Imploding the Mirage
The Killers - Imploding the Mirage.png
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 21, 2020
Studio
Genre
Length41:58
LabelIsland
Producer
The Killers chronology
Wonderful Wonderful
(2017)
Imploding the Mirage
(2020)
Singles from Imploding the Mirage
  1. "Caution"
    Released: March 12, 2020
  2. "Fire in Bone"
    Released: April 24, 2020
  3. "My Own Soul's Warning"
    Released: June 17, 2020
  4. "Dying Breed"
    Released: August 14, 2020

Imploding the Mirage is the sixth studio album by American rock band the Killers. It was released on August 21, 2020, by Island Records in the United States and internationally by EMI.[1][2] It is the band's first album without lead guitarist Dave Keuning, who has not toured or recorded with the Killers since he took an indefinite hiatus from the band in 2017. Guitar parts are covered by Killers bassist Mark Stoermer, producer Jonathan Rado, and a variety of guest musicians including Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) and Adam Granduciel (The War on Drugs).[3]

The album was preceded by the lead single "Caution", released on March 12, 2020,[4] the second single "Fire in Bone",[5] released on April 24, 2020, the third single "My Own Soul's Warning" released on June 17, 2020,[6] and the fourth single "Dying Breed", released on August 14, 2020.

The band is planning a world tour in support of the album, although ticket sales have since been delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[7]

Background

The band formally announced the album on social media on November 15, 2019. Frontman Brandon Flowers told NME that the band went to Utah to record part of the album as it was where Flowers "fell in love with music for the first time", also saying that it was "interesting to be there again and hear some of that music with the geography matching the sensation. Some of that stuff is starting to resurface and a lot of that had to do with synthesizer music. It's always been part of our DNA but it's definitely creeping up."[8]

Recording

Imploding the Mirage was recorded in various locations, including in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Park City, Utah, and produced by Canadian producer Shawn Everett, and Jonathan Rado of the band Foxygen. The duo pushed The Killers to think beyond what people might expect of them. Drummer Ronnie Vannucci noted: "It kind of felt uncomfortable in a really special way, I remember thinking, 'I don't know what's going to happen and I like it.'"[9]

The album is the band's first not to feature founding guitarist Dave Keuning, who took a step back from the band in a touring and recording capacity following the release of their previous studio album, Wonderful Wonderful (2017). Flowers and Vannucci reached out to Keuning to rejoin them in the studio to record Imploding the Mirage: "When we started working the schedule out, we asked [Dave] if it worked for him and he was like, 'Maybe, I don't know'. Well, we're going to go ahead and do this because we feel good and we feel creative. Let's strike. We didn't really hear from him, except when it came to making a video. He was like, 'If you guys want me in the video…' Well, I'm not sure that makes any sense either! Video? How about some guitar?"[9] Flowers elaborated: "He's just happy to be in San Diego and doesn't really want to venture out of there. If he comes for a week and we don't tap into the universe, that frustrates him a lot. He's kind of just spending time with his family and I think he's content doing that right now."[9]

Bass guitarist Mark Stoermer, who has been on touring hiatus from the band since 2016, contributed both bass and guitar to the album. Regarding Stoermer's involvement, Vannucci noted: "Mark's awesome in so many ways. We'd tell [Dave and Mark], 'This is the schedule, we're renting a house for six months, come out, whenever you want, we're there every day'. Mark came out to the house one time and to Los Angeles and it was great. It was on his own terms and was very productive. He played bass on some songs, played guitar on some songs, and even though he wasn't in the room we'd send him mixes and he'd be involved."[9]

The album features contributions from Lindsey Buckingham ("Caution"),[1] k.d. lang ("Lightning Fields"), Weyes Blood ("My God"), Adam Granduciel from the War on Drugs ("Blowback"), Blake Mills ("Caution") and Lucius ("Caution" and "My God").[4]

Composition

Musically, Imploding the Mirage has been described as alternative rock,[10][11] synth-pop,[12][11] pop rock,[11][13] pop,[14] arena rock,[15] heartland rock,[15] new wave,[16] and synth-rock.[17]

After contributing to five songs on the band's fifth studio album, Wonderful Wonderful, Australian musician and songwriter Alex Cameron returned to co-write three tracks on Imploding the Mirage.

