As Genius describes it, ‘The Man’ is a meditation on modern masculinity- complete with a disco-rock beat”.
‘The Man’ is one of my favourite songs of all time. Despite only coming out a year and a half ago, its one of my most played tracks of all time. Do I have a whole host of reasons for this that I’m going to bore you with? Of course I do, but first I’ll drop a little background to this massive tune. ‘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 (banging album, by the way), 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. Many feared The Killers we knew dead and gone? Had they…been killed?
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. This was what made us love them even more in the mid-00’s, but it was a damn while ago and things have changed. 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. Nor have quite so many took an introspective look at fame and masculinity like Brandon Flowers has done, nor have any had the longest-running hit in the UK charts like The Killers have.
Apart from being beautiful on the ears, ‘The Man’’s video is one of their best, envisaging Brandon 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, but a part of a complete rock tapestry, 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 on my very own website, Mr Cookson would be so proud.
For me, this track has been a real crutch at times. In 2017 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. I was watching Abroad in Japan’s recent vlogs documenting his cycle across Japan, and Chris mentioned that he uses ‘The Man’ to get him ready to tackle the day. It seems this method works for everyone!
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.
This post has been adapted from one I previously penned for Global Sound Group.
Fancy another music deep dive? Head to this post on Lorde’s ‘Green Light’.