Friday, October 31, 2008

"Are We Human or Are We Dancer?"

It's many Moons since I was taken by a popular song. This one crept up on me. We first heard it earlier this month on "Saturday Night Live" - "Human", by The Killers, a band we'd never heard of. After listening for a while, we both commented on the silliness of the lyrics.
(See end of post for lyrics and YouTube recording).

I noticed the song played a couple of times recently during my morning dose of the BBC. It's a catchy tune, better appreciated via radio than watched on TV. Yesterday, just as I finished my post featuring a tarot reading, I switched to the BBC and that song was playing. This time I really listened to the words. Two hours later I'd scoured the web, learned about Hunter S. Thompson, and encountered a wide variety of opinions on the meaning of those enigmatic lyrics.

It appears that Brandon Flowers, vocalist and keyboard player of the band has stated in an interview that the line "are we human, or are we dancer?" is a reference to a remark once made by the late Hunter S. Thompson, an ascerbic journalist famed for "telling it like it is", often in offensive terms. He had commented that America is nowadays raising a "generation of dancers". Thompson committed suicide in 2005.

Aside from The Killers' new song, Hunter S. Thompson is a fascinating subject, about whose astrology I'd have written, but found that it had already been done by D.K. Brainard at "Pure Plutonium: Hunter S. Thompson Says Goodbye".

Because that fabled "veil between worlds" is thin at Halloween, I fancifully imagine that perhaps Mr. Thompson's thoughts are being propelled to us clearly at this time for a reason. We are close an election in the USA, an election pivotal to the future of both this country, and by extension, the world. When considering whether to vote or not, it might behove us to ask ourselves, "Are we human or are we dancer?"

Concentrating on the lyrics of the song, I started to search for clues to their meaning. A long thread of comments at Popwatch Blog following "Does the Killers' 'Human' have the silliest lyrics of the week? by Simon Vozick-Levinson provided food for thought. Comments covered whether the song says "denser" or "dancer" (it's the latter); whether dancer should be plural (no - because the word is used as an adjective, as though it's a different species, as in "are we human or are we canine".)

There are analyses of the lyrics as a whole. One writer saw them as relating to the end of a love affair after a phone call. Another to the birth of a person's first offspring - a bit of a stretch, I thought! The meaning of "human" versus "dancer" is cloudy. Is it preferable (or wise) to be one or t'other? All depends on individual interpretation.

My own version of the tale the lyrics tell is this: as Brandon Flowers has said the inspiration came from Hunter S. Thompson's words, possibly the whole song is a dedication to him and the way he ended his own life (he shot himself in the head, suffering from several chronic illnesses). The "platform of surrender", cutting the cord (of life), "Wave goodbye, say farewell, you've gotta let me go".... reading the lyrics this way, the intention seems obvious to me.

Intertwined in the story told by the lyrics is that question we might benefit from asking ourselves: "are we human or are we dancer?" Personally I take it as asking whether we are taking notice of what's going on around us, or are we oblivious, wrapped up in our own fantasy world, allowing others to manipulate us, and the real world?

It's the first time for decades that I've thought as much about the lyrics of a pop (or any other) song. I guess Hunter S. Thompson would be pleased if he could see the thought and controversy seeded by a throw-away remark of his.



I did my best to notice, when the call came down the line
Up to the platform of surrender, I was brought but I was kind
But sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door
Close your eyes clear your heart, cut the cord

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

Pay my respects to grace and virture, send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance, they always did the best they could
And so long to devotion you taught me everything I know
Wave good bye wish me well, you've gotta let me go

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

Will your system be alright?
When you dream of home tonight
There is no message we're receiving
Let me know, is your heart still beating?

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
You've gotta let me know

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
You've gotta let me know

Are we human, or are we dancer
Are we human, or are we dancer

83 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

Haven't heard the song, T, but intriguing lyrics and I wasn't a fan of Hunter. Far too bitter and not enough light, poor soul.
XO
WWW

R J Adams said...

