy jutting out, face completely expressionless, mouth half-open like a zombie… It’s not a pretty sight.

In subsequent years, other teachers also commented on how disengaged and bored I often looked (or calm, if they were glass half-full types).

The stubborn kid I was, I figured, on principle, that how I looked on stage shouldn’t matter. That my performance should be judged on what people heard, not what they saw.

But what if that’s just not how we’re wired?

What are our eyes doing?

Chia-Jung Tsay is a Juilliard Pre-College alum (piano), with a seriously impressive portfolio of a half-dozen or so degrees from Peabody and Harvard.

Like most talented young musicians, she worked diligently to improve her musical and technical skills, but noticed that she seemed to do better in auditions which required video recordings as opposed to audio-only recordings.

As she pursued her PhD in organizational behavior and psychology, she wondered how large a role our eyes play in the evaluation of a performance, and conducted a series of studies to see what she could find.

Guess the winner!

In a set of experiments including both non-musicians and professional musicians, Tsay evaluated participants’ ability to correctly guess the winner of 10 international competitions by presenting them with 6-second clips of the top three finalists.

Some participants were presented with audio-only clips of the finalists.

Other participants were presented with video-only clips of the finalists where the audio was removed.

Yet others viewed regular video clips with the audio intact.

The novices

When presented with sound-only clips, non-musicians correctly identified the winner ~25.5%-28.8% of the time. In other words, they would have been better off guessing randomly (if participants had simply guessed, you would expect them to pick the winner correctly about 33% of the time).

When presented with video-only clips, non-musicians correctly identified the winner ~46.4%-52.5% of the time. Still not a spectacular percentage, but a definite, and statistically significant edge above purely guessing.

Adding audio to the video seemed to confuse the participants, as this made them less likely to pick the winner (35.4%).

That in itself is a pretty interesting finding – that non-musicians are better able to guess the winner of a big competition merely by watching a silent 6-second video clip of their performance, than by actually hearing them play.

But this isn’t likely to hold true when professional musicians are the ones guessing who the winners are, right?

The pros

Well, as it turns out, the professional musicians didn’t fare much better.

When presented with sound-only clips, the pros correctly identified the winner ~20.5%-25.7% of the time.

And when presented with video-only clips, the pros correctly identified the winners ~46.6%-47% of the time.

Here too, seeing video footage with audio only hindered their efforts (29.5%).

What?!

So even professional musicians are better able to guess the winner of a competition by seeing them in action for 6-seconds than by hearing them play for 6-seconds?

This is some pretty astounding data. At first glance, concerning, perhaps. Even disappointing?

Style vs. substance

Some media outlets have taken these findings to mean that we live in a day and age where style trumps substance. Where looks and showmanship matter more than true artistry and musicianship.

But I don’t think Tsay and her data are suggesting that how we look matters more than how we sound. (And it should be noted that follow-up experiments established that race, gender, and physical attractiveness did not significantly impact participants’ judgment.)

I think Tsay’s findings simply suggest that the visual element plays a larger role in our judgement of expertise and performance quality than we might think.

That all else being equal, what we communicate visually may be the extra edge that tips the jury (or the audience) one way or the other.

Recall that the clips were of the top three finalists at international-level competitions.

All the “lesser” performers had already been weeded out in previous rounds. The remaining three were the cream of the crop, and at the highest level of competition, the top musicians are all talented, technically capable, and well-prepared. The differences between competitors are more a matter of style, taste, and nuanced details that are difficult to glean from short snippets of their performance.

If all three competitors are relatively evenly matched, doesn’t it make sense that judges would tend to pick as the winner of a major competition the musician who not only plays great, but looks more passionate, involved, motivated, creative, and unique? Who represents the complete package?

We want more

After all, we live in a day and age where the technical quality of performances is arguably higher than ever. So naturally, we demand more than just a great auditory experience. We want to have an emotional experience, to be moved, not just by the technical and musical elements of a performance, but by the entirety of what we are presented with.

We demand this of our computers, where perfectly functional (but uninspired) beige boxes no longer cut it.

We demand this of our phones, our cars, our book covers, our websites, and even our most common household tools. For instance, I have a plunger for my toilet designed by famed Princeton architect and designer Michael Graves. Why? Because it makes me feel better to look at it, and wasn’t really all that different in price than the ugly plunger which makes me want to…umm, basically not own a plunger.

Increasingly, we even demand this from the speakers and presenters we listen to, thanks to organizations like TED which have raised the level of our expectations.

Take action

At the end of the day, substance matters. Content matters. Skill and quality absolutely matter. But so too does style, design, aesthetics, and the unspoken messages we pick up visually.

