Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas season is in full swing. Christmas trees haphazardly strapped to the top cars, black Friday stampedes at WalMart, and creating lists of excuses for why you can’t attend a Christmas party that you don’t want to go to, are all staples of the holiday season. But nothing says Christmas is right around the corner like the release of the annual Killers’ Christmas song.
From silly songs about a deranged Santa and personified lumps of coal, to tear-jerking songs about war and being away from your family and friends during the holidays, Brandon Flowers and The Killers have solidified themselves as the leaders of modern-day Christmas rock music.
And this year, which has been widely rumored to be their last year releasing a Christmas single, they have decided to package all 11 songs into an album fittingly titled Don’t Waste Your Wishes. An apropos title, considering the only wish I have for Christmas next year is that The Killers decide to continue their holiday tradition and give us more Christmas joy.
Though The Killers can do no wrong in my eyes. and each song is special in its own right, below is a ranking of all 11 of their Christmas songs.
Don’t Waste Your Wishes: From Worst To Best
11. “I Can Feel It In My Bones” (featuring Ryan Pardey) 2012
A story about making it on to Santa’s “naughty list”, “I Feel It In My Bones” is a sequel to the wildly popular 2007 Killers’ Christmas classic, “Don’t Shoot Me Santa.” The video shows Flowers and fellow band members Ronnie Vannucci, Dave Keuning, and Mark Stoemer having nightmares in bed, just like a child may, the night before Christmas while wondering if they would be on Santa’s naughty or nice list.
“Maybe I was naughty once, but now I’m nice” pleads Flowers as he tries to prove his case for why Santa should reconsider his decision to permanently keep the boys on the naughty list.
“I Feel It In My Bones” is almost certainly the least catchy and radio friendly of all their Christmas songs, but is a terrifying reminder of how thankful I am that The Killers were not formed in the 1980’s, as this is probably what the majority of their music would have sounded like.
10. Happy Birthday Guadalupe! (2009)
Brandon Flowers started writing “Happy Birthday Guadalupe!” on an airplane and is said to be influenced by the recession and bad times for the country back in 2009, saying “its sort of about throwing all that out the window during Christmas time” as heard in the lyrics below.
“We are livin’ in a difficult time
We’ve been walkin’ down a difficult line
Put your feet up baby, it’s Christmas time
Happy Birthday Guadalupe”
The video, however, portrays the story of a man (Luke Perry) searching for his long-lost love. No, he was not searching the Peach Pit or West Beverly Hills High for Brenda Walsh or Kelly Taylor, he was searching the desert for Guadalupe.
9. Joseph, Better You Than Me (featuring Elton John and Neil Tennant) 2008
In 2008, The Killers decided to ditch Santa, and get back to the original reason for the holiday, the birth of Jesus. “Joseph, Better You Than Me” is about the difficulties that Joseph must have endured from being the father of Jesus, and all the responsibilities that were dropped in Joseph’s lap.
Unable to get a cameo by Joseph, himself, The Killers managed to get the next best thing for their Christmas song this year; Sir Elton John.
8. “Christmas in LA” (featuring Dawes) 2013
“Christmas in LA” tells the tale of a struggling actor that has spent one too many Christmas seasons away from his hometown and in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.
It’s easy to feel sympathy for the songs lonely actor (played by Owen Wilson in the video) because Flowers effortlessly portrays how un-Christmas-like, LA in December can be, especially for a struggling, lonely actor.
So, this Christmas, when your relatives are judging you for drinking too much eggnog, and a fight is about to ensue, just remember that there are poor, lonely models and actors in LA that are jealous you get to spend the holidays with your loved ones, regardless of how annoying they may be.
7. “Dirt Sledding” (2015)
Last years Christmas single, “Dirt Sledding” was the third and final chapter in the Killer’s Santa trilogy (the other two being “Don’t Shoot Me Santa (2007), and “I Feel It In My Bones” (2012).
Flowers and the boys finally have their happy ending, when they trick Santa into befriending them by disguising as the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Jack-O-Lantern and Thanksgiving Turkey.
It may have taken ten years, but “Dirt Sledding” is a perfect ending to the story of how the guys in The Killers have made the jump from the naughty list to the nice list, and back on Santa’s good side.
6. “Great Big Sled” (2006)
In a 2006 interview with NME.com, Brandon Flowers said of their first Christmas song…
“Sometime you forget. You get so caught up in business and being an adult that you forget to have fun and enjoy things and be nice to people.”