Have to agree with 'WWW' about Hunter. They've recently made a film about him, I believe. It was lengthily paraded on BBC News America and caused me to write a caustic email to the BBC complaining about that show in general and Matt Frei, in particular. You may remember it (as you commented). It's here: http://sparrowchat.com/?p=786

Nice post - though my wife doesn't think I'm a great dancer, and she's seldom wrong about these things.

;-)

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ I knew nothing about HST before this, though I'd heard the name before.

His caustic style reminds me a bit of George Carlin's in his later work. Bitterness becomes nauseating when it's overused. In tiny doses though it wakes up the audience and gets 'em thinking.
:-)

Twilight said...

RJ ~~~ Oh yes - I remember that post, but didn't remember the mention of HST particularly.

LOL! In some ways a few of HST's quotes remind me of you dear RJ!
;-)

Here's one:
America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

Mt favourite is:
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
:-)
So by your wife's reckoning you must be human then RJ? Thought so!

Anonymous said...

Humph!

;-)

R J Adams said...

Sorry, 'Anonymous' was actually me. Bloody stupid 'Blogger'.

Anonymous said...

Twilight,

I am always blown away by your prolific output and the connections you consistently make. Do you know much about the shadow of Hunter S Thompson? I once met a private investigator who shared with me some very lurid details regarding Thompson and his rather sordid connections in the world of child porn and even snuff films. This PI was convinced that Thompson was a videographer for many of these events.

The twisted tale includes Jeff Gannon (Johnny Gosch?) GWB's old pal and of course Thompson.

Here's a link for more info you're interested.

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=5409

Keep up the stellar work.

Robert Phoenix

Twilight said...

RJ - I'd have recognised you anyway! :-)

Twilight said...

Hello Anon/Robert Phoenix !

You are too kind! My prolific output is probably a sign of an overactive mind. :-)

Thanks for the link, which I read with interest, then followed on with a few more leads. A murky picture indeed emerges!

With HST's natal Sun conjunct Pluto, I suppose it's not too surprising.

I went back to Wikipedia's long entry on him, and noticed with amusement that it says that Hunter S Thompson diguises have been used as Halloween costumes. I didn't know that when I wrote my piece for Halloween. :-)

anthonynorth said...

Bearing in mind your last words, I suspect Thompson would find a reason to have a go at us for not being ourselves :-)

Twilight said...

I'm sure he would, AN, and in characteristically offensive terms!

Anonymous said...

the killers rule..

Anonymous said...

the killers rule...

Twilight said...

So it seems, Anon ....so it seems!
they go themselves a hit record, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I just love this song! Catchy and intriguing.

Twilight said...

Yes, Anon - I think it's a combination of the catchiness and easy to remember tune, with such enigmatic lyrics - one without the other wouldn't work, but put 'em together and it seems to be a recipe for a hit. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm a dancer

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ It's nice to be able to identify yourself clearly. I certainly can't! ;-)

sal said...

poorly written piece i think. How can you say someones a poor soul if theyre content with themselves.

Twilight said...

sal: Sal ~~~ Hi - I didn't use those words ("poor soul"), in fact. They are the words of a commenter.

You are entitled to your opinion on my writing, of course, and I to mine on your comment.

If you are going to criticise someone's writing it's advisable to make sure your own is above criticism. You can't be bothered to use capital letters, no apostrophes where they should be.....lack of attention to detail (I didn't use the words you complain about).

Ironic really, is it not?

ScottishPrincess said...

ScottishPrincess here... I, too am intrigued by this song as I was by 'The Way' by Fastball a few years ago. I had to dig in to that one, as well,and find out something about it; settled on what it means for me and still have it as a favorite.
I think that, after all, we are humans who get to dance our way thru parts of this life on our lovely planet~~~if we are lucky.

Twilight said...

