Song of the Day: Mr. Brightside by The Killers

Mr. Brightside” is the debut single by Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers. The song is featured on the group’s debut album Hot Fuss and was written by Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning.

Lyrics:

I’m coming out of my cage
And I’ve been doing just fine
Gotta gotta be down
Because I want it all
It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this
It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss
Now I’m falling asleep
And she’s calling a cab
While he’s having a smoke
And she’s taking a drag
Now they’re going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it’s all in my head
But she’s touching his chest
Now, he takes off her dress
Now, letting me go

I just can’t look its killing me
And taking control
Jealousy, turning saints into the sea
Swimming through sick lullabies
Choking on your alibis
But it’s just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
Cause I’m Mr Brightside

I’m coming out of my cage
And I’ve been doing just fine
Gotta gotta be down
Because I want it all
It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this
It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss
Now I’m falling asleep
And she’s calling a cab
While he’s having a smoke
And she’s taking a drag
Now they’re going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it’s all in my head
But she’s touching his chest
Now, he takes off her dress
Now, letting me go

‘Cause I just can’t look its killing me
And taking control
Jealousy, turning saints into the sea
Swimming through sick lullabies
Choking on your alibi
But it’s just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
‘Cause I’m Mr Brightside
I never
I never
I never
I never

——-

It was named “Song of the Decade” by UK radio stations Absolute Radio and XFM, and in April 2010 Last.fm revealed that it was the most listened to track since the launch of the online music service, with over 12.2 million plays “scrobbled”. In October 2010, it was voted ninth in the Greatest Guitar Riffs of the 21st Century so far by Total Guitar magazine. It is The Killers’ best-selling song in the US where it has sold over 3 million copies.

Lyrically “Mr. Brightside” depicts the jealousy and paranoia of a male who suspects his significant other is deliberately cheating on him. The song is inspired by an unfaithful ex-girlfriend of frontman Brandon Flowers. Dave Keuning composed the verses to this song before meeting Flowers, Flowers wrote lyrics and composed the chorus after hearing Dave’s ideas. In the November of the year 2001, the group had recorded “Mr. Brightside” along with three other demos including “Desperate”, “Replaceable”, and “Under the Gun” at Mike Sak’s Kill the Messenger Studio in Henderson, Nevada. They handed out this demo for free during their shows in the year 2002.

“Mr. Brightside” became a popular song within the Las Vegas music scene with one reviewer calling it a “feel-good anthem that ranks as one of the best local tracks in a long time.” After signing with UK indie label Lizard King Records, the track was sent to radio as a buzz single and it received frequent spins by influential BBC Radio 1 DJ’s Zane Lowe and Steve Lamacq as well as being playlisted by XFM. In a glowing review, NME said the song was filled with “ambition, sex, and noise”.

The earliest demo of the song can be found on YouTube, Mark Stoermer and Ronnie Vannucci were not members of the band when this demo was recorded. Bass is played by Dave Keuning and drums by Matt Norcross. A later demo featuring all band members can also be found, as well as the first official version.

A remix of the song by Stuart Price was featured on The Killers’ 2007 B-side and rarities compilation Sawdust. During the tour for Brandon Flowers’ solo record, he performed the remix version with Stuart Price during his show at Brixton Academy and has since performed it on his tour as the show closer, again in the remix form.

There are two videos for this song: the first version also known as the UK version was filmed in April 2004 on Staten Island, New York; the first video was directed by Brad Palmer and Brian Palmer under their studio surround. Later on in the year the label decided to create a more mainstream video for the US market: the second video also known as the US version was filmed in Los Angeles, California during November 2004. It stars Flowers, Izabella Miko, and Eric Roberts in a love triangle, occurring within the context of a burlesque show. Directed by Sophie Muller, it is reminiscent of the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!.

The American version won an MTV VMA in 2005 for Best New Artist in a Video. The photos that are featured on the inner sleeve of the album “Hot Fuss” were shot on set during the filming of the UK version music video and were inspired by the black and white look of that video.

Cover versions

The song has been covered in a swing/jazz style by Paul Anka on his 2007 covers album Classic Songs, My Way. Crossover rock-jazz artist ELEW created a piano version for his 2010 ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 1. English pop-rock band McFly covered the song as a B-side to their 2005 single, “I Wanna Hold You”. Texan artist Playradioplay! covered the song on his 2007 EP The Frequency as well. Many other artists have performed live covers of the song, including American rock band Fall Out Boy,Isa Raja on X Factor Indonesia and Scottish singer/songwriter Amy MacDonald. The song has also been covered by the Vitamin String Quartet, Boyce Avenue and on the UK television show Orange Unsigned Act by contestant Tommy Reilly. Additionally, a cappella versions have been produced by groups including Wheaton College’s Gentlemen Caller’s and Boston-based Overboard. Brandon Flowers performed the song during his solo tour in 2010. Indonesian hardcore band Thirteen also cover this song. The Wanted covered the song as part of a medley of The Killers songs during their summer 2013 live shows.

The Killers

Origin Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Genres Indie rock, alternative rock, new wave, post-punk revival, heartland rock
Years active 2001–present
Labels Island, Vertigo, Marrakesh
Website thekillersmusic.com
Members Brandon Flowers
Dave Keuning
Mark Stoermer
Ronnie Vannucci, Jr.

image by *escume

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One Response to Song of the Day: Mr. Brightside by The Killers

  1. earthstills says:

    Love The Killers!

    Like

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