(Image courtesy of Jo Music)
The Killers are set to release their 11th (and possibly final) annual Christmas single tomorrow so with that in mind I decided to look back and rank the previous 10 to determine which one is truly my favourite.
10) Joseph, Better You Than Me ft. Elton John & Neil Tennant
There’s just something missing from this one. Don’t get me wrong this is still a pretty good song and I’m not opposed to giving it a listen or two around this time of year but if I’m honest with myself I don’t love it as much as some of their other releases. Although I will give them credit for going against the grain and writing a Christmas song about an unconventional subject in Joseph, you’ll start to notice that these Christmas songs are quite less than traditional. Think of this song as the least talented part of a really good team. Still good, but it’s the weakest link out of the group. It’s me on every sports team I ever played on.
9) I Feel It In My Bones ft. Ryan Pardey
Who doesn’t remember Santa as a murderous psychopath? This is the 2nd time we find Santa unhinged and hell-bent on tracking down our favourite band so they can pay for their sins (Brandon definitely killed people but more on that later). There is a really nice riff that runs throughout the song but the real letdown is that the hook is underwhelming. Most songs by The Killers really pack a punch but the chorus on this track falls short of expectations.However, the music video is well worth your time if you ever need to be reminded why it’s best to stay on the nice list.
8) The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball
If you haven’t noticed already, The Killers have developed a thing for writing Christmas songs about unconventional topics. Not only does this Christmas ball contain cowboys but also robots, which have little, if anything, to do with each other. Once you get past the absurdity of the setting, the song itself is actually quite enjoyable. It’s got a really nice upbeat sound that shows off the band’s willingness to not take themselves quite so seriously when it comes to their charity work. These songs are obviously a lot of work for them so it’s nice that they at least enjoy themselves a little bit. Perhaps the best part is that the video plays out like the intro to an old western show that your parents probably watched. Also, I can’t be the only one to notice the similarity between the intro to this song and Runaways. Can I?
7) ¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe! ft. Wild Light & Mariachi El Bronx
Because nothing says Christmas like The Killers infused with a mariachi sound. It’s no surprise that this song was released during the Day & Age tour seeing as it is arguably the record that deviates the most from the sound the band has cultivated for over a decade. When you’re sifting through the discography, Day & Age is the one that sticks out as profoundly different from the rest. The Killers have always been stuck in a dichotomy as Las Vegas rockers that headline festivals and play sold out arenas, while championing songs filled with references to heartland America and the blue-collar lifestyles that they come from. ¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe! represents a combination of both of those things quite well
6) Christmas in L.A. ft. Dawes
This year I’m dreaming of a palm tree Christmas.
In 2013 The Killers decided to brighten everyone’s spirits with a Christmas song about loneliness and it’s magnificent. Often times we forget that a lot of places in the world don’t experience a “white Christmas” and their version of the holidays is substantially different. Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes does a masterful job providing frontman Brandon Flowers with additional vocals and together they spin a tale of a struggling actor that just can’t seem to catch a break. There’s no uplifting message at the end because sometimes there just isn’t one there. The classical guitar is a really nice touch.
5) Joel the Lump of Coal ft. Jimmy Kimmel
Saddest. Christmas. Song. Ever.
Ok maybe not ever but it’s definitely the saddest one about coal. In 2014 The Killers teamed up to write a song with comedian Jimmy Kimmel and the results are incredible. Joel the Lump of Coal tells the story of a lump of coal that gets bullied by all of Santa’s elves and made to feel worthless. Before he can get his moment to show everyone how great he is he gets sent to live with a child on the naughty list because Santa is a jerk. At the end Joel decides to give his life and turn himself into a diamond to make the little boy happy. This song is basically what would have happened had the writers taken Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer down a really dark path. You’ve been warned.
Interesting to note that Ariel Rechtshaid produced this track for the band before working on Brandon Flowers’ solo record The Desired Effect
The fact that Boots is number 4 on this list says a lot about the quality of music The Killers put out. This is actually Brandon’s favourite Christmas song from the band and it’s easy to see why. When he invokes thoughts of a mother and father together in a “wonderful life” you can’t forget that his mother passed away from cancer in 2010. This would be one of the few Christmas songs they’ve released that could actually pass for a more traditional holiday song. Also it’s pretty cool that it was co-directed by the same guy (Jared Hess) that directed Napoleon Dynamite.
3) Don’t Shoot Me Santa ft. Ryan Pardey
Whenever The Killers team up with Ryan Pardey you know A) It’s going to be a lot of fun B) He’s most likely playing a crazy version of Saint Nick. Don’t Shoot Me Santa is not only the first time we get to meet Santa but we also discover why exactly he’s got a bit of an issue with Brandon. While this song was released in 2007, it actually serves as part 2 of a trilogy, with part 1 being I Feel It In My Bones. Who knew that Santa’s weapon of choice is a gun? Also, Brandon admits that he kills people for fun.
2) A Great Big Sled ft. Toni Halliday
Not too shabby when your 1st ever Christmas single is this high on the list, and A Great Big Sled absolutely deserves its place at number 2. There’s something special about a song that features ratings for snowmen, the admission that boys have action toys for brains, and rolling around in snow. Who doesn’t love snow?
It doesn’t come as a shock that Alan Moulder produced this song for the band because some of the best work they’ve ever done shines through when he’s on board
1) Dirt Sledding ft. Ryan Pardey & Richard Dreyfuss
Nearly 10 years since Don’t Shoot Me Santa Brandon’s back on the nice list! Who says a crazy Santa Claus can’t change his ways?
This is a little bit of a controversial choice for best Christmas single but it’s just so much fun I couldn’t resist. Santa is back, a bunch of fairytale creatures make an appearance, Richard Dreyfuss has a cameo (just his voice but still), and there’s even little bit of an Elvis impression mixed in there. Don’t get me started on the mini horse in the music video that for some reason seems hell bent on bothering Ronnie. It might not be the best thing they’ve ever written but the rock n roll vibe reminds me so much of Sam’s Town it’s hard not to love it. I just really like happy endings, ok?
Just a reminder that these songs can be found on iTunes and all proceeds go towards the RED campaign.
Do you agree with my list? Do you want to tell me how much you disagree? Tweet me @_JaredClarkson