Hi Scottish Princess ~~Yes, I guess we are all part Human and part Dancer, in varying proportion, when you get right down to it. :-)

Thanks for your visit and comment.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog.
I too thought it was a farewell song. A generation of dancers. Yes, maybe HST had experienced the hive mind collective of a Rave before he blew his brains out.

JoeBoy said...

Thanks for digging that up. Armed with the probably meaning, I find the song is much more powerful. Might have moved it from a passing fancy to an all-time favorite.

Time will tell :-)>

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Hi! Yes, you could have hit the nail on the head! :-)

Twilight said...

JoeBoy ~~`Hi!

Yes, the song will stay with me for a long time - very unexpected, as is the continuing interest in this post. :-) I hope the Killers get an award for the song - I haven't investigated, perhaps they have won one.

Sandra Karen said...

I really like The Killers "Human". On one level I think the song refers to Thompson cutting the cord giving in to the slings and arrows of the human condition in a destructive way. But then Flowers asks are we only human or can we rise above our species and become something more [dancer]?

Instead of destroying human life, can we create a new and better reality?

Twilight said...

Sandra Karen ~~~Hi!

Yes, I think you're right. There are so many ways of looking at these lyrics, especially the "chorus" line. I like your way.

Anonymous said...

I hate that song. I know the Killers can do better. I think you've given the song way more attention than it deserves. It shouldn't require some obscure quote from HST to bring meaning to this song. Even with that knowledge, the lyrics are still the silliest of the year.

Twilight said...

Anonymous - Hi!

I wrote about this song initially out of curiosity. It has a catchy tune and arrangement which helps overcome the oddness of the lyrics. I found the source of the idea for the lyrics (HST) of interest - I realise others, like yourself do not.

I have been very surprised at the amoumnt of hits this post receives, even so long after the date it was posted. Very strange!

Your opinion adds a little balance - thanks for sharing it. :-)

Emily said...

hi twilight,

a friend forwarded me this post of yours because of an obama video i just made using the killers song human. my video might make a nice follow up to this entry... looks like it drew a lot of attention.

lots of people are still debating what this song means after watching my video. but one person wrote that now it "finally makes sense." here's one take: www.thecreativejunkie.com

i'd be curious for your interpretation.

http://www.emilytroutman.blogspot.com

or directly http://vimeo.com/2895468

Twilight said...

Emily

I've visited your blog and left a comment there about the wonderful video you produced.

I'm going to link to your video, and back to this post of mine which has gathered a lot of comments, and more hits than I've had on any other post in over 2 years!

We're going away on a brief trip from Wednesday - I might leave the post about your video just before we leave, then it'll remain there for a few days - if I don't manage that, I'll do so as soon as we get back next week.

Thank you fro drawing my attention to your lovely presentation - it made me cry, all over again!
:-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reflections on the lyrics. You saved me a lot of research :)

Ted

Anonymous said...

BTW, there is a movie about Hunter.

It's not a true biography.. but it's inspired upon his person.

It's called "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Twilight said...

Anonymous (Ted)

Thanks for commenting. Glad it was of interest.

And (if it's the same Anonymous - or even if not) - thank you for the hint about the movie - I'll look for a DVD.

Ponderer said...

It might be that the band are questioning their own musical morals after being asked to produce a dance track by their record label. The first verse is about getting that call, the platform of surrender is referring to giving into the demands of the record label. Seeing an open door is seeing an opportunity, but at what cost.

The chorus then uses the quote from Fear and Loathing to question the bands musical position; are they original or are they following the crowd by producing a dance track. Flowers then goes on to explain how this question makes him feel - very nervous by the sounds of it. The second verse could be interpreted that he feels he is selling out; giving up good, soul, and devotion which was needed to get them to where they are now.

The final verse asks us, the fan, if we still like them - is our heart still beating for the Killers? So they want an answer, are they Human or are they Dancer?

Twilight said...

Ponderer ~~ Hi there!

