Killers Christmas cover art

The Killers; Christmas EP

By Garrett Heisler | published Saturday, November 30, 2013 |
Thursday Review Contributor

What do you normally expect when buying a Christmas album? Lame renditions of "Silent Night" or "Jingle Bells," right? Well, this is not the case with The Killers and their Christmas extended play. The Killers have taken on the task of writing Christmas songs—not an easy task to complete: a Christmas song, to me, has to convey the Christmas spirit and get you in the holiday mood. Amazingly, this album achieves both of those requirements.

Each year the band gets together and begins work on a Christmas song that is sure to blow us away. In 2006, Brandon flowers found himself writing a Christmas song and it was only released as a single later that year. The song was brushed to the side until it saw a rerelease in 2012.

Every track listed on the EP had its own music video to go along with its release. Every video has a beautifully different setting and alternates between defending and defeating many a classic Christmas cliché. From running from an insane Santa in the desert, to helping a man find his family again, the music videos have a unique way of approaching Christmas.

The album starts off with "Great Big Sled" and has a classic Killers sound and rhythm, but with an amazing Christmas theme. The song lists every Christmas cliché, from building a mediocre looking snowman to rolling around in the snow as a child. It reminds one of a simpler time where Christmas included magic and innocence, and it is this quality which becomes the song’s driving force. The opening lyrics are so smooth and melodic that they create the ambiance of the holiday ballad. It's sure to instill in the listener a trust in the Killers’ Christmas skills. The guitar and bells bring the song to an amazing work of art that is sure to have you feeling the Christmas feeling for years to come.

The second track on the album is a type of song that you wouldn't expect to be such a good Christmas song. "Don't Shoot Me, Santa" is how the Killers do Christmas. The track features a duet between lead singer Brandon Flowers and an unknown artist (Santa). The song has an amazing chorus and the bridge is the best one I've heard in years. In most songs the bridge is where the song gets a little different to transition it into its final moments but this one is different. The bridge only heightens the feeling and emotion and takes the track to a new layer of awesome.

The EP takes a slow moment with the third track titled "Joseph, better you than me". This track describes how Joseph must have felt when he found out he wasn't going to be Jesus's father. The track is a classic slow piano Christmas sound featuring none other than Elton John. The track though slow and not as powerful as the others, it still gives you the feeling of decoration and holiday cheer. I would recommend listening to this track last because it is very slow and the normal Killer fan probably will not enjoy it as much as the other tracks. But it does add something special to the record and makes it even more of a Christmas album.

The fourth track on the EP can only be described as a love song. For many people, Christmas has a warm, romantic feel, and "Happy Birthday Guadalupe" conveys that mood in a unique way as the tune takes on a Mexican theme, telling the story of a long day with a Latin woman whose birthday happens to be on Christmas Day. This song can be considered a love song simply because of the theme and setting, and it takes the album to a different level with its Mexican attitude, something definitely outside of the comfort zone for some listeners perhaps.

The fifth song on the album can only be described as the absolute best track on the album. "Boots" is one of the most powerful tracks I have heard and is a track that can make you think. The song is a trip down memory lane where Christmas was shared by family and a beautiful time of year. The tune relies on an amazing chorus, and it also has an awesome bridge similar to the one found in "Don't Shoot Me Santa.” It pushes the song to an emotional level that we haven't seen before and is quite enjoyable. This song is easily the most emotional and powerful track on the EP, truly a favorite of mine.

"The Cowboys Christmas Ball" is the tune which The Killers chose to end this Christmas EP, and they couldn't have picked a better coda. The track rolls very smoothly and is just plain fun to listen too. Though there is no plot or meaning to it, it still lives up to the Christmas theme like all the other tracks on the album. Part of what makes this song so fun is its general lack of plot or meaning: the Christmas holiday is just a time to kick back and have some laughs.

All the tracks on this album are something truly special and you'd be crazy to let this one go. I bought this on iTunes in 2012 and I have to say I have loved it ever since. No longer does Christmas requite only the sometimes stale oldies. This is how The Killers do Christmas, and I have to say, it's pretty awesome.

If you enjoyed the Christmas theme from The Killers, keep an eye out because they release a new track every December normally around the fourth. Happy holidays!