After a long absence, I’m back and ready to take on this Christmas shopping season’s obligatory greatest hits collections. I’ve been waiting for this one!
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Years Covered: Entire career so far: 2003 to 2013
Length of Album: 77 min (Deluxe Version), 57 min (standard version)
Chronological or Mix Disc Format: Chronological (aside from the bonus tracks)
Mastered by (for the audiophiles): Emily Lazar and Rich Morales
Tracklist: “Mr. Brightside” / “Somebody Told Me” / “Smile Like You Mean It” / “All These Things That I’ve Done” / “When You Were Young” / “Read My Mind” / “For Reasons Unknown” / “Human” / “Spaceman” / “A Dustland Fairytale” / “Runaways” / “Miss Atomic Bomb” / “The Way It Was” / “Shot at the Night” / “Just Another Girl” – Deluxe Edition adds: “Mr. Brightside” (original demo) / “When You Were Young” (Calvin Harris Remix) / “Be Still”
Number of New Tracks: 2
Number of Unreleased/Hard To Find Tracks: 2
What *isn’t* on this: “Bones”, “The World We Live In”, “Here With Me”
What would I have done differently?: Added “Bones” and dropped “Be Still”
Overview: This album is a really good summary of The Killers so far. It gives you 3-4 strong singles from each of their four albums (except “The Way It Was”, which was not a single), along with two really good new songs. It is definitely the kind of compilation you can give to someone unfamiliar with the band to get them up to speed on some of their best moments. This is a collection that works really well chronologically, especially when observing Brandon Flowers’ songwriting and how the band has matured. However, Hot Fuss will still always be my go-to album for The Killers. The excitement of hearing those songs for the first time coincided with some exciting changes in my life. And while Brandon’s prediction that Sam’s Town would be “the album that keeps rock & roll afloat” may not have been dead on, it gave us some really great songs. All in all, this is a worthwhile trip through ten years of great songs. The two new songs are definitely worthy of inclusion. “Shot At The Night” shines as one of their better and more urgent singles, with classic harmony and production that sparkles. “Just Another Girl” is one of Flowers’ better lonely hearts anthems. It also has the potential of being a single and has a thumping bassline in line with their dancier tracks like “Human” but with a natural acoustic force driving it. Both songs are top notch Killers.
About the rare tracks: First we get the original demo mix of “Mr. Brightside” from 2003 (so they could say the collection spans 2003 to 2013, no doubt). This is a far grittier, punkier version. Brandon doesn’t seem aware of his vocal abilities yet. But the song is still there. Secondly is a new Calvin Harris remix of “When You Were Young”. This is a really good club mix. Most people would be hard pressed to realize it is a new mix though with the club mixes that were done in 2006 still floating around. But it turns the song into a big exciting rave ’til the dawn anthem. Then closing the deluxe version, inexplicably, is “Be Still”, an album track from Battle Born. It is a great track, but the inclusion is a head-scratcher, leaving most fans with only 2 tracks they hadn’t heard already for the extra money.
Packaging: I can only speak about the deluxe edition that I have. The tri-gatefold is sturdy, but still prone to wear and all digipack style packages are. The sleeve for the booklet only has one opening facing the CD tray so you have to be careful not ripping the sleeve to get the booklet out. The booklet is nice, with 8 pages devoted to each album cover and a band pic at the time of that album, then live pictures and credits.
The Verdict: This is an excellent starting point if you are getting into The Killers, and a great compilation to have if you just want the hits. If you have all the albums, this is 2 new songs, 1 should-have demo, and a decent remix along with all the hits. I definitely recommend it.
Some videos from the collection:
“Shot At The Night”:
“Just Another Girl”:
“Read My Mind”:
“When You Were Young” (Calvin Harris 2013 Remix):