Song Analysis: This Is Your Life - The Killers

Wolftail

The meaning of this song is pretty hard to crack - the lyrics are almost nonsensical (hint - the word almost ) and there are many different interpretations of what each lyric means. So, I’m going to find out what the most likely interpretation is.



So, the title - This Is Your Life. So is the lead singer describing someone’s life? This uses both first person and third person view, first starting as third person (describing another person’s life) and then suddenly switches to first person (using the words ‘your’ and ‘you’, and keeps switching throughout the song. Perhaps this is a lyrical trick to divert the listener from the storyline/meaning of the song? Likely. Also, it seems like the point of view is constantly switching between the narrator (lead singer) and one, or even two characters in the song’s storyline.



Below are the lyrics. I’m going through them line by line. Lyrics are in bold. Interpretations and my thoughts are in normal text.



Candy talks to strangers



So the first likely character in this song is (likely a girl) called Candy. And she talks to strangers. This could be on an internet chartroom, or just out and about in town.



Thinks her life's in danger



Yes, Candy is officially a girl. And talking to strangers is dangerous, especially in internet chatrooms! You never know who’s behind the screen!



So what I’ve got so far: Candy talks to dangerous strangers on the internet.



No one gives a damn about her hair



Of course. They do give a damn about stalking her and kidnapping her!



Maybe I’m getting a little too obsessed with the meaning of this song being about internet safety.



It's lonely down on Track Street



So, I’ve looked up Track Street on Google Maps, and it’s come up with numerous places.



I think a connotation of this is that Candy is spending more and more time on her computer/electrical device talking to dangerous strangers, and very little time with her friends in real life.



Makes sense so far.



She used to go by Jackie



So maybe her real name is Jackie, and her username on chatrooms/the internet is Candy? Possibly.



The cops, they'll steal your dreams and they'll kill your prayers



I’ve now detected a plot twist! Could this be told in a murderer’s point of view? They pretend to be a girl called Candy online and their real name is Jack and their nickname is Jackie?



But Jackie/Candy is female, and everything I’ve said previously adds up. Maybe another trick? Probably slightly likely.



Take a number where the blood just barely dried



So either the murderer is planning to meet up with another one of his/her victims, or Candy/Jackie is planning to meet a murderer?



Do you spot something in that sentence, reader? An amazing spot of song-writing genius? Could this describe the actions of both characters at the same time? Are Jackie and the murderer planning to meet up with each other?



But it’s more likely to be Jackie, because the song so far is about her, and her life on the internet.







Wait for something better



Now this is a toughie. Could this line be about the murderer? Waiting for a better victim?



Perhaps as the song goes on I’ll be able to establish a link with this lyric and another.



No one behind you



This is either the murderer or Jackie. So either Jackie is meeting the murderer and doesn’t want to get caught, or the murderer is a wanted criminal and is meeting Jackie, and doesn’t want to be found by the police?



Watching your shadows



This would be better if this and the line above were combined. “No one behind you, watching your shadows.” So Jackie is meeting Mr. Murderer, and apparently Mr. Murderer is watching her, ready to ambush her.



This feeling won't go



Ah, yes, Jackie is feeling watched. And who’s watching her? Mr. Murderer.



So far, Jackie has arranged to meet Mr. Murderer, and Mr. Murderer is lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce. What’s going to happen next?







Crooked wheels keep turning



Another tough line to decode. This could either mean wheels of a vehicle, or cogs in a person’s head, like when they’re shown to be thinking, or something. Also, to counter-argue the vehicle meaning, how can a tyre be crooked? It’s very likely that this means the “cogs” in someone’s brain. Cogs are wheels, right? And if they’re crooked, then they are probably damaged.



So someone is thinking in their broken/damaged mind. Could this be the sick, twisted mind of Mr. Murderer? Or could it be the vulnerable, unaware mind of Jackie? It’s hard to tell.



Children, are you learning



So is this line about teaching young children about internet safety? Lets find out.



Acclimatise but don't you lose the plot



“Acclimatise” means to become accustomed to new weather conditions or climate.



But what does this have to do with the rest of the song? The definition above is a denotation, I’m sure of it.



So when these young children grow up, they will probably be exposed to new dangers, and one of them is internet sickos like Mr. Murderer. And they have to adjust to this scary, unpredictable world. Seems to make sense, but what’s happened to Jackie and Mr. Murderer?



So instead of adjusting to a new climate, its adjusting to the truth of this crazy world.