Oh my! Yet another interpretation, and one which does fit very well indeed.

I suspect you may have hit upon the right one - but the song does lend itself to others, like an abstract painting. The Hunter S. Thompson clue may have sent us on a wild goose chase, but that theory does fit also. :-)

Thank you for sharing your view.

martek said...

Twilight First of all I would like to say that I admire You for spending so much time on this. Secondly I would also like to say that I really like Your style of writing because in my opinion my English expressions are a bit rusty. Thank You a lot for this blog which really helped me find out what stands behind those words ''Are We Human or Are We Dancer?''

Thanks again, martek

Twilight said...

Martek ~~~ Hi!
Thank you for you very kind comment. I'm happy that you found this helpful,

I keep being surprised at how much interest this topic has aroused.

I still like the song, but haven't heard it played lately. Perhaps interest will fade soon. :-)

Anonymous said...

This is a really good analysis of the song. Keeping this in mind when I read the words "My sign is vital, my hands are cold" and it made more sense to me--- maybe he's trying to say his vital signs say he's alive (eg his heart beating, etc), but "hands are cold" may indicate that on another level, he's dead.

Anonymous said...

For an old girl, your unbelievably in touch with the world? No disrespect intended on your vintage, but I am aghast at how well you have helped me understand this song.

I may just bookmark your blog for future perusal, given the satisfaction that you have endowered me with.

Reading through the comments on this blog and your responses is amusing in the least!

Well done on conquering the internets.

Twilight said...

Anonymous (1): Yes, that's certainly one interpretation.
It's a song which gets one thinking, that's for sure! :-)

Twilight said...

Anonymous (2)

I shall take your comment with as much grace as I can muster! (Chuckling).

One thing I ought to point out though is that you are showing prejudice. Ageism. Would you go to the blog of a black person and say, "For a black person, you're unbelievably in touch with the world? " or to a younger woman's blog and say
"For a female, you're unbelievably in touch with the world?"

I doubt it. Ageism is the last prejudice to be addressed by society. I suspect that will change soon.

Age has nothing to do with whether people have lively interested minds or not. Some are born old and stay old. Others are born interested in the world around them and stay that way until they shuffle off this mortal coil. I hope to be one of the latter.

You might be surprised how many of the older generation have "conquered the internets"....no big deal in my opinion.

But, thank you for your comment - it was meant kindly, I realise that. :-)

gravic said...

Being a bit of a ludite this song hadn't even made into onto my radar, but now it's cropping up all over the place and i was intrigued to know more. I first heard it on Saturday evening at a friends fortieth B'Day celebration, and thought it was an old track from his collection, obviously a popular choice scos it had everyone up dancing and joining in. then his wife tld me that he had done a sermon on it, (he's an Anglican Minister. I obviously wasn't at the original, but I did get the very potted version. Are we human or are we dancers? (That was how I heard it and didn't find out about the big grammar debate until later, so don't know what mate heard either). To my mate this means do we continue exercising our free will and thus be Human, or do we accept the Holy Spirit into our lives and become dancers or as my lent study notes said just last night, 'Jesus Christ invites everyone to join the dance, whatever our successes or failures might be.' (think of the song 'Dance, then wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the dance said He.) And as if that wasn't 'godincidence' enough, Radio 1 was still playing when I came in from work as I hadn't turned over from when my husband was listening this morning, and what should be playing. And so I came and Goggled, saw all the huge debates about the lyrics and here I am now!

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, the lyrics speak to you based upon your personal experince and where you are at right now, but for me it has become something very special and profound.

annabelle lecture said...

lyrics and tune bear a striking resemblance to a chris de burgh song !-cannot just remember which at present,
particularly the line "signs are vital, head is cold"

Twilight said...

gravic ~~~ Hi there!

That's another interesting interpretation, and it does fit - in that Christian context. thank you for visiting and commenting.