He is referring to the fact that the band created and recorded the song to donate to the Product (RED) charity. Having no way of seeing into the future, he did not know that over 10 years later, the band would still be creating instant Christmastime staples.
“A Great Big Sled” is one of The Killers’ most playful and jovial songs to date. The video features 1970’s-style “homemade video” footage of the boys’ in various holiday celebratory playfulness, which is quite fitting, as it feels like it was ages ago that “A Great Big Sled” was released.
5. “Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” (2011)
Far and away their most energetic Christmas single, “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” could hold its own on any “Best Christmas Songs to Dance to” countdown. Using the lyrics from a 1890 poem (of the same name) by William Lawrence Chittenden, The Killers transformed a 120 year old “song” and made it into something that could be played on nearly any radio station today.
The video takes place at a Cowboy Christmas Ball that gets attacked by nasty outsiders. However, a poor man’s C3PO and Zingbot from Big Brother, show up to save the day, and more importantly, the Christmas ball.
4. “Joel, the Lump of Coal” (2014)
For their 2014 Christmas single, The Killers enlisted the help of late night host, Jimmy Kimmel to come up with the story of everyone’s favorite lump of coal, Joel, who is unaware that he is not a gift that any child wants.
“Joel, the Lump of Coal” follows Joel’s journey from Santa’s Village to his arrival at one naughty child’s house on Christmas morning. And while the song may be silly and playful, it also sends a message of hope, as the little boy who receives Joel, makes the best with what he has been given, and ends up learning a valuable lesson once Joel decides to sacrifice his life for the boy.
Joel, the lump of coal, is the modern rock version of Rudolph, the Rednosed Reindeer, and is a great reminder for people of all ages, that if life hands you a glass of virgin eggnog, you can always add rum to it when nobody is looking, to make it amazing.
3. “Boots” (2010)
One of the most sentimental Killers’ Christmas songs, “Boots”, is known to be Brandon Flowers’ favorite of all their holiday songs. It is about remembering back to the most pleasant Christmas’ of your childhood and using those memories to help you through more trying times. It is additionally heart-wrenching due to the fact that Flowers lost his mother to cancer a few years back.
“I close my eyes,
Think about the path I took.
Just when I think these times,
Have gotten the best of me.
I can see my mother in the kitchen.
My father on the floor,
It’s a wonderful life.
Cinnamon candles burning.
Snowball fights outside.
Smile below each nose and above each chin.
Stomp my boots before I go back in.”
The video, which features an extra dapper Flowers looking like he stepped straight out of a GQ ad, begins with a clip of the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. The fact that the combination of The Killers and It’s a Wonderful Life didn’t make my head explode is a Christmas miracle in itself.
2. “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” (2007)
The second annual Killers’ Christmas song is now known as the first in a trilogy of songs about Santa. In “Don’t Shoot Me Santa,” the boys encounter Santa after he kidnaps Brandon and plans on shooting him for being an extra naughty boy. Brandon pleads with Santa and begs his forgiveness, saying…
“Hey, Santa Clause
No one else around believes me
But the children on the block they tease me
I couldn’t let them off that easy
They had it coming, so, why can’t you see
I couldn’t turn my check no longer
The sun is going down and Christmas is near
Just look the other way and I’ll disappear forever.”
In the end, Brandon escapes with the help of his band mates, which opens the door for the sequel song, “I Feel It In My Bones.” “Don’t Shoot Me Santa ” is old school Killers at its best, and has become a quintessential track on any holiday rock music playlist.
1. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (2016)
Heavily rumored to be their final Christmas single, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is mind-bogglingly beautiful, and will turn even the biggest holiday Grinch’s heart warm.
The track, released last week, begins with an over 3 minute long story of Brandon’s childhood and his family’s move from Henderson, NV to Utah, where he experiences his very first white Christmas.
The story then leads to where his love of music began, and a very special music teacher that introduced him to the track “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” The song, about being at war and writing a letter home to your family telling them that you would be home for Christmas, even though there is a solid chance you wouldn’t be home, is quite possibly the most devastatingly beautiful Christmas song ever written.
The special guest (I won’t spoil the surprise) that The Killers have with them on what could be their final Christmassong, makes this not only their best, but also their most important holiday single to date.
If indeed, The Killers are done with their Product (RED) charity songs, the Christmas journey they sent us on over the past eleven years will go down as one of, if not the most comprehensive, diverse, and satisfying rock Christmas albums of all time.
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