After deciding to enter Bruce Springsteen-ish arena rock territory on Sam’s Town, the band decided to more or less go further down that road on their third album Day & Age, but took out the guitars, implemented a lot more synthesizers and gave every song a ‘boom bap’ beat to which someone somewhere would be able to dance to. “Human” was released as the album’s first single and proceeded to become one of the band’s most popular tracks.
Brandon Flowers wants to know if we are human or dancer. Six and a bit years later, the lyric still confuses many. Though really it is a question simply asking whether we hold more significance to what meets the eye. Brandon wants the answers, so much so that he is on his knees, but knows that it will be a long time before he gets a result. As mentioned earlier, the song mainly uses synthesizers and keyboards to create a soaring sonic landscape on top of a clicky, palm-muted guitar lick that continuously fades in and out of the mix as time goes on. My personal favourite section of the track is the “Pay my respects to grace and virtue” verse, in which a lone synthesizer plays to the right along the driving bass and drums by Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannucci. Something about that specific part is just perfect to me.
One time when I was in year seven, just starting life in secondary school, a friend of mine randomly started singing “there was an open chaaiiiiiiir” and kept on repeating that line again. This forced me to question what was wrong with him as I joking began to question him about his mental health.
It all made sense a few months later, when the video “For Reasons Unknown” started showing on MTV. The line makes up a funny second verse in the track where Brandon Flowers wails: “There was an open chaaaaaiiiir/We sat down iiiiiiiiiin/The open chaaaiiir”, before going into the pre-chorus again. Still, that track was played over and over again that I eventual began to start liking it. I had no choice to be honest; the lyrics were permanently etched into my brain to the video’s excessive air time.
The song was released as “Sam’s Town”‘s final single, before the band went away for a year or so preparing their third album. The track is different from many other Killers stuff, as Brandon Flowers actually takes bass duties while Mark Stoermer plays the second guitar (as is shown in the video). I did not know that the track was a narrative based on Flowers’ grandmother who suffers/ed from Alzheimer’s disease. Kind of brings me down thinking about it, actually. But it is a very bold and strident track, with a very passionate vocal performance from Brandon. And an overall solid performance by the four guys.
After “When You Were Young” became the new hot stuff and its chorus were sung from the mouths of many a Killers fanatic, people were wondering what was going to follow from the LA four-piece. The first single from the band’s second album “Sam’s Town” reached number two in the UK, and has risen to become one of the band’s most popular songs.
Could they match the former single’s success? With a music video directed by none other than Tim Burton, I think they really wanted to. It didn’t. It reached number fifteen over here. But don’t get me wrong, the last thing I’m trying to do is deter you from listening to this song.
“COME WITH MEEEEEEEE”
Why is that sung at the beginning? Is it supposed to be a link between the previous song on the album? Is it a tie-in to the album’s concept? Does “Sam’s Town” even have a concept? Why am I asking you all these questions?
After that short but triumphant opening, “Bones” actually begins with a lovely melody played on the keyboard with accompanying guitar, bass and drums before changing into the minor key as the verse begins. The song is about a relationship where the narrator really wants to ‘get to know’ the other person. Originally, “Bones” was called “It’s Only Natural” reinforcing the biological theme. The music video for the song takes it into creepy, yet comical levels.