Wonderful Wonderful is the Killers’ fifth studio album, arriving some five years after the band’s last effort, Battle Born. This extended hiatus has been occupied by Brandon Flowers’ inescapable writer’s block; something which perhaps explains the lack of a defining theme here.
The Killers’ albums have a rocky history in this regard, and this release is no different. It gives the impression of pieces haphazardly thrown together, rather than that of a solid, cohesive, clearly linked body of work. On the album’s second track and lead single, ‘The Man,’Flowers brags, somewhat winkingly, about being “The Man,” before describing his wife’s crippling self-esteem issues in the following number, ‘Rut.’ This tends to be the Killers’ fatal flaw: they can craft great single pieces, but encounter difficulties in extending that intensity into a killer (excuse the pun) full album.
In truth, Wonderful Wonderful is easy background noise, something to nod along to while doing household chores or studying, but not enough to grip your attention and make you sit and listen. One song that does stand out is the penultimate track, ‘The Calling.’ Actor Woody Harrelson recites a Gospel verse, describing Jesus’ quest to save the unrighteous, before Flowers launches into Biblical metaphors, and musings on his faith and life. It’s the most striking song on the album, and offers a style begging to be further explored. It’s something different in a musical world saturated with tracks that all sound the same.
In a nutshell: Wonderful Wonderful isn’t terrible, in fact, the quality of each individual song is often great, but its lack of direction is glaringly obvious.