There are just 4 weeks until Christmas, and with the festive period inevitably comes the festive musical spree. But instead of the likes of Wham’s Last Christmas, think the more unconventional choices. From cheery numbers such as Train’s Shake Up Christmas and Julian Casablancas’ I Wish It Was Christmas Today to the more cynical tracks, Hurts’ All I Want For Christmas is New Year’s Day and The Kinks’ Father Christmas (avoid if you have kids around your table), many bands have experimented with the Christmas theme.
Topping the weird and wonderful list though are renowned Vegas boys, The Killers’, and their annual releases since 2006. From personifying a child’s notion of Christmas hell in Joel the Lump of Coal (2014) to villainising the man in red in Don’t Shoot Me Santa (2007), The Killers don’t take themselves too seriously during the Christmas season. Admiring the subgenre of Christmas Horror, their songs often follow a ‘Scary Santa’ discourse. Because nothing quite displays holiday spirit like a kidnapping Kris Kringle, psychopathic Santa Claus, or frenzied Father Christmas. Their videos are equally unmissable with extensive yet comical narratives, and incomplete without frontman, Brandon Flowers, wearing an irresistably hideous knit.
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Though essentially, The Killers do have a serious side. Boots (2011) followed the year of Flowers’ mother’s passing, and its retrospective lyrics remind listeners that Christmas is intertwined with reminiscence and reflection, ‘just when I think of these times / have gotten the best of me / I can see my mother in the kitchen’. Introducing the track is a clip from 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life, with character George Bailey pleading “show me the way”. Boots prompts its listener to appreciate their situation and the little things in life, particularly at a time which can be lonely for some. This remains a message unforgotten in their 2016 Christmas single, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, of a similar tone. Their Bing Crosby tribute, notably a track of the same decade and ideology to It’s a Wonderful Life, begins with a lengthy yet heartwarming spoken monologue from Flowers, taking a nostalgic journey into his past once more.
Whilst Christmas is traditionally about giving, The Killers donate 100% of their funds to Aids Campaign (RED) and are currently working on their 5th studio album having just released their Christmas compilation album, Don’t Waste Your Wishes. Bassist Mark Stoermer told ABC Radio that their yearly Christmas single is a tradition which may come to end, taking “work, planning and time… artwork, videos, all that. Maybe 11 is enough for now.” So unable to anticipate The Killers’ Christmas songs in years to come, their Christmas album may have to be replayed and overplayed during the month of December, but that’s what Christmas is all about.
Here’s a list of their Christmas hits to date (click on each to watch the video):