Bling (Confessions of a King) – The Killers (2006, Sam’s Town)
A deep cut off of the sophomore LP ‘Sam’s Town’, Bling (Confessions of a King) is the stand-out track for my money on this underrated album. It opens up with a hazy electronic soundscape that gives way to Brandon Flowers “When I offer you survival, you say it’s hard enough to live. It’s not so bad, it’s not so bad” that’s one part menacing, and another part reassuring. He follows that thought with a jarring “How do you know that you’re right?” that really got me because it questions the entire train of thought.
At the 30-second mark the tension gets ratcheted up a few degrees and the song launches to its true tempo thereafter. The song does a great job rhythmically of building and releasing tension throughout. The lyrics are a bit confounding. Are they words of encouragement or questioning or even both? Flowers vocal delivery is outstanding and it’s fantastic when he croons “How do you that you’re right, if you’re not nervous anymore?”
At around the 3:00 mark the song kicks into another gear and brings the whole damn thing home with an anthemic “We’re going make it higher and higher, we’re gonna take it down to the wire!” They put a nice bow on the whole thing with a slowed-down “It ain’t hard to hold when it shines like gold, you’ll remember me” that frames it perfectly.
What’s It All Mean?
Supposedly it’s about Flowers father overcoming alcoholism and shedding Catholicism to convert to Mormonism and straighten out his life. Maybe it’s not very rock n’ roll but it’s pretty great to pay tribute to a guy who overcomes his circumstances and rises above. Especially when it’s your Dad.
As for the actual song, say what you want about the Killers (derivative retro-rock is the slur I hear most used), but this song pays off with multiple listens and holds up. As a bonus the live version (on their Live At Royal Albert Hall) is a standout as well.