The first track to be released from Wonderful Wonderful, this was premiered on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show on June 14, 2017. It was The Killers' first new music since 2012's Battle Born (apart from their annual Christmas offerings).
Frontman Brandon Flowers told Annie it was a "relief" to put the track out after five years away. He added: "It's funkier than anything we've ever done before but with quintessentially Killers things."
Recorded with the producer Jacknife Lee during album sessions in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the song finds Killers frontman Brandon Flowers looking back on his younger self, the "Brandon Flowers" persona from the band's Hot Fuss era, and reconciling that wide-eyed character with the man he is now.
Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr explained to Canadian radio station CFOX-FM that the song's lyrics were "largely about how when we were younger we felt invincible. What it meant to be a 'man' in your 20s. Sort of your chest out, the breadwinner, nothing could stop you, invincible sort of thing."
"It's sort of tongue-and-cheeking that, how that is not really the point of being a man at all," he added. "It's actually more about compassion and empathy."
The flamboyant video, directed by Tim Mattia (The 1975, Halsey, Zedd ft. Alessia Cara) features frontman Brandon Flowers portraying a variety of Vegas personalities. They each consider themselves to be the man, but none of them live up to the hype.
Said Brandon Flowers: "I think we're exploring falsehoods and old outdated notions of what it means to be a man, and sometimes the veneer that you can put on. I guess it's about the fragility of the male ego. Everything just gets worse and worse as the video goes on."
The song finds Brandon Flowers reflecting on the arrogance of his public persona that he had when The Killers first rose to fame. "Around about the time that The Killers started, I guess that's where 'The Man' harkens back to, and years after as well," Flowers told NME. "I can live with it, you know. It was nice to sort of go in and inhabit that character, and that figure, and that version of myself for much longer."
"I think a good chunk of this album [Wonderful Wonderful] is making peace with that," he continued. "I've been cleaning it up for a long time. I don't think that was really a great representation, an honest representation of who I am. It came from a place of insecurity and I would just puff my chest out and say things and put a lot of negativity out there. I basically came to regret that and I'm sure a lot of people can identify with that."
According to Ronnie Vannucci Jr, the song "was a complete fluke." He explained to Artist Direct:
"That was me and Jacknife fooling around in the studio with loops, and we came up with that. And then Brandon had an idea for a song called 'The Man' that was a little different than what we were working on, and we just put those lyrics to this groove and Brandon put a chorus on it, made a better chorus. It's all different. It's always a little different. There are some songs that are born out of jams, that's fun, and some that are pre-prepared."
This was voted the Hottest Record Of The Year by listeners of BBC Radio 1. Host Annie Mac described the song as "a very sassy and sexy record, brimming with bravado."