I love The Killers. I love their rock pop bounce and soaring stadium pleasing choruses. I connect with Brandon Flowers’ spiritual content. He might be Mormon but boy do we shake hands on a lot of theological stuff.
Which bring me to their new Christmas single. Since 2006 The Killers have been making a contribution to Seasonal songs and charity. All profits go to RED. I now eagerly await the release date. Seeking without finding over the weekend social media tipped me off yesterday to Joel The Lump Of Coal and a 9 minute comedy video where the band joust with comic ands talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
Now, let me be honest, I wasn’t hopeful with the title of this year’s song and the video didn’t exactly encourage me that it would be anymore than a novelty piece of charity. I mean the opening verse didn’t indicate rock classic or theological depth charge : -
“Some time ago, at Santa's place
Up in the old North Pole
There lived a lump of anthracite
Whose parents called him Joel”
However, Flowers’ vocal is warm and effecting and the chorus though seemingly cumbersome had that melodic catchiness. I hung in there to give it at least the kindness of one listen… and then…
“Cause when a person hurts inside
It turns him hard and cruel
But I know how to make your pain
Into a precious jewel
So take me in your hand, young man
And squeeze with all your might
Let's turn your pain and anger
Into something that shines bright"
Then Joel, Joel, the lump of coal
He gave his life away
So that one good naughty little boy
Had a diamond on Christmas day”
And from a seemingly mundane and very ordinary place, almost awkward, and certainly unlikely, redemption burst in with surprise and wonder. There is self sacrifice, there is spiritual healing and salvation… and I am shaking hands with Brandon Flowers once more. The Killers’ Christmas single. Full of all of Christmas but getting to the main point in the most pertinent of ways.