Sunday, March 22, 2009

You know, I am not a big fan of the new Killers album...

Specifically, there are two songs on there I think are excellent ("Losing Touch" and "Spaceman"), two songs I think are very good ("This is Your Life" and "Neon Tiger"), one song I think is okay ("Human") and five songs I do not like. But it amuses me that the number one criticism I hear against the album is this:

"What's up with the words in 'Human'. 'Are we human or are we dancer?' What the hell does that mean?!"

Which I translate as:

"Oh my god! A band said something that doesn't make total literal sense!! They're asking me to think abstractly or poetically! This is simply unheard of in pop music. How dare they ask me to take a lyric at something other than face value?"

So obviously I think the above criticism is silly. It's kind of like how some people are so hung up (or "well hung up"?) on Doc Manhattan's junk in Watchmen. It's like, oh my God, there are a million excellent reasons to not like that movie... why are you harping on the one that makes you seem, at the very least, a tad bit homophobic? I mean just think about it for a second... why would Dr. Manhattan wear pants? If you don't want to see his nether regions, just don't look. Look at Malin Ackerman instead.

And back to the Killers lyric: maybe it's stupid, yeah. I'm not really sure if that line is deep or dumb. But hey, at least it's an interesting lyric, right? It grabbed me simply because it was a question that doesn't have an immediately clear answer, and in fact the question itself isn't clear to begin with. And I think that's kind of cool. But I'm a They Might be Giants fan, so you might expect that from me.

I'm willing to bet there's a lot of lyrics in pop music that don't make immediate sense, and I feel like that's the way it should be. What's the harm in having a song pose a bit of a riddle to you, after all? To me it just makes the song worth listening to a little more... it gives you something to think about on future listens, if you are so inclined. It is very telling that many people's idea of criticism is latching onto the most obviously different element of what's in front of them and saying "I don't like it." Wouldn't it be better if we were to embrace that difference? I'd rather say "way to go, Killers, for making a weird chorus in a pop song" than "stupid Killers, write simple lyrics". And I am perplexed that so many other people seemingly do not feel that way.


pinkstononfilm said...

i still have yet to check the album out. it seems like maybe it would be boring, i don't know...

Eric Garneau said...

Yeah, it kind of is. But I do think you might enjoy "Spaceman." Have you heard that one yet?

Unknown said...

From an interview with Mtv, Flowers said, "It's taken from a quote by [author Hunter S.] Thompson. ... 'We're raising a generation of dancers,' and I took it and ran. I guess it bothers people that it's not grammatically correct, but I think I'm allowed to do whatever I want," he laughed.

Thompson meant people were becoming mindless, simply moving along with the music of what we were told to do.

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