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‘Caution’: The Killers Are Urging You To Escape Your Small Hometown

The Killers are back with more emotional 8os-inspired music. And yes, they sing more than just the smash 2004 hit “Mr. Brightside.” If you haven’t heard much about them since MySpace was still around, they’re still around and doing just fine. After a brief hiatus following numerous studio albums, tours and years of quiet success, the band announced the upcoming release of their newest album, Imploding the Mirage.

“It sounds like it could be a Top 40-weekend countdown hit (approximately three decades ago).”

“Caution,” featuring Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, debuted Thursday as the lead single off the upcoming album. The single carried the similar tone of the band’s latest album, Wonderful Wonderful: synth-y but sad.

The song is punchy and upbeat, with bittersweet lyrics that tell a story contradicting the happy tune. It’s genuinely a fun song if you’re not contemplating the lyrics, and it sounds like it could be a Top 40-weekend countdown hit (approximately three decades ago).

Their 2017 album, Wonderful Wonderful, sounded different than any of their previous music. They’d mostly stuck to alternative rock in the past. However, this album had a new, upbeat sound that bordered on 80s pop.

They didn’t lose their story-telling ability, however. The lyrics were poignant and unique, and told tales of loss and abuse, as well as being “the man” and “sticking it to the man!” It was different, yes, but it was still undoubtedly the Killers. Their newest release continues where they left off with Wonderful Wonderful, mimicking a similar instrumental sound, but keeps their most classic theme intact.

“What is it about escaping small rural towns that gets the Killers going?”

There seems to always be a recurring idea in their songs, dating back all the way to Sam’s Town. I mean… what is it about escaping small rural towns that gets the Killers going? There’s always that sense of urgency—if you don’t leave your hometown now, you’ll never get the chance again. As a small-rural-town-listener, I get it.

“Caution” is a song about needing to leave it behind, because the life here is confined, and usually to few mundane options. This reality and the struggle with it is more urgent than ever in this new song.

The Killers always seem to target oddly specific audiences. They also tend to focus on the unseen struggles of women, as well. They’ve tackled many silent issues women face, such as domestic abuse in “Run for Cover.” While discreetly hidden under the synths, the story of a Vegas dancer unfolds in the first verse. Though the implications and details of this dancer’s job remains ambiguous, her life is secretive and stigmatized, yet still expected of her.

This forced life is intended to reflect lead singer Brandon Flowers’ disregard for the path forced upon him by the expectations of his family and town, but it goes deeper than that. The song discusses the path forced upon many women, entertainment-based solely on their appearance and body.

“The story told can be interpreted by anyone as their own.”

While the songs are personal for the original writers and performers, the story told can be interpreted by anyone as their own. They’re common struggles we all face—as small-town residents, as women, as those just pining for something greater—but rarely speak of. It’s refreshing, to hear the urge to escape these endless, mundane systems finally vocalized.

One could brush their newer music off, especially “Caution,” because it doesn’t sound like Hot Fuss, but that’s simply too bad for them. The band’s newer music is still relatable, and is changing tone with the growing need for an upbeat sound in a rather dreary time. The Killers target a specific audience with their music—one with a niche for longing for another place, for an escape.

Featured image via The Killers

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I cover the politics of pop culture—from celebrities scandals to the flaws in cancel culture. I'm always down for an album review, too. You can find me creating, whether I'm writing or painting.

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    Randy

    March 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Some of the Killer’s songs have been about getting out of small towns, but this one is not about escaping a small town at all. In this case, the song is 100% biographical. It is related to Tana (Brandon’s wife)’s PTSD with growing up in Las Vegas with a disfuntional family. Brandon over the past decade and a half had been basically handed the key’s to Las Vegas and had the city wrapped around his finger, but he also had the love of his life being quietly destroyed from the inside-out by memories of this same town. This song is about Brandon’s inner conflict and Throwing Caution to the wind by leaving this behind to take care of more important things (wife and kids).

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