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The Killers’ New Song “The Man” Is a Bop

I write you from the year 2017, where we’re currently awaiting new albums from Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Fall Out Boy, Grizzly Bear, and now the Killers. The actual news is a new horrorshow every day; the rock news feels like a short trip to the recent past. Mercifully, the Killers’ new song “The Man” is almost good enough to convince me:

Do listen to “The Man” at least twice before you make up your mind, because there’s a lot going on: the synth liftoff, the backup choir, the vocoder overdubs, the intently funky bass (“funkier than anything we’ve ever done before,” Brandon Flowers told BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac). Unlike the godawful new incarnation of Fall Out Boy, the Killers know their way around around glammy disco-rock; unlike Arcade Fire, who appear to be on some too-clever-by-half Brazil RPG jaunt lately, they’re willing to embrace being corny about it. The hook is Flowers proclaiming that he’s the man, man, and he sounds like he’s probably wearing spangled pants. He can still sell it, too: “I got a household name,” he sings, and sure, that’s a lee-tle bit of a stretch, but he’s not wrong, either.

That’s assuming he’s talking about himself at all, though—the captial-M Man, in the “keeping me down” sense, feels more omnipresent than ever. “The Man” gets a lot better when you start believing it’s narrated by the villain, and that the Killers are subtly shimmying some kind of truth to power—because on the surface, the lyrics are pretty cliché. If you were to point to a guy on the street and ask for a freestyle based on the concept “I’m the man,” he’d have 50/50 odds of coming up with something like, “I got gas in the tank / I got money in the bank.” It’s almost enough to make you miss “Are we human / Or are we dancer?” (Editor’s note: I always miss “Are we human / Or are we dancer?”)

As satisfying as “The Man” is when it comes to packing a big “Fame” glitter wallop, it’s not exactly something you’ll find yourself searching for deep-seated meaning in—which is why, based on the teaser photos, I hold out hope for a video outrageous enough to confirm that the Killers are in on the joke. I want to watch this Vegas cowboy character strut all the way from the Strip to a seedy motel; I want to see him on a mechanical bull; I want him to flex a bicep right as Flowers yells, “You see what I mean? / U-S-D-A certified lean.”

Right then: “The Man” is a bop. It would sound fan-fucking-tastic in a roller rink. It might even make it on radio. Killers LP5, Wonderful Wonderful, coming soon. Follow Fox Footy for more.

Tags: the killers