“Quiet Town” by The Killers

As we have pointed out in covering some of the other tracks from this project, Pressure Machine is sort of this concept album that is based on Brandon Flowers’, the lead singer of The Killers, youth. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Killers's Quiet Town at Lyrics.org.

More to the point, he grew up in a small-town setting, in an inconspicuous part of Utah known as Nephi. And all of the tracks from the album are in some way related to his background. But this is the one song on the playlist most that directly speaks to Flowers’ childhood, as in the first verse, in a verifiable sort of way.

For instance, the incident he sings of, after being led in by the intro, was in fact one in which “a couple of kids got struck by a Union Pacific train”. This transpired, in the aforementioned city of Nephi, on the date of 8 November 1994

Also at the time, the pair did have a newborn “baby girl” to their name. And even though this happened nearly three decades ago, as implied by the lyrics, it is an incident that, according to Flowers in his own words, still affects the vocalist.

Meanwhile the second verse is about how the opioid epidemic has impacted the ‘hood. This is something Brandon also speaks of on other Pressure Machine tracks, such as West Hills. And in this case, verifiable information isn’t as readily as with the first verse. For instance, we’re not able to ascertain exactly what “daddy’s girl” he is speaking of specifically as having fallen victim to drug abuse. 

But we are able to verify that yes, even the Mormons of Utah (with Nephi being overwhelmingly Mormon during Flowers’ youth), have fallen victim to the crisis despite their relatively-stringent religious stance. But at the same time, we can postulate that in this case the vocalist is singing more to the present than the past, as the opioid crisis is more of a 21st century phenomenon.

So with such themes in mind, Brandon referring to this locality as a “quiet town” reads largely like an act of sarcasm. Or, maybe Nephi is literally quiet. But that does not exempt the community from suffering from its own fair share of tragedies, as illustrated.

Therefore as depicted in the bridge, in the present the vocalist, being someone who has successfully escaped the ‘hood, gives back to the community whenever he finds himself there. 

And when he does visit in addition to relishing those who are still around, as is apparently his parents, he also can’t help but to remember those who have passed away like Raymond Newton and Tiffany Taylor, i.e. the couple from the first verse. But that said, Flowers seemingly concludes the bridge by bigging up his parents for raising him well.

So on this particular song, Brandon doesn’t depict communities like Nephi as being dead-end, as with some other tracks on the album. This time around, in the outro for instance, it appears that the locality is actually to some degree being applauded for its redundant simplicity. 

But at the same time, all is not as meets the eye. And underneath the surface, it deals with some of the same types of problems as other parts, more known parts of America. Or taking the first verse in particular into consideration, it can be said that in the grand scheme of things death and tragedy are ultimately unavoidable.

The Killers, "Quiet Town" Lyrics
Flowers' explanation of "Quiet Town"

Facts about “Quiet Town”

This song was officially made public on the same day as Pressure Machine, 13 August 2021. On that same date, an animated music video to “Quiet Town” was also released. However, at the time it does not appear that the song itself came out as a single.

Pressure Machine, as put forth earlier, was inspired by Brandon Flowers’ early teenage years spent in Nephi, a very-small city found in Utah. 

And the way an entire Killers’ album came to be based on this concept is actually due to the band empathizing with Flowers’ childhood of “being stuck in the middle of nowhere” via the COVID-19 lockdowns, when they too “(felt) like we were in the middle of nowhere”.

The executive producers of Pressure Machine are Shawn Everett and Jonathan Rado. The latter also wrote many of its songs, including this one, alongside Brandon Flowers.

The label behind the issuance of Pressure Machine is Island Records. And they must be pleased that all seven of The Killers’ albums they have released thus far, including this one, have managed to top the UK Albums Chart. 

Indeed The Killers are a band who has definitely proven more enduringly-popular in the United Kingdom than in their homeland of the United States.

Quiet Town

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Quiet Town is a moving piece of storytelling coupled with compelling and deceptively cheery melody. It’s an addictive song.

  2. Ec says:

    Wonderful article. I enjoyed the song so much I had to find out about it. Was surprised it was by The Killers. It’s a song that calls us to accept sorrow and realize our simple life might be more meaningful than we imagine.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s a devastating song, and all too true in today’s opioid crisis. A beautiful sad song.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love The Killers and don’t understand why they aren’t bigger in the US. I love this song and play it over and over. I too came from a small town and remember never locking our doors at night.

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