I wonder if the lyric writer (Brandon Flowers, I think) had any idea what discussion his song would cause. LOL! There's certainly something very special about it. :-)

Twilight said...

annabelle lecture Hi! I love that screen name :-) lol!

Hmmm, well I'm only familiar with a couple of Chris de Burgh songs - "Lady in Red" and "Missing You", I'll have a quick hum through 'em and see if it's either of those. :-D

The Dreammaker said...

The song is a dichotomy between thought and action. Human and Dancer as two mutually exclusive entities. Flower's faith also adds to the context as "he is on his knees looking for the answer." This can be interpreted as his spirit conflicting with his flesh. I like the idea of Dancer as a species.

Twilight said...

Dreammaker ~~ Hi there!

Yes, spirit and flesh fit well.

I wonder whether Flowers chose "dancer" simply because it rhymes with "answer", and the ensuing discussions, here and elsewhere were serendipitous? The varied outlooks and sensibilities of many listeners got to work on those enigmatic lyrics - et voila!

:-)

Crockett Dunn said...

interesting. You certainly seemed to have tapped into something mainstream, at least according to Google (you're the #1 result for "are we human or are we dancer").

I wanted to share that I had a similar experience when I heard what I thought to be the most prolonged, meaningless use of time on a pop song in the history of hollow music:

"There was an o-pen chair..."

[Crockett: yawn 2 3 4]

"we sat down in..."

[Crockett: eeeaarrryaaaawn... tap tap]

"the o-pen chair"

[Crockett: nodding to sleep]

--

I had previously not listened to any of the other song lyrics before, but those stupid, bloody lines rang in my mid-conscious for a couple of days, maybe more.

I didn't pay any attention, but at some point I remembered about the game musical chairs, and I withdrew my verdict of "meaningless."

--

The next time I heard the song, I listened to the lyrics.

And I was intrigued.

The lyrics pack a lot of imagery, with sufficient ambiguity, yet combined with a sort of universal humanity, that their songs are kind of addictive...

Like a book that can be read to a child and again enjoyed by that same child as an adult.

Thanks for cluing me in to the Hunter S. Thompson reference. I, too, caught the song on SNL, and feared The Killers had "jumped the shark."

I have since given their new album a second chance.

Crockett from Crock Town

Twilight said...

Hey Crockett Dunn

Thanks for popping in to share your experience.

I am absolutely flabbergasted at the continuing interest in this post. It keeps my stats looking very healthy if nothing else!

Yes it's the lyrics which hold attention here, yet without the catchy tune and rather hypnotic arrangement of the song, I doubt people would have noticed it as much, initially.

It's a very clever combination, whether by luck or good management we shall never know. I'll keep an ear out for the Killers' other work in future too.

Nice blog you have there - I'll pop by occasionally. :-)

Cobalt said...

Reading the comments on this is surprisingly fun!

Twilight said...

Cobalt ~~~ Hi! Yes, it's like a patchwork quilt of opinion isn't it?
:-)

Anonymous said...

Like some here I haven't payed much attention to recent pop music, let alone the lyrics. But I visit a sports bar regularly where in recent weeks in the spaces between events they've been playing a mix which includes this very catchy track. I initially took it to be a Bruce Springsteen recording (ok, what do I know)! but of course I couldn't trace it, not helped by the fact that I 'heard' the lyrics as something quite different.
It speaks volumes for the attraction of the tune however that it has repeated itself in my head to such an extent as to necessitate, and justify tracking it down. All of which eventually led me to - here!
So thanks to everyone for the explanations which I find enlightening indeed. My curiosity regarding the lyrics suitably assuaged, now only remains the not-so-minor matter of getting the irritatingly infectious tune out of my head! That I suspect may take a little longer ......... !!

Twilight said...

Anonymous Hi! Thanks for contributing you experience of this amazing song. It really is amazing how it has attracted so much attention.

I'm beginning to think the song contains a touch of magic! ;-)

Anonymous said...

we are all human, but some of us like to dance

Twilight said...

