The title of the Killers’ first LP in five years is sly, with its echo of the “wunnerful, wunnerful” signature of iconic “champagne music” accordionist Lawrence Welk, another shameless crowd-pleaser critics loved to shade. But what do we know? The Killers have made a huge career as bombastic rock magpies working the border between flamboyant earnestness and full-on camp, strategically declining full residency in either locale. What’s great about Wonderful Wonderful, though, is that they seem in on the joke, doubling down on their hugeness fetish while wink-winking their way to the bank.
always, they bite from the best. The goofily self-aggrandizing “The Man”
rides Kool and the Gang’s “Spirit of the Boogie” groove while
frontman Brandon Flowers declares himself a “household name.” “Out
of My Mind” is an Eighties meta-hit that never was, with Flowers pleading,
“Take the needle off the record, I can’t stand another chorus!” while
name-dropping Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney (“a heavy name to drop,”
he stage-whispers). The anti-Trump gestures in “Run for Cover” are
welcome, but the less-arch bits grate, perhaps knowingly. The U2-Springsteen-New
Order triangulation “Life to Come” is exasperatingly solemn until
Flowers urges, “Drop-kick the shame!” Hell, he sure has, and it’s
served him well.