Direct Hits represents The Killers in four phases chronologically. First up is a watered down, completely safe version of The Strokes. "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me" are annoying and the words are bafflingly bad. "Smile Like You Mean It" and "All These Things That I've Done" are really fun guilty pleasure tunes.
Next, we have the only two tracks the band should really count as accomplishments, "When You Were Young" and "Read My Mind." These are terrific songs from the otherwise putrid Sam's Town. The next one on this compilation, "For Reasons Unknown" is a total mess and represents what the rest of that album sounds like.
Then, we have The Killers as a completely bland, radio-friendly, all-synth who-cares glob of boring. Everything after "Spaceman" sounds like they were trying to recapture the glory of "When You Were Young" thematically and musically. However, whatever fleeting songwriting ability Brandon Flowers had completely vanished at this point. The stories are all of young love and hard times that he has obviously never experienced. They're just cliche representations his head has choked out of books he's read, movies he's seen or Springsteen albums he's heard over time. These songs are so sappy, they would make Michael Bolton throw up a little.
Finally, there are two new songs from The Killers, just in case you were clamoring for more boring, melodramatic-yet-soulless tunes from them. Almost anything on here could have been replaced by the only quasi-edgy song the band recorded, "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine", from their first album. It's a shame it wasn't included.
Okay, I get why people like these guys. They're upbeat, inoffensive and they get your foot tapping if you don't try to think too hard. They sound like The Cars if The Cars were unable to sing or write decent lyrics (some examples: "Are we human or are we Wal-Mart greeter" from Human; "I've got a hole but I'm not a holster / I've got a hole but I'm not a holster" from All These Things That I've Done; "Now she's taking a poop / Now he's getting a whiff / Now she's shutting the lid / Now he's getting her drift / Now she's washing her hands / Now she's drying her hands / He rolls up his pants... now / She puts on her hairnet... now / Now now now now now now now / Nownownow nownow nownownownow now" from Mr. Brightside).