Tag Archives: The Killers Fan Community

Land of the free…until we disagree

Happy Wednesday! (it IS Wednesday, right??)

Let me just open this post by sharing that I did not sleep well last night. My eyes are still tired (and blurry), I woke up about an hour later than normal, and I’m finding that I am struggling to form reasonably understandable sentences. I’m also way late…. Good luck reading! ūüėÄ

Can’t wipe the wind blown smile off my face

From time to time, something will crop up that gets the community into a heated debate over political stances. Whether that was a shirt that John wore somewhere, or a political event that John attended (hmm…John seems to be the only example here that I can think of….), it gets fans in an uproar.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if a fan happens to agree with whatever is being said or supported, typically there’s no problem. It only seems to be an issue when you sit on the opposing side. Granted, I’m generalizing here, and I know it. (I did not stop to actually count opinions being presented verses the number of fans reading or actively participating. Shame on me!) That said, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it tends to create a discussion when one or more of them choose to be open with their political opinions.

Land of the free

Then there are the times when the band has released new music and a faction of fans don’t care for the new direction, collaboration, theme, etc. Basically, I mean every single time something new has been released. I mean, let’s be open and honest about that, right?

Imagine having both happen simultaneously. Can you envision the drama? A nightmare scenario indeed, yet, this is the very issue that fans of The Killers have been handling for the past couple of days. I’ve witnessed entire Facebook groups coming apart at the seams purely due to a single song and video. It has been both heartbreaking and eye opening on any number of levels.

The song (and video, directed by Spike Lee) is titled “Land of the Free”. It is a song directed squarely at the United States and was written by Brandon Flowers in response to the issues happening in our country as of late. My job here isn’t to embrace or lambast the song, it is purely to present the topic. For those who haven’t heard the song or seen the video, here it is:

Land of the Free by The Killers on YouTube

Walk the edge of America

The Killers are hardly the first band to present a politically charged song or video, they are just among the more recent to do so. I myself am a fan of The Killers, and to the best of my recollection this is easily the most political song they’ve done. Even Duran Duran has written a political song or two – but they’ve done it with far more finesse and subtlety (I’m thinking “Edge of America” – both the song and the video that was released late last year, or even “Paper Gods” – which they themselves said was politically motivated, albeit far less obvious). Even so, I’ve seen grumblings about how the band should stick to what they do best.

Having watched the video and listened to “Land of the Free” a number of times now, it isn’t hard to imagine why or how an entire fan community could be split. There’s no guesswork with the lyrics. They are strong and they are hurled directly in the faces of all Americans. They are a tough pill to swallow regardless of where you sit. It is not a pretty picture of America that is painted.

Concrete beach to scrape my hand

As one of their fans aptly put it, “Art is meant to provoke. It is meant to be controversial, and it is meant to be discussed and debated.” This is true. Their music and video is indeed art, and if it sparks discussion, that should be OK. We find common ground and understanding through communication, not by sweeping the topic under the carpet.

It is difficult to watch a fan community crumble over a single song. Comments range from dislike due to the song not sounding like it belongs in The Killers catalog to the topic of the song itself. On the opposite side there is joy and pride for bringing up a very difficult yet timely and necessary topic. Not many see that while this one song is rightfully controversial – it is only one song, and not the determining factor for where the band will head from here. It is easy to get so caught up in the details that you forget that The Killers are still a band. They’ll make more music.

I have to wonder what we would do as a community if a similar song was released. I believe the demographics for Duran Duran are a bit *ahem* older. But are we wiser? Do we realize that their opinions have just as much “right” as ours? Would we agree with the sentiment? Would we be able to get past the details enough to find common ground?

I’m just not sure.

-R

You Catch That Mirror

This weekend marks the release of the latest album by the Killers. ¬†As many of you know, both Rhonda and myself are fans of that band. They aren’t Duran to us, as no other band could ever be. ¬†Yet, we like them and we do pay some attention to what they are up to when we can. ¬†As both a fan of the Killers and a student of music fandom, I have spent a little time in between grading to see how the hardcore Killers fans are responding to the new album as well as changes within the band. ¬†The more I looked at social media, the more I found myself smiling. ¬†Why? ¬†It all felt so familiar as looking at that fan base was like looking at a mirror of Duran’s.

So how are the Killers fans reacting to the new album? ¬†Some absolutely love it. ¬†I have read adjectives like “brilliant,” “genius,” and “amazing.” ¬†Others are complaining. ¬†Some claim that it is not the rock music they come to expect with the band and that the guitars are straight up “missing”. ¬†Still other fans try to be a little less harsh with their disappointment by calling it a “letdown.” ¬†Of course, much of the discussion focuses on the comparison between this new album and the previous ones. ¬†It doesn’t sound like the “classics” say some while others believe that fans shouldn’t compare but evaluate the album by itself.

If I didn’t know that those comments were on a Killers thread, I could have assumed that it was a Duran related thread from any of their album release weekends. ¬†Goodness knows that the most recent albums of Duran have been met with both praise and criticism from fans. ¬†As I read, I understood the passion that those fans are feeling. ¬†The music matters to them. ¬†They all want to love the new album and some do and some don’t. ¬†Maybe, in some cases, the fans who love it are not being critical enough. ¬†In other cases, perhaps, the fans who don’t like it aren’t open-minded enough. ¬†Part of me wanted to respond as someone who feels like I have been through this a bunch. ¬†I wanted to remind everyone that they are all passionate for a reason–because they fell for the Killers at some point. ¬†More than that, I had the urge to point out that this is just one album. ¬†The band has been around for awhile now and things can change. ¬†One disappointment is simply that–one.

Then, of course, the discussion surrounding the band itself comes up as some fans point out that both Mark, the band’s bassist, and Dave, the band’s guitarist, have walked away, at least as far as touring goes. ¬†There is concern that the band won’t be the same without them, which is valid. ¬†Other fans feel like they should support those guys’ decision to walk away, if that is what is best for them. ¬†Again, I feel like Duran fans have been through this. ¬†We know what it is like to have band members walk away as we have been through it a lot. ¬†Does it change the feel of the band? ¬†Sure. ¬†Does it mean that the overall feel of the band changes? ¬†Maybe. ¬†Maybe not. ¬†I feel like in the case of Duran, the band is larger than the individual members. ¬†The feel of Duran is stronger than any particular member, which is why the band and its fans were able to survive through the loss of all the Taylors as well as Warren and Andy for a second time.

If I could give any advice to these fans, I would remind them that times change, bands change. ¬†What feels like a huge deal right now might not be a big deal later–it will simply be one chapter in a long history. ¬†I would recommend holding on, even if they are not fans of what is going on with the personnel or the album itself. ¬†I know a lot of Duran fans who walked away when Andy and Roger left in 1985 or left with albums like Big Thing or Liberty and regret it. ¬†I know that I wish that I remained more of an active fan throughout the entire history of the band. ¬†I am also glad that I stayed with the band through a rough Red Carpet Massacre period in which I wasn’t a huge fan of the album and even less of a fan of the division within the fan community. ¬†Lastly, I would urge them to try to find something positive or something to be excited about. ¬†It can make all the difference in both enjoying one’s fandom but also in getting through a rough patch.

I will be watching how things go both for the Killers and their fans from here on out.  Perhaps, watching them can provide a mirror to our fan community that I could learn from as well.

-A