Keep this in mind the next time you are preparing for a high-stakes talk, presentation, or performance. Videotape a dry run or dress rehearsal. Then give yourself an edge by taking the time to ensure that you’re communicating the enthusiasm, passion, and conviction that your message deserves, not just to your audience’s ears, but to their eyes as well.

Upcoming Releases – November 2013 – February 2014

November 4, 2013:

  • Jim O’Rourke – Old News No. 9 [Editions Mego]
  • Kurt Vile & Sore Eros – Jamaica Plain [EP] [Care In The Community Recordings]

November 5, 2013:

  • !!! – R!M!X!S [Warp]
  • Black Flag – What The… [SST]
  • Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan Complete Album Collection Vol. One [Columbia]
  • Bright Eyes – Bright Eyes’ A Christmas Album [Saddle Creek]
  • Bryce Dessner/Kronos Quartet – Aheym [ANTI- Records]
  • Cabaret Voltaire – #8385 (Collected Works 1984-1985) [Mute]
  • Celine Dion – Loved Me Back To Life [Columbia]
  • Connan Mockasin – Caramel [Mexican Summer]
  • David Bowie – The New Day Collectors Edition [Columbia]
  • Dropkick Murphys – Signed and Sealed in Blood [Box Set] [Epitaph]
  • El Ten Eleven – Transitions [EP] [Self-Release]
  • Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2 [Aftermath/Interscope]
  • Exit Ghost – Elston [Self-Release]
  • James Blunt – Moon Landing [Atlantic]
  • Latyrx – The Second Album [Latyramid INC]
  • M.I.A. – Matangi [Interscope]
  • Mark Berube – Russian Dolls [Bonsound]
  • Melvins – Tres Cabrones [Ipecac Recordings]
  • Midlake – Antiphon [ATO Records]
  • Sapphire Slows – Allegoria [Not Not Fun]
  • Scott Stapp – Proof of Life [Wind-Up Records]
  • Stryper – No More Hell to Pay [Frontiers Records]
  • Tennis – Small Sound [EP] [Communion Records]
  • Thing Thing – BOOT! [The Thing Records]

November 11, 2013:

  • Heidecker & Wood – Some Things Never Stay the Same [Little Record Company]
  • Erasure – Snow Globe [Mute]
  • John Talabot – DJ-Kicks [!K7 Records]
  • The Killers – Direct Hits [Island]
  • Lady Gaga – ARTPOP [Interscope]
  • Massive Attack – Mezzanine [Reissue] [The Vinyl Factory]
  • Psapp – What Makes Us Glow [State51 Conspiracy]
  • Throwing Muses – Purgatory/Paradise [Harper Collins/It Books]
  • Various Artists – Songs For Slim – Rockin Here Tonight: A Benefit Compilation For Slim Dunlap [New West]
  • The Who – Tommy [Reissue] [Universal]

November 12, 2013:

  • Andrew Bird – I Want to See Pulaski at Night [EP] [Self-Release]
  • Cat Le Bon – Mug Museum [Wichita/The Elite Meat Supply]
  • Chris Garneau – Winter Games [Private Friend]
  • Counting Crows – Echoes of the Outlaw Roadshow [Cooking Vinyl]
  • Cowboy Junkies – The Kennedy Suite [Latent Recordings]
  • ††† (Crosses) – † [Sumerian Records]
  • deadmau5 – We Are Friends Vol. 2 [Astralwerks]
  • ERAAS – Initiation [Felte]
  • Flume – Flume [Deluxe Reissue] [Future Classic/Mom + Pop]
  • Gap Dream – Shine Your Light [Burger Records]
  • Grizzly Bear – Shields B-Sides [12″] [Warp]
  • Grizzly Bear – Shields Expanded [Warp]
  • The Growlers – Gilded Pleasures [EP] [Everloving Records]
  • The Hunt – The Hunt Begins [Sacred Bones]
  • Jeremiah Jay – Dirty Collections Vol 1 [7″] [Warp]
  • Jeremy Jay – Abandoned Apartments [K Records]
  • Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas – Demons [EP] [Instant Records]
  • Mark Pritchard – Make A Livin’ [EP] [Warp]
  • Sampha – Too Much / Happens [Young Turks]
  • Sebastien Grainger (of Death From Above 1979) – Yours to Discover [Last Gang Records]
  • Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co. [Reissue] [Secretly Canadian]
  • Tel Aviv – The World Is Well Lost [Burger Records]
  • Various Artists – Inside Llewyn Davis [Soundtrack] [Nonesuch]
  • Weekender – Spanish Peaks [Papercup Music]
  • The Who – Tommy [Deluxe Edition] [Geffen]
  • Wooden Shjips – Back to Land [Thrill Jockey]

