American rockers The Killers are back with a surprise release, in the form of a new, one off single called ‘Land of the Free’. This piano driven political ballad aims directly at Donald Trump and the dire state of modern America.
Lyrically the track is very direct and on the nose with its use of words, leaving nothing to the imagination. It’s easy to see where The Killers were coming from with this effort but I can’t help thinking it would have been a more powerful statement by taking a metaphorical approach.
However, it’s difficult to argue this stance as the music comes to a pause and Brandon Flowers sings, ‘We’ve got a problem with guns’. A moment in the song that will resonate with listeners for sure and come across as a powerful statement.
Vocally Brandon’s performance sounds like a throwback to the ‘Battle Born’ era of the band and reminded me of songs like ‘Runaways’. The gospel sounding backing vocals do however, offer a new flavour to what you’d usually expect from a Killers song. They sound vibrant and end up being the driving triumph of the entire song.
The piano playing is peaceful and calm and works as a great way of setting up the bigger instrumentation sounds as the band pounce into the drum-heavy chorus. It is the verses that bring up the most emotion from a listeners’ standpoint though, and the piano playing is a helping factor in achieving this.
The song comes across successfully as a journey down a new road for the band as it’s likely to be one of the first times they’ve aimed so politically with their song writing. It’s most certainly the bluntest they’ve ever been lyrically.
As the song approaches its last hurrah the gospel section takes over completely with chants of “In the land of the free”. Killers fans will surely be happy with the unexpected release but, as a listener, I long for more of the undeniably cool moments the group has offered in recent times such as single ‘The Man’ from their last record. Though it’s clear to see why The Killers had to take a completely different approach on this politically charged outing.
To listen to ‘Land of the Free’ click here.
All words by Jared Musson.
Photo sourced from Spotify.