Review: The Killers – Direct Hits


Greatest hits albums are usually lazily put together compilations. The worst of which are normally released just in time for Christmas. From a cynics’ perspective, The Killers releasing their own in the November before their “break” is a commercial cop-out, or a quick contract get-out. Even drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr described putting out the album as a “douchie move”. So should Victims ignore ‘Direct Hits‘? They’ll surely own almost every song on it anyway but there’s something that still makes it an essential part of the band’s discography – “douchie move”, or otherwise. It is, essentially, “the perfect car CD”.

Direct Hits‘ sits somewhere between a “best of” and a singles collection. The compilation gives a surprising precedence to The Killers’ ‘Battle Born‘ era with ‘Be Still‘ and ‘Here With Me‘ both sneaking onto the deluxe release despite having never went to radio. However, if this were a true retrospective on The Killers’ career, it would certainly include defining early album tracks, such as ‘Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine‘. ‘Direct Hits‘ also falls short of being falls short of being a comprehensive companion for the casual listeners too with 2006 UK Top 20 single ‘Bones‘ being omitted and ‘Day & Age‘s ‘The World That We Live‘ also absent.

The album is not entirely a nostalgia trip either with two new songs ‘Shot At The Night‘ and ‘Just Another Girl‘ closing the standard edition. The former is a collaboration with M83‘s Anthony Gonzalez whose synthpop influence is evident whilst the latter Stuart Price-produced track takes the band down another pop-orientated road.

The new material points towards a future for The Killers, reassuring fans that this is a break, rather than a break-up. However, some will still hope that they’ll return sounding as raw as they do on the original demo of ‘Mr Brightside‘ (included in the deluxe edition), although to wish for a return to their alleged ‘glory days’ would be to ignore the improvement of Brandon Flowers‘ vocals and the benefits of their polished production.

There isn’t much new offered from ‘Direct Hits‘ but what is offered is a collection of unquestionable indie-rock anthems that have both defined the genre, and defied it. Vannucci may think that it was “a douchie move” but if you want just one album to play on repeat, make it this one.


Amy Jo McLellan
Amy Jo McLellan is the editor of Alt Scribe. She started writing about music in 2010 and has been dancing about architecture ever since. She became a featured blogger for Buzznet after winning their 2011 ‘Summer of Buzz’ talent search. Amy knows far too much about her favourite bands and describes herself as a “professional fangirl”. CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Kids In Glass Houses, Dawes. SPECIALIST SUBJECT: The rise and fall of 'Emo' 2006 - Now.

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