For its first three minutes, Brandon Flowers’ clip for “Lonely Town” is retro-leaning fun, as a young woman dances around her house while listening to the singer’s shimmering synth-pop jam on her Walkman. But things take a creepy turn in the final stretch, as the camera zooms out to inhabit the point-of-view of an unidentified person staring through the windows.
The song takes a similar dual approach, obscuring stalker-ish lyrics with its fist-pumping synthesizers and anthemic chorus hook. “I’ve been working overtime / But I can’t get you off my mind,” the Killers frontman sings during the first verse. “I’d sleep in the pouring rain / When will you come home again?” Other lines – including “Did you lock the door when it shut?” – also blur the line between romantic desperation and full-on restraining order.
In a March interview with Radio.com, Flowers said the song was inspired by another disturbing pop tune. “I sort of love how [The Police’s] ‘Every Breath You Take’ is taken as this love song, but it’s really got a darker side to it,” he said. “So that’s what I wanted to do with ‘Lonely Town.’ I was sort of picking up where Sting left off, lyrically. . . It sounds all nice, ‘When will you come home again?,’ but it’s really scary.”
“Lonely Town” is the latest track off Flowers’ upcoming second solo LP, The Desired Effect, out May 18th. The Ariel Rechtshaid-produced album (Haim, Vampire Weekend) features guest appearances from Haim’s Danielle Haim, Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and Bruce Hornsby, among others.
“On the first record, I was holding things back,” Flowers told Rolling Stone. “I’m not holding back on this record. I just want to write the best thing I can and put it out right now. . . I want to tell the truth. And the truth is, sometimes I love pop songs — I respect the craft and the history of that. But I also love telling stories and applying my experiences and observations. You hit a home run when those worlds can all work together.”