The Killers previewed their cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" as they toured this past summer and the youtube clips that spread across the web didn't sell me on the song. Perhaps it was the camera phone sound quality or that the clips suggested that Flowers was borrowing a little too closely from the Pet Shop Boys by starting the cover with a version of "Can't Keep My Eyes Off Of You" but it was surprising with how much I enjoyed the song after it started getting played on the radio. The last Joy Division cover to be an alternative radio hit was Nine Inch Nails take on "Dead Souls". Both are unlikely "single" candidates as Joy Division songs so the idea that two bands that owe little to mimicry of the JD sound (hello Interpol, Editors, She Wants Revenge, etc...) could manage to turn soundtrack contributions into radio hits is quite interesting. NIN dove into the deep end of darkness on their cover with Reznor searching for the heart of Ian Curtis' trademark despair before the studio perfect programming overtook him leaving nothing but numbness. The Killers didn't tinker with the foundation of their choice but go the other way with the vocals as Flowers "doot doot doot"s his way to a brighter place that reveals the pop song beneath the goth trappings of the original. Strange that The Killers would find more about the band Joy Division would become post-Curtis than Reznor's electronic arrangement in their unanticipated route to the soul of the song.
In the grand tradition of music videos of songs featured in films the "Shadowplay" video takes the majority of it's footage from Anton Corbijn's Control with The Killers making appearances on a tv that Ian Curtis is watching. Generally this sort of video doesn't work for me, but this one does:
: "Shadowplay" appears on the soundtrack to Control alongside what is possibly the last new material ever from New Order and can also be found on The Killers Sawdust which has been declared infinitely better than either Hot Fuss or Sam's Town.