Revisiting an album you used to love is a risky business. For whatever reason, HAL came up in conversation recently and their self-titled debut album was duly given a spin, only to demonstrate that with the exception of Worry About the Wind, it hadn’t aged well at all, and that mostly of it was, well, a bit terrible. If it’s an album that held particular significance (as it was, HAL didn’t), it can be absolutely heartbreaking.
But there are those that make it, that still stand up, and happily, one of those is The Killers’ Hot Fuss. Seductively sleazy, it’s perfect synth/guitar pop from beginning to end. The first few bars of opener Jenny Was A Friend of Mine are still hum with foreboding, and somehow excitement. When Brandon Flowers is roaring the chorus, complete with that finishing howl, your heart is most likely in your mouth. And then it’s straight into Mr Brightside, arguably the finest pop song of the last decade, a true modern classic which tells a story of intense jealousy and betrayal and yet also manages to be a shot of adrenalin which makes you feel good to be alive. Seriously – just listen to it and see if your pulse doesn’t quicken.
Oddly, though, the remaining singles are outshone by the album tracks. Smile Like You Mean It is still wonderfully sinister, but Somebody Told Me shines less and All These Things That I’ve Done is, with hindsight, faintly ridiculous. Still great, though, are On Top, the devastatingly sexy Andy, You’re A Star, and Glamorous Indie Rock’n’Roll. The latter is unashamedly cheesy – it features a tambourine and a chorus declaring “It’s indie rock and roll for me” – but it’s still irresistible, and even if you feel like a twat singing along, it’s likely you’ll still have a huge grin on your face as you do so. And tucked away at the end is Believe Me, Natalie, another oddly sinister plea (to take up her last chance to find a go-go dancer), atop thundering drums, growing more desperate as the song progresses.
Oh, wow, have they since gone off the boil (Day and Age will hopefully one day be stricken from the record), but it’s worth revisiting Hot Fuss as a reminder of why we all fell in love with them in the first place. Still as glossy and glamorous as it sounded seven years ago.