'Busting on the international music scene in 2001 from seemingly out of nowhere, The Killers quickly established themselves as one of the new century’s biggest new acts. The band’s unique blend of hard-hitting guitars, soaring synths and plaintive, ambiguous lyrics made them stand out during the post-punk revival of the early 2000s. So did their collection of music videos, which helped the group cultivate an air of melodrama, elegance and bruised romanticism.
Although the video for “Mr. Brightside” owes an obvious debt to “Moulin Rouge!,” the Sophie Mueller directed clip stands on its own. Its narrative of doomed love triangle between lead singer Brandon Flowers, actress Izabella Miko and b-movie icon Eric Roberts is so lushly filmed and archly melodramatic, it’s almost laughable. However, Mueller balances all the decadence with enough genuine heartbreak to keep things for descending into farce.
“Somebody Told Me”
The “Somebody Told Me” clip effectively serves as a video version of the cover of the Killer’s first album, 2004’s Hot Fuzz. It’s full of the glitzy lights and Southwestern desolation that defines the band’s hometown of Las Vegas and the desperate twilight vibe that perfectly matches the album's central themes.
“All These Things That I've Done”
The next entry is something of a cheat. The Anton Corbijn-directed music video for “All These Things I’ve Done” is pretty great. It’s steeped in the Southwestern Americana aesthetic that defined the Killers’ Sam’s Town era and it acts as a fun homage to the work of sexploitation film icon Russ Meyer. However, it pales in comparison to the scene of Justin Timberlake lip-syncing the song in Richard Kelly’s gonzo end-of-the-world flick “Southland Tales.” In the scene, Timberlake’s character, a physically and psychologically scarred veteran, experiences a drug-induced war flashback/nightmare. If nothing else, the scene provides a haunting context for the Killers’ most cryptic lyric, “I got soul but I'm not a soldier.”
“When You Were Young”
A tribute to the films of Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas, Anthony Mandler’s music video for “When You Were Young” is a miniature epic of love found, lost and regained in the heart of Mexico. In addition to telling a visually rich and emotionally resonant short film, “Young” has become the band’s most popular video because of how it weaves the song’s fragmented imagery together in a way that is both coherent and satisfying.
Tim Burton’s music video directorial debut, “Bones” is a gothic celebration of all of the band’s pets; doomed relationships, romantic ambivalence and skepticism about the nature of everlasting love. It’s also a beautiful tribute to iconic dark cinematic love stories like “From Here to Eternity,” “10” and “Lolita”