KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #345: All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #345: All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers.

I will start by thanking my friend, John Barr, for, not only suggesting that I write about this song but, as well, for pointing me in the direction of the cool back story that is associated with “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers. Thanks, John!

I have featured “The Killers” before when we took a look at one of their other hits, “Mr. Brightsides” a while back. “The Killers” are an American band out of Las Vegas. They released one super big album called, “Hot Fuss” in 2004 and from that album came a whole host of terrific songs such as “Mr. Brightsides”, “Smile Like You Mean It”, “Somebody Told Me”, “Andy, You’re a Star” and “All These Things That I’ve Done”. Like most of their songs, “All These Things I’ve Done” is a crowd-pleasing favourite and is often used to close their shows. But, what many people don’t know is that this song is based upon a real person who, as it turns out, is doing something noteworthy with his life. Here is the story of “All These Things I’ve Done” by “The Killers”.

Before “The Killers” became famous, the band consisted of a bunch of guys who were all struggling to make ends meet. All of the band members had second jobs that put food on their tables and a roof over their heads. For lead singer, Brandon Flowers, his “real job” was at a local casino. The story is that one day, he and his bandmates (who had recorded some demo tracks and were shopping them around to various companies) met a record executive named Matt Pinfield. Matt was unsuccessful in signing the band but, after the meeting was over, he asked if one of the guys could give him a lift back to his hotel. Flowers offered Pinfield a drive. That drive lead to a meal and a few drinks and, in the course of this alone-time, Pinfield told Flowers about an organization he volunteered with that helped mentor US soldiers who were music-oriented but, who were suffering from PTSD from being on duty in the Gulf War. Flowers was so moved by the stories Pinfield told him about returning US soldiers and music therapy that, immediately after they went their separate ways, Flowers took pen to paper and wrote the rough lyrics to what was to become, “All These Things That I’ve Done”. The two have become fast friends ever since, with Pinfield subsequently titling his biography as, “All These Things I Have Done: My Insane, Improbable Rock Life”.

The lyrics to “These Things That I’ve Done” speak directly to Pinfield’s story. The song begins:

“When there’s nowhere else to run,

Is there room for one more son?

One more son?

If you can hold on,

If you can hold on,

Hold on.

I wanna stand up!

I wanna let go!

You know, you know No, you don’t,

you don’t I wanna shine on in the hearts of men.

I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand.

I’m so much older than I can take……” and, on it goes.

I have friends who have served in active duty and have read much about how doing so has changed them. This song touches upon that very well and then, adds in Pinfield’s intervention with the oft-repeated line, “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier”. “All These Things That I’ve Done” comes across as a fun, anthemic arena sing-a-long but, there is a more serious side to its’ message. God Bless all those who have put themselves in harm’s way for peaceful purposes. Never having served in such dire situations, I will never know what you know nor feel how you feel. But, I imagine that it must have been tough and so, in a tribute that is small and insignificant compared to what you have done for us, I offer you a song. I hope that you accept the gesture and find some comfort there. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “All These Thing That I’ve Done” by The Killers, can be found here.

The link to the official website for The Killers, can be found here.

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: KTOM-Song #455…Mr. Brightsides by The Killers.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #455: Mr. Brightsides by The Killers.

There is something cathartic about the experience of singing in public. The sense of community you feel with those singing all around you and the sense of connection you feel with the musical artist on stage is second to none. For this reason, there is a special place reserved in all of our hearts for sing-along anthems. “Mr. Brightsides” by The Killers is one such pop-rock anthem. But, “Mr. Brightsides” has proven to be more than simply, “disposable pop”. In fact, since it was released in 2004, “Mr. Brightsides” has sold over four million copies around the world. In the UK (where it is akin to their national anthem), “Mr. Brightsides” was named “Song of the Decade for 2000-2010” and is in the Top Ten all-time in terms of the number of times it has been downloaded. So, what is it about this song that people relate to and enjoy so much? Let’s discuss, shall we?

“Mr. Brightsides” is a song about a man watching his girlfriend cheat on him with another man. Ordinarily, that subject matter gets the “tears in my beer” treatment but, lead singer, Brandon Flowers, did something clever with the lyrics of this song…he made the song almost, “tactile” or “sensory”. When you think of your five senses, you can all think of how certain things taste or how they feel or sound or whatever. Because of our life experiences and our intellectual capacity, thinking about our senses is a multi-dimensional experience. Thinking about warm chocolate running down your throat will illicit a different reaction than thinking about minty mouthwash or toothpaste. Our lived experiences inform our intellectual reactions to sensory stimulus.

Now, let’s apply this to the lyrics of “Mr. Brightsides”. When the song came out, it was geared, for the most part, to a target audience in their twenties. For many people in that age bracket, life experiences at that time include dating and exploring the sensual aspect of being with other people. Many of these new experiences are sensory in nature. For example, caresses, firm kisses, skin-on-skin sensations and so on. The lyrics to “Mr. Brightsides” mine the sensory experiences of their target audience by including words that describe the illicit affair in ways the audience can feel in that multi-dimensional, lived way. Lines such as, “She’s touching his chest, now. He takes off her dress, now” cause listeners to remember how they felt being touched or how it was to remove clothing when it came to that stage of the encounter. The lyrics provoke a visceral reaction. Fortunately, despite the negative storyline, the experiences being described are pleasurable ones and, as a result, audiences happily sing along and feel great doing so.

In addition, Flowers includes some community-building moments into his lyrics when he sings that, “It’s just the price I pay, destiny is calling me, open up my eager eyes, I’m Mr. Brightsides!” These lines are usually the ones that create the lustiest sing-along moments in any live performance. And, that is the final point I will make….”Mr. Brightsides” is a song meant to be performed live. Just like “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, “Mr. Brightsides” is a song designed to cause a specific visceral reaction from an audience. When that reaction occurs, the song elevates to a much higher, special level. Therefore, in the videos I will post today, they will all be from live performances. The first one in this post will be from a live performance at Royal Albert Hall. In this performance, Flowers describes how the band came together in Las Vegas and how the song came to be. Btw, The Killers are Brandon Flowers on vocals, Dave Keuning on lead guitar, Mark Stoermer on bass/rhythm guitar and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. on drums. I will, also, post two festival performances from The Glastonbury Music Festival; one from the band’s point of view *(featuring Johnny Marr from The Smiths, on guitar) and the second video will be from the audience’s point of view. In both cases, watch and listen for the energy from the crowd. “Mr. Brightsides” is one of the most-popular pop anthems of this century and, since I am writing this post on a Friday, why don’t we all kick back, sing along and have a little fun. Something about that feels right to me. Enjoy.

The link to the music video for Mr. Brightsides by The Killers from Royal Albert Hall can be found here.

The link to the music video for Mr. Brightsides by The Killers from The Glastonbury Music Festival (the band’s POV) can be found here.

The link to the music video for Mr. Brightsides by The Killers from The Glastonbury Music Festival (the audience’s POV) can be found here.

The Killers have a great website that can be linked to by clicking here.