On August 21, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the Killers released Imploding the Mirage, their sixth and most recent studio album.
For the unfamiliar, the Killers are an American rock band. They formed in Las Vegas in 2001 and have found much success over the years. They’ve sold millions of albums, topped the charts with several hit songs, and performed across the globe. Their meteoric rise to fame can first be seen in the 2004 release of their first studio album Hot Fuss. Even those who don’t know the rest of their discography may be aware of the Killers’ songs “Somebody Once Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside,” both of which were massive hits. The latter in particular has proliferated into popular culture, with many of its lyrics being instantly recognizable in certain groups, especially online.
Since Hot Fuss, The Killers have produced five more albums (plus a Christmas album). The most recent of these is Imploding the Mirage. Imploding the Mirage follows their well-received 2017 album Wonderful Wonderful, and is their first album without their lead guitarist Dave Keuning (though Keuning is still a member of the band in an official capacity, and his bandmates have expressed a willingness to work with him again should he so wish.) Mark Stoermer, their bass guitarist, helped with the album too but is only planning to play a select number of their upcoming shows.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Brandon Flowers, the band’s lead singer, seems to suggest that the more limited participation of two members who had been with them for years was a source of creative frustration. They reportedly attempted to record for over six months in Utah, but—unhappy with the results—decided to scrap almost all of it and try again. And though some creative struggles persisted, at the end of it all—with some help in recording from visiting musicians—the Killers have come out of it all with a new album.
The Killers have dabbled in several genres over the years, including alt-rock. While Imploding the Mirage doesn’t ever quite reach the aggressive, fast-paced intensity of some of the songs off their early albums, Imploding the Mirage, like much of their recent work, neatly straddles the line between alt-rock and synth pop.
Imploding the Mirage in particular strikes a great balance between these genres. It is, at times, equal parts contemplative and energetic. The titular “Imploding the Mirage” is surprisingly upbeat, yet occasionally takes on a strange, almost dream-like quality that is easy to get lost in. While the tone of the album is consistent, there is enough variation between the songs to keep it from feeling monotonous. “Blowback” has a slight folksy twang to it. Others, like “My God” feat. Weyes Blood and “Lightning Fields” feat. k.d. lang, highlight the talents of fellow artists, who each impart a unique flavor onto the tracks they’re lending their skills to.
The album may be a sign of a creative windfall for the Killers. Imploding the Mirage has been well-received in the days since its release. With a 77 on Metacritic based off of twenty critic reviews, and a user score of 8.9, critical response has been mostly positive. Additionally, according to Billboard, Imploding the Mirage has risen quickly through the charts in the UK, and is expected to continue performing well. And it won’t be very long until we see new work from the Killers after Imploding the Mirage. Though Imploding the Mirage is only just barely out, Flowers revealed in an interview with NME that their spur of creativity while creating Mirage was good enough that they have several more songs in the works. If all goes well, they are actually hoping to release another record as soon as ten months from now, an album which Flowers thinks “might be better than this one [Imploding the Mirage].”
Until that seventh album comes out, though, Imploding the Mirage is more than good enough to tide fans over. You can listen to it by purchasing it or through your favored music streaming service.