The Bottom Line
With the single line, "Are we human, or are we dancer?" the Killers have ignited innumerable conversations about the meaning and quality of the lyrics for their single "Human." When the intended context is understood, the song's words blossom. Combined with an immediately catchy melody and arrangement, "Human" is one of the top pop recordings of the season.
- The most enigmatic and intriguing lyrics of the year
- Ultra-catchy pop melody
- Brandon Flowers' sometimes emotional sometimes detached vocals
- No real negatives here
- Written by Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, Ronnie Vannucci Jr.
- Produced by Stuart Price
- Released September 2008 by Island Records
Guide Review - The Killers - "Human"
"Are we human, or are we dancer?" That is the question in the chorus of the Killers' lead-in single for the upcoming album Day & Age. Despite many intimations that this line is simply lyrical gibberish, the question arose from a statement made by the late Hunter S. Thompson that we are raising a generation of self-obsessed and vacuous dancers. Much of the rest of the lyrical content of "Human" can be seen as a sort of an elegy to Thompson who committed suicide in 2005. "Wave goodbye, wish me well, you've got to let me go."
These lyrics play out over a rock solid pop melody sweeping along with Brandon Flowers' vocals veering in near perfect cadence from emotionally affected to distant and detached. You will likely find yourself singing along, but ultimately the song is truly a questioning not a reassuring experience. The Killers may generate a bit of discomfort in the listener just as the music glides along at a gentle gallop.
"Human" has already become the Killers' 3rd top 40 pop single, and with the attention raised by its enigmatic lyrics, the song is likely to rise significantly higher. Take your time to listen to this song and let the thoughts presented sink in. You are likely to feel an emotional impact, and then you are unlikely to forget "Human."