Xfm, the radio station I listened to more than any other over the past 10 years, named 'Mr. Brightside' their Song of the Decade. So did Absolute Radio. I haven't gone quite that far, but #5 in my countdown is still a respectable showing for a much-loved indie anthem. If you needed further proof of the song's popularity, consider this - the song, first released in June 2004, has just re-entered the UK Top 100, and has now spent a total of 71 weeks inside the singles chart (including 14 re-entries).
Brandon Flowers, the Mormon frontman of The Killers is a true showman. The way he moves about a stage, the way he delivers his lines, the costumes, videos and elaborate set designs, Flowers clearly believes in the value of a performance. Which is to be expected, from someone who hails from Las Vegas.
I first saw them at Glastonbury 2004, in the New Bands Tent. They drew the biggest crowd of the weekend, and I described them (in my festival review) as "the HOTTEST band around, unquestionably the biggest new band in the world." At Glastonbury 2005, I saw them again, this time on the Pyramid Stage ahead of the Friday night headliners, The White Stripes. And I mentioned that they "should have been replacing Kylie" (who had pulled out due to her breast cancer), but that they "preferred their existing slot - it virtually guarantees that they'll be headliners in 2007". And then, I saw them again at Glastonbury 2007, and surprise, surprise, they headlined the Pyramid on the Saturday night. This time, I noted that there was "no-one in the crowd who didn't know every word to every song, and at the end of a long day, when you're tired and muddy and damp, what better to cheer the spirits than a big singalong."
If you're sensing a trend here, you'd be right. For me, The Killers are a festival band, and 'Mr. Brightside' is a festival song. It's full of pomp, well-enunciated lyrics (i.e. easy to remember the words and sing along) and, when viewed from the perspective of 100,000 people, it's an exhilerating experience. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can place the exact moments at which the collective enjoyment reaches its peaks - the "... chest, now, he takes off her dress, now" lyric, the first chorus, "it was only a kiss, it was ONLY a kiss", the keyboard bridge into the "I neeeeevvvvvveeeeeeerrrrrr" outro. Best enjoyed live, no doubt, but if you're interested, here's what the video for the single looks like.