After enduring a tenacious wait, fighting nerve-wracking anticipation and aching with nostalgia for the early 2000s guyliner in “Mr. Brightside,” fans of The Killers can rejoice — the band is back.
In its recently released music video for its new single, “The Man,” the band introduces a new era of unapologetic excitement and energy leading up to the release of its upcoming album Wonderful, Wonderful.
For the members of The Killers, “The Man” defines who they were as young, successful musicians. During the Hot Fuss era, frontman Brandon Flowers believed he was the greatest — or “god’s gift,” as he said himself in an interview with Radio X.
“The Man” is essentially a diss track of the band members’ past selves. The song captures narcissism at its finest with the concept of who “the man” is. Its catchy, overly confident, douchey lyrics coupled with an upbeat, modern ‘80s funk further develop the persona the music creates.
The video is structured around separate montages of different characters all portrayed by the man himself, Brandon Flowers — an aspiring performer, an apartment lone body, a gambler, a ladies’ man and a gun-shooting trailer park owner — who spend their days stroking their own egos.
The aspiring performer comes out onstage in a local bar, with Vegas showgirl dancers fawning all over Flowers as he sings. The apartment lone body sports a jumpsuit with “The Man” embroidered on the back while replaying a VHS tape of himself spinning in the air on a motorcycle. The gambler confidently struts down the casino hallway, nodding at strangers as he makes his way to the poker table. The ladies man is gathered with beautiful women who accompany him in an expensive Vegas hotel room. The gun shooter with a trailer park smugly shoots beer cans in the desert before heading to the bar to sing this very song.
“I got gas in the tank / I got money in the bank / I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man,” sings Flowers throughout the video. As the stories unfold, the lyrics further reinforce the success and strong sense of self these men believe they possess.
Despite their critics, the characters continue to pursue a reality they desperately try to force into existence. They fall further and further into denial, convincing themselves that their superficiality will lead them closer to the versions of themselves they want others to perceive.
Ultimately, the facade of cockiness cracks and brings the male leads back to the truth they must face. “Who’s the man? Who’s the man? / I’m the man, I’m the man / Who’s the man with the plan? / I’m the man,” sings Flowers as it all goes down, in a move that is palpably ironic.
The aspiring performer leaves his near-empty audience yawning and puts away his shiny jeweled costume in a locker cubby. The apartment lone body becomes angry after confronting the fact that his motorcycle glory days are over. The gambler gets kicked out of the casino after throwing a fit from betting all of his belongings and losing his money. The ladies man is left alone by his women. And the tough trailer park owner at the bar gets stupidly drunk and beaten up by a man after hitting on his girlfriend.
Sonically, “The Man” expresses an egotistical attitude, but the video offers up a new layer on top of the lyrics’ self-absorption. There is a darkness to the Man that can’t be heard when listening to the song by itself. The video reveals a sense of life experience that The Killers may have lived through that is not otherwise explicitly explored in the lyrics.
While the single itself brings a new fire to The Killers’ collection, its visual accompaniment is what allows the song to flourish in its meaning and importance. Its funky energy and well-developed storyline give viewers a mixture of excitement for the song and sympathy for its characters. Together, the band hopes to give viewers and longtime fans insight into its past as it continues to celebrate its growth through new music.