Brandon Flowers, the singer best known as the sultry front man of The Killers, released the first single on March 30 from his upcoming album, “The Desired Effect,” set for release on May 19 in the United States. Bold and infectious, “Can’t Deny My Love” is a logical next step for Flowers, whose new wave and synth pop influences have been creeping into The Killers’ music since the band’s debut in the early 2000s.
For the music video accompanying the single though, Flowers travels back beyond the ’80s and into Puritan New England. Heavily inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown,” the video starts out with Flowers packing for a mysterious journey. His wife, portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood, asks him to stay back – to stay with her – but he denies her pleas, promising to be back in the morning. Fast-forward and Flowers is in a dark forest, meeting a creepy stranger (Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler) who tries to hand him a serpentine staff. Flowers refuses, freaked out by the hellish hot flash he experiences when he tries to take hold of the staff.
Moments later, Flowers finds a pink ribbon on the ground, much like the one his wife wears tied around her hair. To his disbelief, he soon realizes that his wife has accepted Butler’s staff and is undergoing a ritual of mysterious black magic. However, Flowers suddenly wakes up the next morning, unsure of whether he dreamt the whole thing. When he returns home, he finds that his wife is still there, hair ribbon intact. The relief he feels is only momentary though, because he finds the ribbon from the previous night still in his bag.
This video is exquisitely directed, with shadowy color schemes and an eerie performance from Wood. While the plot of the video stays fairly true to Hawthorne’s short story, Wood’s portrayal of the wife is far less innocuous, creating some interesting foreshadowing even before the viewer sees her in the forest. Flowers isn’t too shabby of an actor himself, though most of his facial expressions make him look like a confused/bemused male model.
Still, “Can’t Deny My Love” bodes well for the critically anticipated new album with its poppy brilliance and literary tilt.