That just about sums it up, Anon. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I loved this song from the moment I heard it. To me the lyrics meant, "Are we still human, or have we given ourselves over to the passion of the music . . . lost ourselves in the rhythm." That was enough meaning for me. I like the new interpretation, too, but will always hear this song as an ode to passion, creativity, art, and performing in the "zone".

Twilight said...

Hi Anonymous ~~~ That's an easy interpretation to agree with - yes.

I think there is a secondary theme threading through the lyrics though, in the hint of a link to Hunter S. Thompson, but the "chorus" part of the song can be enjoyed all by itself without bothing about the verses and their meaning, which need not be closely connected to the verses at all actually - the chorus can be thought of as an idea just leading on from the rest of the song - which is what most choruses are, if you think about other songs with a similar structure.

All too complicated ! LOL! Best to just enjoy it!.

Janet B. said...

Twilight, your site is most appreciated! I too was one of those people that were entranced by this song the moment I heard it. That was when The Killers were on Sat. Night Live some months ago. I remember I was working at the computer with my back to the TV while it droned on and suddenly I came alive to the music. But as I was not listening prior to its start, I had no idea who and what I had just heard (and didn't know where to find it.) A short few months later, the show was re-aired and the same thing happened but that time I managed to get the information I needed. Still I did nothing with it really but just glad I had “captured” the info. Keep in mind both times I heard the song, I found that I began to weep listening to the words and yet felt uplifted by the music. Strange yes, but I have had similar responses to other music and lyrics.

Now a few months later, tonight I was looking up something else entirely, and happened to come across it, first on Wikipedia, and then putting it in a web search and coming across your site which had everything I could have hoped for. Great article, great discussion, with many interpretations offered and the music and lyrics….a goldmine! So much food for thought for my hungry mind ….and yet, I still have my own interpretation….. It coincides with the post that states that the song is about how the writer felt about producing a dance song (on the surface) and then becomes a deeper statement about our lives here. I do believe “dancer” is used to refer to someone who is disengaged and just going through the motions of life without fully interacting and that the line; “my sign is vital, my hands are cold” refers to that. Also when he refers to the lines:

Pay my respects to grace and virtue, send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance, they always did the best they could
And so long to devotion you taught me everything I know
Wave good bye wish me well, you've gotta let me go

He is appreciating all those great characteristics that make him human but he is still in doubt as whether he is integrated or superficial?

On any level, how anyone can consider this a bunch of silly lyrics and not see it as a poetic statement about life and how we are living it is beyond me. (And if in fact, it is only a song written by Flowers regarding the writing of a dance tune, it is still brilliantly written!)

Thanks Twilight.

Janet B. said...

PS Here is a link to Brandon Flowers' own statements regarding the lyrics:
http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/11/19/brandon-flowers-wound-up-over-miquoting-of-killers-human/

Twilight said...

Janet B ~~~ Thanks so much for your comment and the link - much appreciated!

I think I've said somewhere above that these lyrics seem to contain a kind of magic. Interpretation is up to the listener, just as interpretation of abstract art is up to the viewer. There are very few songs which this can apply to.

I'm happy that my blog was of interest. This post from last Holloween continues to fraw a lot of hits. Very strange!!

:-)

Twilight said...

Excuse typos! Im in a motel (on a trip) just now and the light is atrocious, as well as my being useless on the laptop keyboard.
;-)

Gonzo67 said...

hi,
just like to say this was a really interesting blog.'m a huge Hunter S fan, guy was a great writer!
Song lyrics should be " Are we human or are we chancers:-)

Twilight said...

Gonzo67 ~~~ glad you found it of interest. LOL! Yes, The human race is a race of chancers alright!
;-D

NEWTOTHEKILLERS said...

