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The definitive rankings of all The Killers albums

The Killers recently released a new album, ‘Pressure Machine.’ Is it the band’s best?

A photo of The Killers.
The Killers recently released a new album, ‘Pressure Machine.’ Is it the band’s best?
Olivia Bee

The Killers have released another album, and it’s basically all about Utah.

In mid-August, The Killers dropped the new studio album, “Pressure Machine,” which explores the hidden side of Utah. In the album, lead singer Brandon Flowers, who lived in Nephi, when he was young, reflects on his boyhood living in the small Utah town. Throughout the album, we hear snippets of small-town residents — from Nephi or Spanish Fork, it seems — who reflect on their lives. The album is packed with discussion about living up to expectations and losing out on your dreams. It’s a deep album, one packed with reflection and rusted reminiscence.

But does “Pressure Machine” rank among the band’s best albums? Or does it bottom out on the lower end due to its sad, depressing nature?

We’ve decided to rank all The Killers’ albums from worst to best. This is based on our opinions alone, and not based on any official ranking.

Note: This list will include “Sawdust” and “Don’t Waste Your Wishes” — two of the band’s compilation albums. We will not include “Direct Hits” because it’s basically a greatest hits album. That said, the album has two excellent tracks — ”Shot at the Night” and “Just Another Girl” — that are worthy of a few listens.

9 — Don’t Waste Your Wishes (2016)

For years, The Killers would release some Christmas singles during the holiday season. But in 2016, an album of all the songs became available on Apple Music (it was later added to Spotify). The compilation is an excellent roundup of Christmas tunes, including the bop “Christmas in LA” and the Utah-themed “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” cover. It’s not the best Killers album in total, but it has some standard hits that are perfect for the holiday season.

8 — Sawdust (2007)

These early songs from The Killers made their way onto a compilation album. And it’s really not a bad collection of tunes. Some of the songs had their moment in the sun — like “Tranquilize” and “Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll.” It’s got some other hits like “Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf,” which is allegedly connected to songs “Midnight Show” and “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.” Meanwhile, “Under the Gun” is another good deep cut. But really, the album doesn’t have a thread since it’s a compilation work. Still, it has some staple Killers music if you’re looking for some pieces you haven’t heard before.

7 — Imploding the Mirage (2020)

Though “Imploding the Mirage” came out during the pandemic, it was planned well before the pandemic happened. The album feels a little compact and tight, losing out on the epicness as “Wonderful Wonderful” and “Battle Born.” But this is the first album in The Killers’ Utah era. The album was recorded in Utah and has to deal with the eternal love that Brandon Flowers feels for his wife. The album has some strong songs — though none of them became hits — that flow really well together. “My Own Soul’s Warning,” “Dying Breed” and “Imploding the Mirage” are solid Killers dance-rock hits. “When the Dreams Run Dry” has the beauty and soulfulness of “Have All the Songs Been Written?” It’s a beautiful album without the grand-scale songs of earlier Killers albums.

6 — Day & Age (2008)

When this album first dropped, it was a bit of risk. It had some musical elements that were different than the rock-focused “Sam’s Town.” But it is glittered with themes of space, humanity and fantasy. This album has only aged well. It’s packed with hit singles like “Human” and “Spaceman.” But even lesser-known songs like “Losing Touch” and “Goodnight, Travel Well” still slap. The album’s most legendary song is still probably “A Dustland Fairytale,” which was a hit at the time and has been redone more recently with Bruce Springsteen involved. Though this album may have been a risk, it’s a risk that paid off over time. That said, it’s one of the more forgotten Killers albums.

5 — Pressure Machine (2021)

“Pressure Machine” is probably the darkest album from The Killers since “Hot Fuss.” If “Hot Fuss” is a run through a nightclub in underground London, “Pressure Machine” is a walk through a rusted Utah town. Another album of the Utah era, “Pressure Machine” talks about the dreams of those stuck in small towns, and the journey that small-town residents go through in their lives. Some escape, some stay behind. It’s a reflective album that feels more like personal storytelling. There aren’t radio hits on this album, either. In years to come, I could see the songs on this album — like the haunting “Desperate Things” and “Pressure Machine” being hits. It’s really an album of deep cuts (which are songs that are unpopular to the masses but are popular to hardcore fans), which will probably be brought up down the road in trivia nights.

4 — Sam’s Town (2006)

“Sam’s Town” takes a different turn as the band’s sophomore album. While the band’s first album “Hot Fuss” felt like a late-night stroll through a dark, underground world, “Sam’s Town” takes us to the outskirts of Las Vegas. It’s our first journey into Nevada with The Killers, which is a recurring theme throughout future albums. It’s essential Killers listening with songs such as “When You Were Young” and “Read My Mind.” But there are a few drags on this album, which don’t click as well as the songs on “Hot Fuss.”

3 — Wonderful Wonderful (2017)

There was a five-year break for The Killers before this album. Once again, Flowers dabbled into the solo album career before coming back for “Wonderful Wonderful.” Rather than a collection of songs, the album felt like a story tied together. It’s got the Nevadan vibes of “Battle Born” but with the grounded feel of “Sam’s Town.” Top hit songs include “The Man,” which had an extended radio run back in 2017, and “Run For Over.” Other songs give off the Vegas vibes, like “Tyson vs. Douglas” and “The Calling.” There are some forgettable songs on this album, but the ending tune, “Have All the Songs Been Written?” shows the epicness last seen in “Battle Born,” giving an indication that The Killers can hit the high levels of beautiful music when needed.

2 — Battle Born (2012)

It took four years for The Killers to release their next album (mostly because lead singer Brandon Flowers tried his hand at a solo career). The new album came in the form of “Battle Born” — an ode to the great state of Nevada. The time away from the studio booth didn’t hurt the band, as this album was really an improved version of “Sam’s Town.” Less gritty, “Battle Born” was packed with the heart and soul that would come to define the band’s later albums. The song had some hits like “Runaways” and “Here with Me.” And it has “Miss Atomic Bomb,” which is a prequel song to “Mr. Brightside,” so that’s a nice touch. It’s an album that embraces the epic and the bigness of music. It’s stellar listening that shows the range of the band.

1 — Hot Fuss (2004)

There’s no other album that surpasses “Hot Fuss.” It’s rare that a band provides a classic on its first go. But The Killers did just that with an album packed with hits like “Somebody Told Me” and “All These Things That I’ve Done.” And don’t forget the mega classic “Mr. Brightside,” which has stood the test of time, remaining a hit song for more than 15 years. Some may forget about The Killers, or might not enjoy their newer work. But “Hot Fuss” can’t be passed up by any Killers fan. And the songs on this album will always resonate for those who heard the band back in the earlier days.