November 17, 2013:

  • Royal Trux – Veterans of Disorder [Reissue] [Drag City]

November 18, 2013:

  • Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe [Domino Records]
  • Boards of Canada – In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country [EP] [Reissue] [Warp]
  • Boards of Canada – Trans Canada Highway [EP] [Reissue] [Warp]
  • Boards of Canada – Twoism [EP] [Reissue] [Warp]

November 19, 2013:

  • A Perfect Circle – Three Sixty [UMe]
  • Etnik – Neon Daze [EP] [OWSLA]
  • Ghost B.C. – If You Have Ghost [EP] [Loma Vista Recordings]
  • Iceage – “Jackie”/”To The Comrades” [7″] [Matdor]
  • Iceage – You’re Nothing [Deluxe Edition] [Matador]
  • Kurt Vile – It’s a big world out there (and I am scared) [EP] [Matador]
  • Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze: Deluxe Daze (Post Haze) [Matador]
  • Magik Markers – Surrender to the Fantasy [Drag City]
  • Mick Turner (of Dirty Three) – Don’t Tell the Driver [Drag City]
  • Rush – Clockwork Angels Tour [CD/DVD] [Anthem/Roadrunner/Zoe Vision]
  • Shelby Lynne – Thanks [EP] [EVERSO]
  • Various Artists – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [Lionsgate/Republic]
  • Yo La Tengo – Fade: Deluxe Edition [Matador]

November 22, 2013:

  • Atmosphere – Seven’s Travels [Reissue] [Rhymesayers]

November 25, 2013:

  • Eric Clapton – Give Me Strength: The ’74/’75 Recordings [Universal]
  • The Obsessed – The Church Within [Real Gone Music/Conveyor Canada]
  • Peter Murphy – Love Hysteria [Reissue] [Cherry Red]
  • Saint Lou Lou – Better in the Dark [EP] [Columbia]
  • Teengirl Fantasy – Nun [EP] [This Is Music]

November 26, 2013:

  • A Perfect Circle – A Perfect Circle Live: Featuring Stone and Echo [A Perfect Circle Entertainment]
  • Beachwood Sparks – Desert Skies [Naturalsound Records]
  • Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath: Live… Gathered in Their Masses [DVD] [Vertigo/Republic]
  • Destroyer – Five Spanish Songs [EP] [Merge]
  • Kevin Morby – Harlem River [Woodsist]
  • Lee Hazlewood – There’s a Dream I’ve Been Saving: Lee Hazlewood Industries 1966-1971 [Light in the Attic]
  • Neil Young – Live at the Cellar Door [Reprise]
  • Shearwater – Fellow Travelers [Sub Pop]
  • Soundgarden – Screaming Life / Fopp [EP] [Reissue] [Sub Pop]
  • Sun Glitters – Scattered into Light [Self-Release]
  • Thee Oh Sees – Singles Collection Vol. 3 [Castle Face Records]

November 29, 2013:

  • Atlas Genius – So Electric! When It Was Now (The Remixes) [Warner Bros.]
  • Band of Horses – Live at the Ryman [7″] [Brown Records]
  • Brendan Benson – You Were Right [Readymade Records]
  • Cheap Trick – The Classic Albums 1977 – 1979 [Columbia]
  • Dave Matthews Band – Live Trax Vol 2–9-12-04 Golden Gate Park, San Francisco CA [Box Set] [Bama Rags]
  • Dave Matthews Band – Live Trax Vol 3–8-27-00 Meadows Music Theater, Hartford CT [Box Set] [Bama Rags]
  • Dawes – Stripped Down at Grimeys [HUB Records]
  • Duran Duran – No Ordinary [EP] [Rhino]
  • Elvis Costello and The Roots – Wise Up: Thought Remixes and Reworks [Blue Note Records]
  • Father John Misty – The History of Caves [Soundtrack] [Sub Pop]
  • The Flaming Lips – Peace Sword [EP] [Physical Release] [Warner Bros.]
  • Foals – CCTV Sessions [Warner Bros.]
  • Grateful Dead – Family Dog at the Great Highway, San Francisco, CA 4/18/70 [Rhino]
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Fire”/”Foxey Lady” [7″] [Columbia]
  • Joseph Arthur – The Ballad of Boogie Christ [Lonely Astronaut]
  • Lee “Scratch” Perry – Super Ape [Deluxe Edition] [Get On Down]
  • Low and Shearwater – “Stay”/”Novacane” [7″] [Sub Pop]
  • Metallica – Through the Never [Soundtrack] [Special Edition] [Broken]
  • NAS – “Halftime” [12″] [Columbia]
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Live From KCRW [Physical Release] [Bad Seed Ltd]
  • Nirvana – In Utero [2013 Mix] [Geffen]
  • Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork [Black on Black Edition] [Matador]
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m Beside You [Warner Bros.]
  • Robert Glasper Experiment – Porter Chops Glasper [10″] [Blue Note]
  • Rush – The Garden [10″] [Roadrunner]
  • Sondre Lerche – Public Hi-Fi Sessions [Public Hi-Fi Records]
  • Stone Temple Pilots – Core [Reissue] [Rhino]
  • Tegan and Sara – “Guilty As Charged”/”I Run Empty” [7″] [Warner Bros.]
  • Uncle Tupelo – “I Wanna Be Your Dog”/”Commotion” [7″] [Columbia]
  • Van Dyke Parks – “Come to the Sunshine”/”Farther Along” [7″] [Sundazed]

