I’m a big fan of American rock band the Killers, and love many of their songs. But my favorite of them all all is “Somebody Told Me“. Serving up three minutes and 17 seconds of exuberant foot-stomping beats, roiling guitars, spacey synths and pounding drums, it’s an electrifying blast from start to finish. It also features one of the best lyric phrases ever written: “Somebody told me you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year.”
The Killers formed in Las Vegas in 2001, taking their name from a logo on the bass drum of a fictitious band portrayed in the music video for the New Order song “Crystal”. And though they’ve turned out to be one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century, it took them a few years to gain traction. Surprisingly, both “Somebody Told Me” and their debut single “Mr. Brightside” were not successful upon their initial release. (“Mr. Brightside” was re-released in 2004 and went on to become their biggest-selling single, reaching #10 in both the UK and on the Billboard Hot 100. To date, the song is also the longest-charting single on the UK Top 100 Singles Chart, with 278 non-consecutive weeks!)
“Somebody Told Me” was the second single released from the Killers’ debut album Hot Fuss in 2004, and though it eventually reached #3 in the UK and on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, it failed to crack the top 40 on the Hot 100, peaking at only #51. Nevertheless, it’s become one of their most enduring and popular songs, garnering nearly 450 million streams on Spotify alone.
The song is essentially about trying to meet someone at a club, but not having much success. I love lead singer Brandon Flowers’ plaintive vocals that beautifully express his exasperation over striking out with the ladies despite repeated attempts to woo them with his considerable charms:
Breaking my back just to know your name Seventeen tracks and I've had it with this game I'm breaking my back just to know your name But heaven ain't close in a place like this Anything goes but don't blink, you might miss 'Cause heaven ain't close in a place like this I said, oh, heaven ain't close in a place like this Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight (Ooh-ooh) Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight Well, somebody told me you had a boyfriend Who looked like a girlfriend That I had in February of last year It's not confidential, I've got potential Ready? Let's roll onto something new Taking its toll then I'm leaving without you 'Cause heaven ain't close in a place like this I said, oh, heaven ain't close in a place like this Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight (Ooh-ooh) Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight Well, somebody told me you had a boyfriend Who looked like a girlfriend That I had in February of last year It's not confidential, I've got potential
The entertaining video was shot in the desert outside Las Vegas, and shows the band performing the song at night in front of a large screen that displays their logo and scenes of them performing. I love when Brandon Flowers stomps his foot at the end of the first pre-chorus.