Embracing the new without abandoning the old in ‘Imploding the Mirage’

Imploding the Mirage sounds distinctly like a Killers album: The upbeat, new wave-meets-modern rock style is recognizable to longtime fans of the Las Vegas band. However, it’s impossible to ignore the album references to other artists, styles, and eras. The busy instrumentalism, coarse-sounding vocals, and reinvented ‘80s synth-pop sound is remarkably similar to Arcade Fire’s 2017 album Everything Now, reflecting a current trend of retro nostalgia in musical production. Overall, Imploding the Mirage’s cohesive sound reinforces the story arc it aims to convey, edging the line between inspiration and imitation.

Lead singer Brandon Flowers describes the album as a story of two people becoming one through love, using inspiration from his parents’ marriage and his own relationship with his wife. “Dying Breed” showcases the beauty of a rare love with the lyrics “For the coveted touch of a girl in love / I was taken by the sound of a spirit in need / Baby we’re a dying breed.”

Many of the album’s tunes sound similar to the ‘80s gospel pop anthems. “Lightning Fields” has a high-energy choral quality that is reminiscent of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” The song features K.D. Lang, who Flowers explained is meant to emulate his late mother. Lang’s angelic voice sounds to be coming from above the clouds as she sings, “There’s no end to love” in the bridge. 

Along with the album’s more referential material, songs like “Blowback” embody the classic Killers’ sound. The B-Bender guitar adds a vintage rock feel that evokes nostalgia for the band’s first album Hot Fuss. “Caution” and “My Own Soul’s Warning” employs introductory soundscapes, a technique that is very familiar to the group. It’s clear The Killers have not abandoned their signature style but have revamped it in ways that keep listeners on edge.

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