Over the past ten years, The Killers’ annual Christmas single has become as much of a festive tradition as mince pies, eggnog and doing something embarrassing at your end of year work do. This year, they’ve released one of their finest yet in ‘Dirt Sledding’ – but which of the band’s seasonal ditties have true Flowers power and which are just big ol’ Christmas turkeys? Here they all are, ranked in order…
10. ‘Christmas In LA’ (2013)
2013’s effort drew on The Killers celeb-pulling skills, with Owen Wilson and Harry Dean Stanton starring in the video and lending a duologue to open the track. The track itself, however – a country-tinged ballad – was less exciting. Were it not for Brandon’s inimitable vocals, the radio-friendly chug of this one could belong to any number of Garth Brooks-style MOR peddlers.
9. ‘Joseph, Better You Than Me’ (2008)
This time, The Killers took a downbeat angle musically but found their glamour elsewhere – namely, in a guest spot by none other than music’s premiere sparkly spec-wearer Elton John, and the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant. Detailing the toils of being the father of the messiah (tough gig), ‘Joseph…’ was an interesting idea and the band’s most ambitious Xmas track yet – but even with a star-studded line up, it all felt a bit too earnest to really twinkle.
8. ‘Happy Birthday Guadalupe!’ (2009)
Ever wondered what Christmas would be like minus the ice and snow and with a little added Mexican spice? Us neither. But judging by this collaboration with Mariachi El Bronx, The Killers clearly have. A fresh and fun-sounding experiment, but aside for some random shoehorning of the word “Christmas” in there, you’d have no idea that it was meant to be anything to do with it.
7. ‘Joel, The Lump Of Coal’ (2014)
US chat show host Jimmy Kimmel guests here, providing a most lol-filled video. “How about a very YOLO Christmas?” “How about a song where the players are gonna play play play and the haters are gonna hate hate hate?” Eventually, however, they hit upon Joel – the personified lump of coal. A Frosty the Snowman for the 20th century, ‘Joel…’ is just the right level of cutesy, silly and heart-warming.
6. ‘A Great Big Sled’ (2006)
The inaugural festive offering from the Vegas troupe, ‘A Great Big Sled’ was a Christmas single lyrically, but melodically it was pure classic Killers. Circa ‘Sam’s Town’, it featured the kind of soaring chorus and fist-pumping climax that essentially made it a ‘When We Were Young’ with added snowman references.
5. ‘I Feel It In My Bones’ (2012)
Reprising his role as Santa from 2007, Ryan Pardey is back for his second Killers Christmas. This time, however, the shit’s truly hit the fan. A brooding tale of making the naughty list, ‘I Feel It In Bones’ is a dark-hearted 80s-centric extravaganza of smoke machines and effects pedals strung together by some ominous bad Santa action. Take away the festive lyrics and OTT theatricality and this one could just be a genuinely good single on its own.
4. ‘The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball’ (2011)
Taking the lyrics from an 1890 poem of the same name by John Lomax, ‘The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball’ is an old fashioned knees up of a song. A proper country hoe down of a track featuring a Western send-up style video, it’s essentially a good-natured piss-take but with the added bonus of actually being surprisingly good. Worth a listen to hear Brandon Flowers’ impression of an incensed farmer, if nothing else.
3. ‘Boots’ (2010)
The Killers might have been on hiatus at the time of 2010 offering ‘Boots’, but they weren’t about to let something as trivial as not really being a band stop them serving up their annual festive dish. Good thing, too. ‘Boots’ errs on the melodically melancholy side, but there’s a warmth to their familial scene setting and references to ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ that make it one of their best.
2. ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’ (2007)
On year two, Brandon and co went full pelt into the spirit of seasonal ridiculousness. A duet with actor Ryan Pardey who plays the part of Santa, it’s a totally silly, partly-spoken word romp that’s part festive Elvis/ part Rocky Horror Picture Show caricature. Sure, it’s no ‘Mr. Brightside’ but c’mon – this is what Christmas songs should be.
1. ‘Dirt Sledding’ (2015)
Finishing off their Santa Trilogy – ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’ and ‘I Feel It In My Bones’, this song’s mad video likewise features their longtime Santa figure Ryan Pardey. The desert-set clip sees him making friends with a load of holiday characters, and in this one Brandon and Santa’s feud is finally put to bed. If that doesn’t convince you, then its meandering, all-guns-blazing melody should, with the group mixing Elvis’ 12-bar blues and ‘huh’s with Queen’s flamboyant vocals and Christmas bells. It’s a thing of frivolous beauty.