“Blowback” by The Killers

The Killers’ “Blowback” is highly-metaphorical in its approach, but first let’s start with what can be definitely ascertained. At the center of the story is a female character that the singer refers to as being “born into poor White trash and always typecast”. In other words, she comes from a challenging, impoverished background whereas she is afforded limited upward-social mobility. Moreover it would appear that she is young, i.e. in her teens, as she is sporting a backpack. But she is also depicted as the rebellious type. For instance, we know that she likes to enjoy a cigarette before ‘getting on the bus’, with the implication being that said bus is likely transporting her to school. And she also possesses “a secret she didn’t ask for,” which is apparently causing her some type of mental/emotional discomfort. But around this point in the story is where the lyrics really get vague.

What can be generally concluded is that, once again, she is facing an uphill battle in life which her “secret” is not going to make any easier. That is apparently what is meant when The Killers say that she is “breathing in blowback”.  But that being said, they are also optimistic that “it’s just a matter of time” before she is “going to break out” of this cycle. And it seems that what she is looking for in life is “a good man” akin to a sugar daddy to help her out of her situation. So the singer makes it clear that this girl is likely looking forward to even more hardship in the future. Yet and still, he believes she possesses the overall wherewithal to overcome it.

“Blowback” Facts

“Blowback” was released, via the efforts of Island Records, on 21 August 2020. It is part of The Killer’s sixth-studio album, which is entitled “Imploding the Mirage”.

The first time the band actually performed it live was on a new program called CBS This Morning on the date of 25 April 2020. And due to the fact that most of the country was under lockdown at the time, they actually did so via their studio in Utah.

This song was written by The Killers’ members Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. alongside Alex Cameron and the track’s two producers, Shawn Everett and Jonathan Rado.

2 Responses

  1. Hal says:

    The song is about Brandon’s wife, Tana. The secret she’s sitting on is being abused by her step father. The line, “A good man is a mystery, she’s looking for clues,” is an allusion to how she’s mostly had abusive men in her life, instead of supportive and loving men (aka good men). Brandon is also talking to his younger self through the song, warning his younger self to be good to her and stick with her, and to understand that she’ll be able to overcome the after effects of the abuse she suffered (i.e. complex PTSD).

  2. Chris says:

    It is such a beautifully written song BUT sung with such honesty on those American radio stations that the non instrumental version of this is about the best I have ever heard anywhere. The emotion in Brandons words combined with the pitch perfect rendition is simply sublime. I struggle for a song that has sounded so ‘innocent’.

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