Yesterday, an intern and friend at the office (yes, Andrew, we’re friends again… if you promise to give up RiRi) told me that he had looked up The Killers on iTunes to listen to ‘A Dustland Fairytale’ (cue me falling on the floor in spasms of joy) and had seen that their most downloaded song was none other than ‘Mr Brightside’. While I’m not at all surprised at this, it got me wondering what my top ten songs by my favourite band would be. Now, my first instinct is so sob and say that I could never choose (with the exception of ‘Dustland’, which is a head and shoulders above all the rest), because everything my little darlings do is perfect, I’m the first to admit that this is a lie. ‘Deadlines & Commitments’ for example, is about as far from perfect as the blister on my smallest toe, as is their decision to cover ‘Shadowplay’ at every freaking live show. I mean no offence to Ian Curtis, nor am in any way thanking the kitchen table (10 points if you get that reference) but if I’ve paid 70 Pounds to see my favouite band, I’d rather see their own songs. But as always, I digress.
And so I shall attempt to create this list. My top three are pretty much locked down, but the other seven are sure to cause some tears as I try to decide. Here goes nothing:
10) ‘The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball’: Just for the hell of it. The 2011 charity single is by far my favourite so far. Ever since then the Christmas singles have gone downhill (in my humble opinion), and I only listened to last year’s one a grand total of twice. But what more could anyone want out of life than Brandon Flowers brandishing a gun and a few alien spaceships taking up residence in the Nevada desert? In fact, I even managed to theme my friend’s 2013 Christmas dinner after this song … without her even knowing.
9) ‘Battle Born’: Mainly for the fact that Brandon Flowers decided to hope the hell off his stage at Wembley and grab hands with his adoring fans – and I touched his sweaty arm during this very song. Oh, it’s also one of the album of the same name’s strongest tracks, but Brandon’s sweat – priorities please.
8) ‘Everything Will Be Alright’: Because whenever I go through a depressive patch, I stick this on repeat until I eventually begin to believe it. Through months of lectures and projects and homesickness, I’d return to my flat every night, make my dinner and do my dishes with this in the background to remind myself that everything really would be alright.
7) ‘This is Your Life’: Besides the super catchy tune, the thing that really gets me about this song is the crowd interaction when it is performed live. I take great pride in getting my “no one gives a damn about her haaaaaiiiir” action in perfect synch with Brandon’s, and even when I listen to the song whilst driving, I feel my arms itching to reach towards the sky and wave back and forth at just the right moment. It’s been ingrained into my head, see.
6) ‘Jenny Was A Friend of Mine’: How can you not love this song? From the opening search helicopter sounds to the synth, to the I-didn’t-murder-my-girlfriend pleas, it’s perfect for late night driving on dark highways, with no idea what might be in store. It’s also perfect in general. Now every time I write one of my never-finished short stories, I name my main character’s best friend Jenny, simply so that I can include the line “Jenny was a friend of mine”.
5) ‘Smile Like You Mean It’: Oh, the Hot Fuss days of a chubby-cheeked Brandon Flowers, and a Mark Stoermer who looked just slightly less like Jesus. A synth section so addictive that it makes you sing along to wordless parts of the song (yes, it’s possible), and lyrics so perfect that they make me want to brand them onto my skin forever more (no kidding, I’d get a ‘smile like you mean it’ tattoo) make for a phenomenal song.
4) ‘Sweet Talk’: Because B-sides deserve some love too. Included only on the B-sides compilation album Sawdust, this song is one of the band’s best, and was 15 times better than most of the songs on Sam’s Town or Day & Age. If released on an actual album, I have no doubt that it would have racked up far more fans, besides those obsessives such as myself who scoff at anyone who only listens to singles.
3) ‘Miss Atomic Bomb’: Battle Born was the first album released after I became a superfan. I saw one live version of the song on Youtube long before it was released, and at the Leeds warm-up show, I was lucky enough to see it live. Cue instant love. Seriously, it was the best thing I’d ever heard. The 30 second clip of the final recorded version that was released a few weeks later disappointed me slightly (they picked a boring part of the song to preview), but when I finally got my hands on the full album, there it was in all its glory. Definitely the best song on the album by far.
2) ‘This River is Wild’: Oddly enough, I never really bonded very well with this song when I first heard it. It was only after I really listened to the words and analysed them, that it started to resound with me. The anthem of any lonely social outcast (read: anyone like me), the line “should I just get along with myself? I never did get along with everybody else” made me stop and think. Perhaps it’s best to me my own best friend. A rarity live, they pulled this one out of the archives for Wembley, and nearly landed me on the floor in fits of tears. Luckily I don’t have a heart.
1) ‘A Dustland Fairytale’: What can a person say about the song that changed their life? I don’t mean in a cheesy-Oprah-this-book-changed-my-life way, I mean in a literal sense: it changed the course of my life. Confused yet? I’d liked this band for a while, but they day I heard this song, I was really hooked. It stayed on repeat for about a month. When I found out they were coming to SA, I travelled two days across the country to see them. And so sparked the idea in my head that travelling further than South Coast to Durban for a concert was not completely nuts. At the same time, I fell in love with Cape Town, so two years later I moved here. After the concert, my obsession grew and I joined fan communities. I learned to use Twitter properly and taught myself all about social media and media in general, as well as the music industry. I wanted a career in the field. And so I moved to the town where this song had led me, and applied for a job in the field I’d taught myself, and now here I am. Plus I made friends in the UK, next I travelled there, and now I plan to move to London eventually. It’s all because of that one song: the lyrics, the images, the emotion, the sadness, the happiness and the sheer beauty.