Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

The Killers – Caution

Take care out there!


Alfred Soto: “Caution”? Ha! The Killers don’t know the meaning of the word. Still chasing slightly nutsy love triangles into total eclipses of the heart, Brandon Flowers remains unrepentant, a fool addicted to synth pomp like Donald Trump is to Big Macs. He still can’t sing and he’s singing worse, but when he wraps his so-white larynx around a pinched guitar solo I still hear the frustrated dreams of a fellow who wishes God had made him queerer than he is. 

Scott Mildenhall: It’s a surprise that Brandon Flowers has any caution left to throw, after seventeen years of these dustland fairytales, but the thought of a day by which he can no longer tap into those reserves is one that in itself could be the subject of a song in which it is something he strains every sinew to avoid — happily, it seems unlikely to come. “Caution,” with its broad-but-specific geography, narrative and production, finds the perfect match in its vocalist’s vast quaver. Somehow, it never stops being compelling.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: This sounds indistinguishable from the rest of the Killers’ pretentious, aspiring-to-be-epic discography, but hearing “If I don’t get out, out of this town/I might just be the one who finally burns it down” in the context of self-quarantining in my childhood home brought such a smile to my face that I might like this more than I should. 

Kylo Nocom: The dick-swinging dance-rock Brandon Flowers of 2017 is resting now; judging by the collaborations on the new record, an NPR Tiny Desk Concert has taken his place. It smells strongly of “The Boys of Summer,” but it doesn’t smell bad.

Will Adams: With a similar harmonic progression and quick tempo, “Caution” bounds with the same hopeful energy as “Human.” But instead of the starry-eyed wonderments of the latter, this is more assured. The chorus bursts like a sunbeam, with Brandon Flowers stretching to the top of his already shaky range. Somehow, he still sounds certain of what he’s saying.

Edward Okulicz: This sounds great if you listen to any particular 15 seconds of it, but makes absolutely no sense taken as a whole. Part of it’s Brandon Flowers’ role as native English speakers’ foremost practitioner of Nonsense English as a second language, part of it’s how the first 40 seconds sounds like U2 doing “Bright Eyes,” and the rest of it is the empty lunges towards the anthemic. USDA certified what?

Ian Mathers: If I say there’s always been a whiff of bullshit about the Killers (yes, even the deservedly deathless “Mr. Brightside”), I want you to understand that I mean it as a compliment. Whether it’s Flowers reaching for Springsteen and not quite grasping it on “if I don’t get out, out of this town / I might just be the one who finally burns it down”; or the acknowledged mix of UK and US so pronounced it sometimes confuses people; or little Sumner-esque lyrical infelicities like never actually finishing the idiom in the chorus here; or “are we human or are we dancer?”; or (my favourite, from what I think might actually be their best song) “you can dip your feet every one in a little while,” these are virtues, not vices, almost purely because the Killers sell every single one of them, and you can tell they believe in it. And what is more American than selling something faintly ersatz, something not-quite-as-promised, with enough heart and conviction that it becomes realer than the real thing?

Alex Clifton: “Caution” radiates the kind of freedom and ease I have always wanted to associate with America, rather than what it actually is. I think The Killers are actually the best expression of the American Ideal we’ll ever have, something bombastic and liberating yet able to unify a hundred thousand people for three minutes. They’re full of Vegas glitz and individualistic swagger, the promise of the West, but with a hidden tender heart they’re not afraid to let out of its cage show. It’s too bad America can’t really ever be like that. However, for a few moments, I can forget and give into the song, which means I’m sold. Anyway, listen to this if you want four minutes to escape the humdrum of quarantine: in the Killers’ universe, you’re warm and safe with a beer and some good friends, and none of the evils of the world can hurt you.

Reader average: [8.33] (3 votes)

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One Response to “The Killers – Caution”

  1. this is at least an [8] now

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