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"Isn't all art an attempt to identify yourself, really? At some level, I've made a career out of personality crisis."

-- Bono

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U2 Lists: U2 Echoes in The Killers' Lyrics

@U2, April 28, 2011
By: Jill Marino


U2 Lists[Ed. note: This is the 25th in a "U2 Lists" series, where @U2 staffers pick a topic and share their personal rankings on something U2-related.]

While I consider myself a certified U2 fanatic, I am also passionate about other artists who have had just as much of an influence on me. One of these bands is The Killers, the Nevada quartet who exploded onto the scene with their debut record Hot Fuss in 2004. Lead singer and fellow U2 fan Brandon Flowers has often mentioned how inspired he is by U2 when writing songs for his band.

Like Bono, Flowers uses themes of love, passion for life, and a personal view of the world around him in his songwriting. Both men have immensely talented band mates who provide remarkable melodies that go perfectly with the lyrics at hand. I hear a young Bono in Flowers' singing voice, which makes listening to The Killers a powerful experience. I was only a toddler when U2 released The Joshua Tree, so when I hear The Killers I get a sense of the young U2 I missed out on growing up. With both bands, I get the same pull at my emotions because their songs fit together like musical puzzle pieces. Below is a list of notable lyrics by U2 and The Killers that "echo" each other in both words and meaning.

5. "Breathe" and "This River Is Wild"

The forest fire that is fear so deny it

The Killers:
Run for the hills before they burn

What I love about these songs is that they are trying to tell you about lurking dangers close by. Be it a personal terror or an unseen obstacle in life, fleeing from these red flags is the only goal. The songs provide a comforting thought that safety is just around the corner.

4. "The Fly" and "Read My Mind"

Love, we shine like a burning star / We're falling from the sky tonight

The Killers:
The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds / Cut out of the sun / When you read my mind

Stars are always a beautiful symbol, and these two lyrics use them to reference love. U2 and The Killers seem to believe when being completely smitten with someone, the love is so strong that the stars are literally aflame for it. The sky and sun that these stars are falling from must be the most beautiful of atmospheres.

3. "A Sort of Homecoming" and "Sam's Town"

And you hunger for the time / Time to heal, desire, time / And your earth moves beneath / Your own dream landscape

The Killers:
And I'm sick of all my judges / They're so scared of letting me shine / But I know that I can make it / As long as somebody takes me home

These lyrics feel like a security blanket of song. They bring up feelings of wanting to recharge after being depleted, as well as keeping dreams alive. The songs create a symbol of a home, where dreams are created and the outside world can't critique you. I played "Homecoming" when I landed back in New Jersey after seeing U2 in Spain (a dream come true). I always put on "Sam's Town" when I arrive in and leave The Killers' home of Las Vegas (visiting as a fan to a place that has meaning to the band). Both songs keep you grounded, but let you fly on your own if you have to.

2. "Elevation" and "All These Things That I've Done"

Can't sing but I've got soul

The Killers:
I got soul / But I'm not a soldier

I consider these songs "marching-to-your-own-beat" tunes. With U2, it's all about what you have inside. No, you can't sing, but you've got an undeniable heart that lifts you. The Killers stand for making your own rules and not being a follower. They are anthems that beg for a crowd. Your duty when hearing these songs live? Get on your feet, stand at attention, and let your singing soul take over.

1. "Beautiful Day" and "This Is Your Life"

It's a beautiful day / Don't let it get away

The Killers:
You gotta be stronger than the story / Don't let it blind you

The real power in these lyrics is in the word "don't." U2 are saying, "Don't let a glorious moment pass you by." The Killers don't want you to be clouded by negativity. Grabbing life on your terms is the only option. That is the kind of world to live in. I hold these lyrics close to my heart and they are literally with me forever, as I have them both tattooed on my body. Through song and ink, my spirit is uplifted every single day.

(c) @U2/Marino, 2011.

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