December

December, 2: 2013:

  • Erol Alkan – Illumination [Phantasy]
  • Mary J Blige – A Mary Christmas [Verve]
  • Muse – Live in Rome [Warner Bros.]

December 3, 2013:

  • bEEdEEgEE (Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance) – SUM/ONE [Self-Release]
  • Britney Spears – Britney Jean [RCA]
  • Glen Hansard – Drive All Night [EP] [ANTI-]
  • Mutual Benefit – Love’s Crushing Diamond [Other Music Recording Co.]
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Live From KCRW [Digital Release] [Bad Seed Ltd]
  • Xiu Xiu – Nina [Graveface Records]

December 9, 2013:

  • Lee Bannon – Alternate/Endings [Ninja Tune]

December 10, 2013:

  • 7 Days of Funk (Dam-Funk and Snoop Dogg) – 7 Days of Funk [Stones Throw]
  • Audion (Matthew Dear) – Audion X [Spectral Sound]
  • Childish Gambino – Because the Internet [Glassnote]
  • Flume – Flume [Deluxe Reissue] [Physical Release] [Future Classic/Mom + Pop]
  • Mastodon – Live at Brixton [Warner Bros.]
  • R Kelly – Black Panties [RCA]
  • Robert Pollard – Blazing Gentleman [GBV Inc.]

December 17th, 2013:

  • Rick Ross – MasterMind [MMG]
  • Talib Kweli – Gravitas [Self-Release]

2014

January

January 7, 2014:

  • Sampha – Too Much / Happens [7″] [Young Turks]

January 13, 2014:

  • Mark Lanegan – Has God Seen My Shadow? An Anthology 1989-2011 [Light In The Attic]

January 14, 2014:

  • Broken Bells – After the Disco [Columbia]
  • James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical [Dine Alone]
  • Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread [Blue Note]
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want [Daptone Records]

January 20, 2014:

  • Marram – Sun Choir [Everything Is New]
  • Various Artists – BOATS [Everything Is New]

January 21, 2014:

  • Aer – Aer [Self-Release]
  • Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues [Total Treble]
  • Damien Jurado – Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son [Secretly Canadian]
  • Mogwai – Rave Tapes [Sub Pop]
  • Warpaint – Warpaint [Rough Trade]
  • Young the Giant – Mind Over Matter [Fueled By Ramen]

January 28, 2014:

  • Actress – Ghettoville [Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune]
  • The Autumn Defense – Once Around [Yep Roc]
  • Cities Aviv – Come to Life [Young One Records]
  • Drowners – Drowners [Frenchkiss]
  • Dum Dum Girls – Too True [Sub Pop]
  • Gem Club – In Roses [Hardly Art]
  • Hospitality – Trouble [Merge]
  • The Pack A.D. – Do Not Engage [Nettwerk Records]
  • Quilt – Held in Splendor [Mexican Summer]

February

February 4, 2014:

  • Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata [Invazion]
  • Sun Kil Moon – Benji [Caldo Verde]

February, 10 2014:

  • Neil Finn – Dizzy Heights [Lester Records/Kobalt]

February 11, 2014:

  • Deleted Scenes – Lithium Burn [Park The Van/Nevado]
  • Robert Ellis – The Lights From the Chemical Plant [New West Records]

February 18, 2014:

  • Lost in the Trees – Past Life [ANTI-]

February 25, 2014:

  • SKATERS – MANHATTAN [Warner Bros.]
  • Various Artists – Making Patterns Rhyme: A Tribute to Duran Duran [Manimal Vinyl]