Hi there twilight. I've noticed that the eternal thread of emails with regards to the real meaning of the song is finally coming to an end on May 20th.
What an interesting discussion it was !! Maybe I'm a litte late into it (it's July the 2nd. today) but I still would like to express how touched I've been by this song which led me to paying attention to the whole album.
I learned about the killers probably one year ago when I was playing my rockband game and got interested by the catchy tune (and fun-to-play x-box arrangement) of When you were young, but never really though that I would be interested by the killer's work ever again.
When a friend of mine played this song on her ipod last saturday, I was just blown away, and couldn't help to scream : Who is that ?? (and for the record, I am not usually a big fan of "commercial" music, I generally enjoy more the darkests tunes of pop albums).
The magical musical arrangment and melancholic voice of Brandon Flowers (you will agree that he is not the best singer in the world, but he certainly has a very emotional, from-the-gut singing style) are far too enigmatic to ignore; and once you think you're getting tired of the music, you start wondering what really denser-dancer means and you get hooked up again by the song.
I was reading somewhere yesterday that this song represents "what the eighties should have always sounded like". We'll that's no humble statement, but I think it's every bit true. I do not think I've ever heard such a "complete-package", perfectly arranged (for the 80's fashion) pop hit since A-ha's "The sun always shines on tv" (in my opinion).
As for the lyrics, the HST story brings 300% magic into an otherwise "weird" arrangment of words.
And what comes for me when I get tired of listening to "human" 50 times a day? well, having the cd on my car I'm getting more familiar with all the other tracks and finding out they are quite interesting (and enigmatic) too. Have you thought of opening a blog to discuss on "Spaceman" lyrics; that should be interesting too !
Thank you so much for bringing light into the lyrics of the only song that I've really fallen in love with (like I did a zillion times a year when I was in my 20s) since.... I can't remember when
Great blog !! Great writing !!
Hope you still enter this blog and read this.

Twilight said...

Hello NEWTOTHEKILLERS

LOL! As I started typing your name "Human" came on the radio! True!!! Really - it's magic! I'm listening to a BBC morning show on a "Listen Again" thingie.

Thanks for your interesting comment. I'm pleased you found the blog and comments entertaining.

I never stop being amazed by the interest this post has generated.

I'll take a look at "Spaceman" lyrics, thanks for the suggestion. I'm seeking inspiration for next week's posts, this might be a good idea.

I agree on all points about "Human" by the way. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Twilight! - Great blog! We're off to a friends wedding in 2 weeks and managed to weasle out of him 'their song' as wanted to get them a present themed around it. I was unassuming when he said "Killers Human, but it won't be our 'first dance' song!". Not being a big music buff I diligently performed a bit of research in case it was utterly inappropriate. I've ended up here and its really helped me understand loads of (all the?) angles, I suspect there may be more ;-) Anyway, it couldn't be a better song to link to our present... Something to last a lifetime! Thank you for the enlightenment! :-)

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ Hi there! Thanks for popping in to comment and tell of your new use for the Human thread. LOL!

Your idea of making the wedding pair's favourite song a theme for your gift to them is a very thoughtful one, and one I've not heard before. I'm sure your gift, and, just as importantly, the thought you've put into choosing it will be much appreciated by the happy couple. :-)

Michael Lee said...

Dear Lady Twilight,

I too was watching the rerun of the aforementioned SNL episode this evening, although I was struck, much as you, by the song and lyrics when first seen last year as well. How fortunate for me that you had investigated the facts of the matter (song, lyrics, HST inspiration) and laid your research bare in your journal. I was actually happy to hear that Hunter was suffering from heretofor unknown (at least to myself) ailments that helped drive him to his untimely end. Hunter's artistry helped me live through my own version of "Fear and Loathing" in the Deep South. Thanks so much for awakening a whole new level of this lovely song for me!

Michael Lee
(01/17/1953 - San Antonio, Tx.)

Twilight said...

Hello Michael Lee

Nice to "meet" you, and thanks for stopping by to comment on this amazing song. I swear it has magic bound up in it ! Interest in it never ceases. I wrote it last Halloween.

