The Killers are one of the few new bands I got to know after my college years, and even then I was late to the game.
I first saw them perform “Human” on Saturday Night Live back in 2008, at that point they had been around for about five years. Another favorite song is “All These Things That I’ve Done“, but my favorite thing about the band was their annual release of a Christmas single, with the proceeds going to Product Red Campaign, in the fight to end AIDS. My favorite Christmas song by the Killers is “Another Christmas in L.A.”
But now I have to add something else to what I like about the Killers, their willingness to stand up for what they believe in.
Back in January, the band released a new song, “Land of the Free”. Here’s what a couple of reviewers had to say about the song when it came out:
Matthew Leimkuehler of Forbes magazine wrote, “A soulful piano ballad channeling Springsteenian 1980s power rock, Killers frontman Brandon Flowers tackles President Donald Trump’s border wall, mass incarceration and gun violence by anchoring each stance with singing “…in the land of the free.”
Ryan Reed of Rolling Stone magazine wrote, “The Killers contrast a mythic American dream with a darker, more depressing vision of U.S. life in their scathing new song “Land of the Free.” Frontman Brandon Flowers criticizes President Trump’s proposed border wall, institutional racism and the country’s failure to introduce substantial gun control reform. The singer uses “the land of the free” as an ironic refrain, citing the injustices that seemingly shouldn’t occur in such a society.”
Here’s the video of the song (with lyrics), which was directed by Spike Lee:
I like when performers (athletes, musicians, actors, writers, etc.) are willing to take a stand on various issues, since they could be putting their careers on the line by alienating their fans. But they are strong enough in their convictions to risk doing so.
Because of their fame, they have a platform to share their views and to raise awareness of key issues. While some might say they don’t want to hear what a musician or an athlete might have to say about politics, then don’t listen. But just like every other American, they have a right to say what they believe. And if they have a platform on which their voice can be heard, then more power to them. They worked hard to get that platform, so why not use it to talk about things you believe in.
Now I’ll admit it’s much easier to listen to someone when they share the same views as you, but you could certainly learn a thing or two from listening to someone you don’t believe in. And trying to share a message of hate is never acceptable and should not be permitted.
I applaud the Killers for releasing such a powerful song, and for making us aware that while we may be “the land of the free”, we can still do better.
*image from the Killers web site