Artwork

The album cover is Dance of the Wind and Storm by American artist Thomas Blackshear.[18] The album's artwork was decided upon during the recording process and became a source of visual inspiration in the studio, with Flowers noting: "They just look like gods. I just started to see a path open up in what these two people could represent for me. We blew up terrible lo-res versions of them and stuck them up in the studio. I would go to them when I needed help with lyrics and when we needed help with sonics, or [to decide] which songs were making the record. [The artwork] became a member of the band. There are direct lines that will just take you to the painting."[9]

Promotion

Live performances

The Killers performed tracks from the album live for CBS This Morning, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Good Morning America.[19][better source needed][20][21][22]

The band also appeared on the covers of NME and Music Week.[23][24]

Singles

The lead single, "Caution", was released on March 12, 2020, and reached number one on Billboard's Alternative Airplay and Rock Airplay charts.[25] The second single, "Fire in Bone", was released on April 24, 2020.[5] The third single, "My Own Soul's Warning", was released on June 17, 2020[6] and reached the top ten on Billlboard's Alternative Airplay and Rock Airplay charts and the fourth single, "Dying Breed", on August 14, 2020.[26]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Album of the Year75/100[27]
AnyDecentMusic?7.2/10[28]
Metacritic76/100[29]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[14]
Consequence of SoundB[30]
DIY4/5 stars[31]
Gigwise7/10 stars[32]
The Guardian3/5 stars[33]
The Independent3/5 stars[34]
The Irish Times3/5 stars[35]
The Line of Best Fit8.5/10[36]
NME5/5 stars[10]
Pitchfork7.4/10[17]

Imploding the Mirage received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has a score of 76 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews" based on 22 reviews.[29] AllMusic's Neil Z. Yeung stated that "the Killers strike gold" on the album, writing that it is "more than just one of their best albums, but a triumphant and invigorated rut-reversal that shines with a hard-won confidence."[14] DIY's Sarah Jamieson called the album "rich and invigorating" and stated that it "proves they're still one of our most treasured bands for a reason".[31] Writing for NME, Mark Beaumont called the album "a raised fist to the future" and "another dazzling statement of ultra-modern pomp, and one arguably even more in step with new generations of alt-rock" in a five-star review.[10]

Commercial performance

Imploding the Mirage debuted at number eight on the US Billboard 200 (and number one on the US Billboard Rock Albums chart), earning 37,000 album-equivalent units (including 30,000 pure album sales) in its first week.[37] In the United Kingdom, it debuted atop the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of 50,391 copies, becoming the third fastest-selling album of the year so far (behind Lady Gaga's Chromatica and Kylie Minogue's Disco).[38][39] It also marks the Killers' sixth consecutive UK chart-topper and Flowers' eighth.[39] The album also topped the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia.[40]

Track listing

All tracks are produced by Jonathan Rado and Shawn Everett, except where noted.

Imploding the Mirage track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."My Own Soul's Warning"Brandon Flowers 4:34
2."Blowback"
 3:59
3."Dying Breed" 4:05
4."Caution"
 4:29
5."Lightning Fields" (featuring k.d. lang)
  • Flowers
  • Vannucci
  • Everett
  • Rado
 4:18
6."Fire in Bone"
  • Everett
  • Price
  • Rado
3:53
7."Running Towards a Place"
  • Rechtshaid
  • Everett
  • Rado
4:13
8."My God" (featuring Weyes Blood)
 3:38
9."When the Dreams Run Dry"
  • Flowers
  • Rado
  • Cameron
 4:42
10."Imploding the Mirage"
  • Flowers
  • Rado
 4:07
Total length:41:58

Notes

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Imploding the Mirage.[41]

Studios

  • Subtle McNugget Studios (Los Angeles) – recording, mixing (all tracks)
  • Electro-Vox Recording Studios (Los Angeles) – recording (all tracks)
  • Battle Born Studios (Las Vegas) – recording (all tracks)
  • Effie Street Studios (Los Angeles) – mixing (tracks 1, 3, 7, 10)
  • Assault and Battery 1 (London) – mixing (track 3)
  • Ariel's Studio – mixing (track 3)
  • The Lodge (New York City) – mastering (all tracks)

