American indie-rock heroes The Killers have teamed up with a scrappy young up and comer from New Jersey named Bruce Springsteen on their latest single ‘Dustland’.
It all started with The Killers teasing a collaboration on their social media accounts with a high profile artist who at that time remained a mystery. Not even a day later, on his own social media accounts, Springsteen broke the news of the new project. The response from Brandon Flowers says it all: “Looks like the cat’s out of the bag. When The Boss decides it’s time to make an announcement, it’s time to make an announcement.”
Hey, if you’re going to pair up with a musical figure as legendary as Springsteen, you’re going to have to work off his schedule. ‘Dustland’ is actually a re-recording of the band’s 2008 track ‘A Dustland Fairytale’ from their third LP Day & Age. It tells a distinctly Springsteen-esque story: a young kid from a blue-collar town with “long brown hair and foolish eyes” who seeks to escape through the “Cinderella in a party dress”.
On the new version, Springsteen takes around half of the song’s vocal lines for himself, turning the song into a new two-person perspective. Springsteen and Flowers don’t harmonise, but belt out the song’s chorus in unison, falling directly into Springsteen’s ethos that any worry can be shout-sung away.
‘Dustland’ doesn’t really reveal anything new about The Killers or The Boss. The Killers were avowed Springsteen fans, and occasional copiers, all the way back to ‘When You Were Young’ saw the band strip away some of the glossier synths of Hot Fuss and embrace heartland rock in earnest. For his part, there’s not much that Springsteen has to prove by working with a younger band. Instead, it just seems like Springsteen really liked the song and wanted to record it with the group. The song is hard-driving, but also somewhat casual in approach. Neither artist is trying to reinvent the wheel – or even the original song – but both appear to be having a great time, and that’s good enough for me.
Check out the audio for ‘Dustland’ down below.