“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

Despite technically qualifying as Indie Rock, the Killers were generally looked down on by the Indie purists in their heyday…certainly, back when Jeph Jacques’ Questionable Contentwebcomic was still a cultural touchstone of the genre, he devoted an entire strip to savaging them. Actually, with the exception of a few individual bands like the White Stripes, the Unicorns and Arcade Fire, the New-Wave Revival movement was generally met with a cool reception by Indie Snobs at the time, probably because the genre seemed too pop-friendly for the standards of Indie credibility…and indeed, the majority of the great Indie crossover hits of the 2000s were from this genre. And given that the Killers managed to score no less than three bona fide crossover hits, it makes sense that a subculture founded entirely on its lack of mainstream appeal would resent them. But in an era where crossover Indie Rock is now a more-or-less accepted and familiar phenomenon, history’s stance on bands like the Killers has softened considerably. This song may not be their biggest hit (that would be “When You Were Young” from their second album), or their best single (that would probably be their first Top Forty hit, the scorching “Somebody Told Me”), but it has become their most enduring musical legacy. It’s an enraged, paranoid rant in the “Flagpole Sitta” tradition set to music that is simultaneously pop-friendly and very authentic Rock, and given what most mainstream pop music was like in the mid-2000s, we probably should have appreciated its presence on the charts more at the time.

Verdict: Good

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