It’s been over two years since The Killers announced they were going on hiatus at the end of their Day & Age Tour, but the band is back with Runaways, their first non-Christmas single since 2009’s A Dustland Fairytale.
To some, it may not seem like nearly four years since Day & Age was released, with three Christmas singles available to download – and proceeds going to charity, Product Red – a concert on the White House’s South Lawn as part of 2010’s Independence Day celebrations; and a few solo efforts. But to their die-hard fans, it’s been forever since their last album. So what’s comeback single, Runaways, actually like?
The band’s decision to release a song that both echoes the past and the future is a clever move; Runaways is reminiscent of their second album, Sam’s Town, and sums up their style perfectly, while lead singer, Brandon Flowers, has told Billboard that it “definitely has a couple of ‘brothers’ on [upcoming album, Battle Born].” It certainly appeals to the fans who’ve longed to hear that familiar Killers vibe again, as they continue their pop-inspired rock anthems.
A gentle beginning harks back to Flowers’ own hit-single, Crossfire – even though Runaways was apparently written before it – while others have likened it to their last release, The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball; Runaways certainly runs in the same vein of these fun-but-beautiful songs (and I think I heard a bit of Brandon’s Swallow It in there too!).
Never shying away from their influences, The Killers’ tale of a doomed marriage is akin to Springsteen’s Born to Run. The synth-feel of Day & Age is also represented in the keyboard backing – but much of it is drowned out by the elating heartbeat that builds up through the chorus, a drumbeat vibrating like the road markings glimpsed in the video (directed by Warren Fu).
There are lots of memorable lines for fans to sink their teeth into – I swore on the head of our unborn child that I could take care of the three of us/ But I got the tendency to slip when the nights get wild – proving that Brandon’s skill with crafting layered, heart-felt lyrics is just as good as when Somebody Told Me and Mr. Brightside hit the radio in 2004.
Runaways initially seemed a bit like Marmite, but many opinions have changed into something very favourable – readers of Rolling Stone magazine even chose it as the best song of the summer – so maybe it’s a bit of a ‘grower.’ Certainly after two or three listens, the epic beat and smooth lyrics will be bleeding into your head.
If it is Marmite, I know which side I’m on.