I'm happy that you found the post interesting and that it expands your enjoyment of the song.

Oh my! You live in a beautiful city - we visited there for my birthday in January. I'm envious.

Thanks for leaving your data too - I'm always interested ! I see that your Sun and Mercury are close to my own natal Mercury - planet of communication, and here we are - communicating! :-)

Twilight said...

Hmmm my first para sounds as though I wrote the song. I should be so lucky! Should read "I wrote the post last Halloween" :-)

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. i've spent some time studying Hunter and reading Flowers thoughts on the lyrics to "human". If you listen to lyrics of most of the songs on their new album you'll.. relise it has a alien/abduction theme .. Spaceman etc. Flowers has manipulated Hunter and his/band beliefs into a "is they anybody out there" really? .. perhaps hinting to his or someones abduction. Either way he's openly admitted the men from space fasicinate him!

Twilight said...

Hi Anonymous - Thanks for that. I'll investigate the new album.
Interesting!

ycrem said...

i found this answer online
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081026095919AAQOoiT

It could be that Flower is a man of faith and is asking God if we are his puppets *dancers* where our life is all predistined / predetermined / fated or are we at free will (Humans) to do what we please and be able to change the course of events! God will vs humans will

Go through these links if u have the time..It makes more sense to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination#Biblical_support_of_free_will

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination#Biblical_support_of_free_will

Maybe he's looking for a sign from God which would be an ultimate answer.

Twilight said...

ycrem ~~~Hello there!

Thank you for your input and for the links which I'll certainly follow up.

Yes, I can see the meaning suggested as being very feasible...it fits!

I don't think it's the only translation though, and that's the beauty of these lyrics, they will morph into whatever the listener wants them to mean. There are very few songs like that.

Thanks again for commenting. :-)

GOD of FUN said...

hello,

My name is John

I recently opened Pandora's Box

It has left me feeling alone, horrendously powerful and horribly impotent

There are many things in the box

but what it has taught me is that no matter what you believe, you believe in a contradiction

so I take it to mean

Are we HUMAN
or are we DANCERS

forever fated to dance around the truth. Hoping only that it is out there...

and in here

because neither science nor religion has found them

just questions in a see of dots

Pardon the mellow drama

happens mostly at night

Twilight said...

GOD of FUN (great name!)
Hi there! That's an intriguing post! You've made some points well worth deep thought!
Thanks for your input here. :-)

cat said...

ycrem said - and I finally heard

yes, that is the answer....makes sense ...FINALLY

Twilight said...

cat ~~ I agree that it IS the overall most feasible, and likely answer to the mystery.

Jarnor said...

To have a thought against the flow:

Most of us if we try can at least be human. Not everyone can be a dancer.

mike said...

Well, let's not let the comments cease! Here it is 2015 and I can't find any direct evidence for a HS Thompson quote referenced by Flowers, ie "We’re raising a generation of dancers". Flowers only mentions Thompson, not H.S. Thompson, so perhaps another writer or an intentional side-rail? A fantastic enigma and accord surrounding this song, Twilight!

I did find this quote that I thought was pretty good:
"My son Simon, like myself, is/was a fan of Hunter's literary style and unique insite [sic]. On learning of Hunter's suicide, he sent me an email as follows:
'I always knew he would be killed by some deranged psychopath...bummer.'"
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Hunter_S._Thompson

Twilight said...

mike ~ Flowers remained fairly vague about the song's lyrics - as songwriters are often wont to do. They perhaps prefer us to come to our own conclusions (in case we don't like their original inspiration, and refuse to buy the album, I guess). Lennon and McCartney were often vague about their lyrics too.

Trick is to write a catchy melody and some mysterious-sounding lyrics that get the people chattering online, buying albums/i-tunes and arguing around the water-cooler.
:-)

HST was a bit of an enigma himself, too!