For the video to accompany their fifth annual Christmas single, “Boots,” the Killers turned this time to Jared Hess, who is best known for writing and directing Napoleon Dynamite. Interspliced with cool shots of Brandon Flowers atop some building north of Fremont Street (a little west of the El Cortez, I think), is a narrative involving a fifteen-years-older Napoleon, or someone who looks quite a bit like him. Life hasn’t worked out too well for Napoleon, but occasionally music and dance can still lift him up and make his wildest dreams come true.
My further random thoughts:
A turning point for the Napoleon-like character comes when he visits Guardian Angel Cathedral. The Catholics provide the world a lot of religious imagery that other Christians find useful. Brandon Flowers’ recent solo album Flamingo has been noted for its religious themes found throughout. (Linescratchers was only one reviewer to mention this, but the most complete. The lyrics’ Las Vegas quotient is also much stronger than past Killers work; in other words it was an album created for Mormon Nevadans like me.) The track that goes full bore in that direction, “Magdalena,” is a joyous song of redemption found through a pilgrimage from Nogales to Magdalena to seek a blessing from San Francisco. Did using the imagery of another religion free Flowers to be so overtly religious without becoming preachy about his own religion, while still communicating important beliefs he shares with Catholics? Is there anything particularly Mormon that could have communicated so well a belief in redemption from sin?
For those keeping count of such things, Jared Hess is the second Mormon to direct a Killers Christmas video. Matthew Gray Gubler did the video for “Don’t Shoot Me, Santa” three years ago. At the Magdalena link above you can see Rachel Kaiser, another Mormon, singing backup. Three of the Killers (minus drummer Ronnie Vannucci) performed “Home Means Nevada” at a Harry Reid campaign rally last summer, and an old classmate of Vannucci tells me that the drummer’s wife is LDS.
I had wondered if the Killers break from performing would interfere with doing their Christmas single this year. It did and it didn’t. The single which appeared is much more like Flamingo than like anything the Killers have recorded; it is very similar to “Crossfire.” I like the song. Mark Stoermer’s bass playing, a significant part of the Killers’ sound, is absent for the first minute, and subdued through the rest of it. Stoermer, Vannucci, and guitarist Keuning took on a supporting role for this one.