The Killers

  • Brandon Flowers – vocals (all tracks); synth (tracks 1–8, 10); organ (tracks 1, 5); glockenspiel (track 1); marimba synth (track 9); guitar (track 10)
  • Ronnie Vannucci Jr. – drums (all tracks); percussion (tracks 1, 4); guitar (tracks 6, 7); timpani (tracks 8, 10); marimba (track 10)
  • Mark Stoermer – guitar (tracks 3, 4, 7, 9); bass (track 4); E-Bow (track 5); bass IV (track 6)

Additional musicians

  • Bobby Lee Parker – guitar (track 1)
  • Jonathan Rado – bass (tracks 1–3, 5, 7, 9, 10); organ, cello (track 1); guitar (tracks 1, 5, 7, 10); string synth (tracks 1, 4, 6, 7); piano (tracks 1–3, 7, 10); slide guitar (tracks 2–4); acoustics (tracks 2, 6); E-Bow (tracks 2, 3, 9); harmonica (tracks 2, 3, 6, 10); 12-string (tracks 3, 7); celeste (track 3); acoustic guitar (tracks 3, 4, 8, 9); synth (tracks 3, 9, 10); drones (track 4); Emulator, horns, bagpipes (track 5); Fairlight (tracks 6, 8); fretless bass (track 8); Linn (track 9); marimba, vibraphone (track 10)
  • Rob Moose – strings (track 1)
  • Roger Joseph Manning Jr. – keys (track 1)
  • Brian D'Addario – acoustic guitar (track 1)
  • Shawn Everett – programming (track 2); drones (track 3); Emulator (track 9)
  • Natalie Mering – outro vocals (track 2); additional vocals (track 5); bridge vocals (track 8); vocals (track 10)
  • Adam Granduciel – keys, FX manipulation (track 2)
  • Lindsey Buckingham – guitar (track 4)
  • Blake Mills – guitar, bass, bass IV (track 4)
  • Lucius – background vocals (tracks 4, 8)
  • k.d. lang – vocals (track 5)
  • Drew Erickson – piano (track 5); strings (track 8)
  • Stuart Price – synths, guitar, bass (track 6)
  • Benji Lysaght – guitar (track 7)
  • Ariel Rechtshaid – guitar, bass, Linn (track 7)
  • Tommy King – synth, pan flute (track 7)
  • Weyes Blood – vocals (track 8)

Technical

  • Jonathan Rado – production (all tracks)
  • Shawn Everett – production, recording, mixing (all tracks)
  • Ivan Wayman – engineering (tracks 1, 2, 4–10)
  • Robert Root – engineering (tracks 1, 2, 4–10)
  • Ariel Rechtshaid – mixing (tracks 1, 3, 7); production (track 7)
  • Dave Shiffman – mixing (tracks 3, 7)
  • Flood – mixing (track 3)
  • Stuart Price – production (track 6)
  • Alan Moulder – mixing (track 10)
  • Emily Lazar – mastering (all tracks)

Artwork

  • Brandon Flowers – art direction
  • Joe Spix – art direction, design
  • Sandy Brummels – art direction
  • Thomas Blackshear II – paintings

Charts

Chart performance for Imploding the Mirage
Chart (2020)Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[42]1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[43]4
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[44]4
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[45]15
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[46]9
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[47]16
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[48]50
French Albums (SNEP)[49]98
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[50]6
Irish Albums (OCC)[51]1
Italian Albums (FIMI)[52]54
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[53]107
Lithuanian Albums (AGATA)[54]97
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[55]4
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[56]22
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[57]33
Scottish Albums (OCC)[58]1
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[59]15
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[60]44
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[61]2
UK Albums (OCC)[62]1
US Billboard 200[63]8
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[64]2
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[65]1

Certifications

RegionCertificationCertified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[66]Silver60,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also

References

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  3. ^ Greene, Andy (May 5, 2020). "How the Killers Started Over Again". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Childers, Chad (March 12, 2020). "The Killers unveil 'Caution' Song, 'Imploding the Mirage' artwork". Loudwire. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
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