Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Human - The Killers

It seems to me that when a harassed journalist interviews anyone from the ‘great and good’ list and has already asked about their book/film/CD they immediately run out of interesting questions and then have to rely on plan B. Top of this list is generally, ‘What music would you liked played at your funeral?’ A bit of a strange question I always think as the requestor is in no position to appreciate their choice and the attendees probably hate it anyway.

And speaking of those that hate it, there have been cases recently of Church Officials complaining about the choice of music accompanying both marriages and funerals these days as the traditional is being scorned in favour of popular tunes. It is all part of our society’s urge to turn their back on tradition and embrace the here and now even if it turns out to be a one hit wonder. I have a certain amount of sympathy with the clergy on this point but that doesn’t mean that modern music is any worse than older compositions. Tradition has to start somewhere.

A recently quizzed celebrity answered the vexed funeral question with The Killers’ ‘Human’ and my immediate reaction was one of amused interest. First, the idea of anything at all being played at a funeral by a band calling themselves The Killers must be bordering on dubious taste unless it’s an Italian gangland affair and second, the song itself is not in the mournful dirge category that most would expect. So your intrepid reporter delved further to see what the attraction is. Having spent 59p to download it from Amazon, I listened to it several times whilst doing something else and gradually, it began to seep into my consciousness. There is an almost relentless optimism about the melody that infiltrates your soul. The earnest vocal is beautifully judged giving credence to the message that if we are human, we can make decisions about our own future rather than relying on fate. The combination of tune and lyric leaves you feeling strangely uplifted and ready to face the world.

‘Are we human?
Or are we dancer?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I'm on my knees
Looking for the answer
Are we human?
Or are we dancer?’

In this respect I can begin to understand why it was chosen to be played at a funeral. It is not so much for the departed, who will be oblivious anyway, but more for the benefit of those left behind and in this respect it is a wise choice and tradition should move aside for it.  YouTube won't let me embed the video here so you'll need to go here to hear it.


Jayne said...

I think it was the comedienne Katy Brand that did a great job of parodying this band and song, 'Are we Human, or Are We Badger'. It made me chuckle anyway… I like a few songs from The Killers, but not this one, it just seems too contrived. But I haven’t listened to it long enough, just flicked past on the radio. The funeral question I suppose is to offer us some great insight to their interviewee’s psyche. I wonder if anyone has ever chosen Highway to Hell?

musicobsessive said...

Hi Jayne! My fav Killers' tune is actually 'Somebody Told Me' but 'Human' is OK. They must be doing something right if they are being parodied already!

As to that crucial funeral song, I bet someone will choose 'H to H' just to be alternative, but at least it makes a change from 'My Way'. Personally, I think I'd like something spacey like Pink Floyd's 'Careful With That Axe Eugene'!

Jayne said...

As long as you hadn't come a fateful cropper while chopping a tree, I presume? :)

My favourite Killers tune is probably When You Were Young, although Somebody Told Me is a close second.

Perplexio said...

Somebody Told Me is a great song. I tend to agree that Human sounds a bit contrived.

Song for my funeral-- The Road Goes On by Toto or maybe the more obscure Being Me by Pat Dailey.

musicobsessive said...

Hi Perplexio! Interesting choice(s). I think the more obscure one would be more fun - it'd have everyone rushing home to look up what it was lol! That'd give them a purpose in life:)