Perhaps the lyrics before this verse was a story of a fictional character named Jackie, who got butchered by a psycho she met on the internet? Way to traumatise young minds, eh?



And this could be a huge plot twist! Another trick in the lyrics. This is making the lyrics even more confusing, with twisting tunnels and the meaning (which I think I’ve grasped) buried deep underground.



A history of blisters



Not sure what small pockets of fluid that form in the upper layers of the skin have to do with this song, but maybe there’s a thin link. Maybe.



Your brothers and your sisters



Maybe this could be about the murderer? He was raised in a tough neighbourhood with loads of siblings and he turned into a tough criminal. That’s a lot of assumptions, but they could be true about Mr. Murderer.



Somewhere in the pages we forgot



So his family don’t know that he’s a creep who stalks children on the internet. Maybe.



And the weirdest thing: “we”. Could this be the narrator? Could the narrator be part of the murderer’s family who has found out about him killing children?







Take a number Jackie



Explained when this lyric was first said in the song.



Where the blood just barely dried



So far, Jackie met this person in a chatroom who is likely to be a murderer and they’re going to meet up and Jackie is going to be murdered? It seems like the most sensical meaning and storyline for this song, but there can be many interpretations. Like different interpretations of the song A Dustland Fairytale.



You know I'm on your side



So the narrator who is a relative of Mr. Murderer is trying to save Jackie? Could this story have a happy ending?







Wait for something better



I still haven’t found out what this means. Maybe the narrator who is trying to save Jackie thinks this is a bad thing she’s doing and that she should do something else? Stop and wait for a better activity to come into her head instead of being followed by a creepy killer? Maybe.



No one behind you



Jackie is still being followed.



Watching your shadows



I’m still waiting for the killer to pounce…



You gotta be stronger than the story



And a new lyric! Maybe by now Jackie knows what she’s doing is wrong, and she can’t back out. And the ‘story’ might be stories on the news of people getting killed by people they’ve met on the internet.



Don't let it blind you



Don’t let the story blind you… Jackie is probably thinking “Perhaps this person isn’t a murderer. Maybe he’s a normal person.”



Jackie has a lot of courage.



Rivers of shadow



Poor Jackie. She can’t back out and she’s going to get massacred, probably. She’s probably in a dark alleyway by now, where no one can hear her scream.



Wow. This is one depressing song, despite the music.



This feeling wont go



Jackie’s gonna die! Run Jackie run! She’s still being followed. What will be her fate?







And the sky is full of dreams



This means that Jackie had her whole life ahead of her, filled with hopes and dreams. And the world can be a happy place, if it wasn’t for sick, twisted murderers.



But you don't know how to fly



An Jackie has given it all away just because of a stupid idea to meet a murderer up on the internet. Well kids, this is what happens if you’re not safe on the internet. Have privacy settings switched on, or something.



I don't have a simple answer



The narrator can’t save her. Jackie’s going to die.



But I know that I could answer



Maybe he does… hmm.



Something better



So the narrator says that Jackie shouldnt’ve met Mr. Murderer on the internet in the first place. And now it’s too late.







This feeling won't go



I think Jackie has been killed by now.







Wait for it

Wait for it

Wait for it

Wait for it



This is confusing. It’s the last group of lyrics in the song, and has almost no relation to the storyline.



So far, Jackie has died, and the killer is going away. Has the narrator seen all of this and has called the police? Have the police arrived already and are ready to ambush Mr. Murderer? I don’t think I’ll ever know.







That was my interpretation. Quite challenging to derive. Most songs by The Killers are quite challenging to derive an iterpretation from, actually.



But what do other people think?




  • Someone who wants to go somewhere but isn’t trying

  • Someone has a messed-up life and wants a better life




There are some others, but I feel a bit uncomfortable putting them on here, so I guess you’ll have to find them yourself on the internet.



So what’s your interpretation then?





And please suggest songs! I’d love to take requests! :)


Comments

How about Fat Butted Girls - simpsondude

Maybe. Maybe in the future. - Wolftail

Could you do Wide Awake by Katy Perry? I think it has meaning - AnonymousChick

I love that song. :D Good choice. Next week, then. - Wolftail

Have you thought that this song could be about a hooker? And the narrator it's trying to tell her that there's a better way to get money (? Instead of selling her bodie. *english is not my native lenguage, sorry if there's a mistake* - visitor

It's most definitely a song about a prostitutes life - visitor

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