“Runaway Horses” by The Killers (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

The title of this song (“Runaway Horses”) is a characteristic being applied onto the two vocalists, who are seemingly portraying the roles of former lovers. More specifically, they’re harping back to the romance they were involved in when they were younger. And this relationship was highlighted by youthful abandon on the part of both participants, thus the metaphorical title.

In fact the “small-town girl” who was part of this romance even walked away from her educational pursuits in the name of taking on full-fledged family life alongside her beau.

But alas, things did not work out as idealized. The fact that these two individuals ultimately decided to go their separate ways is not made abundantly clear in the lyrics. 

However, we know such is so based on Brandon Flowers’ own explanation of what’s going down. And per his description, what this song is actually about is “coming home”. So apparently after things go astray in this relationship, the two “runaway horses” are trying to find their “long way back home again”, as put forth in the second chorus.  And all lyrics considered, we will presume that is more of a symbolic than literal statement.

Song’s Title (“Runaway Horses”)

Meanwhile the intro of this song, as with the other tracks on Pressure Machine, features a sample of someone besides the main vocalist(s) speaking. 

And in this case, what she’s talking about was a sad incident at an event known as the Ute Stampede in which a beloved rodeo horse was put to sleep after injuring itself in the mud. And the way that tale ties into the overall narrative is apparently by illustrating that being a wild horse, if you will, can have devastating effects.

"Runaway Horses" Lyrics
What Brandon Flowers said of "Runaway Horses"

Phoebe Bridgers

This is The Killers first collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers. As of the writing of this post, the latter is a 27 year old singer from L.A. who has been professionally active since the mid-2010s.

The Killers and “Runaway Horses”

Meanwhile The Killers are a band from Las Vegas, active since the turn of the century, that officially consists of four members :

  • Brandon Flowers
  • Ronnie Vannucci Jr.
  • Dave Keuning
  • Mark Stoermer 

However, Stoermer did not participate on Pressure Machine, i.e. the album this song is derived from, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And to note, The Killers currently range in age from 45 (Ronnie Vannucci Jr. being the oldest) to 39 (Brandon Flowers).

And while we’re on the subject of COVID-19, Ronnie Vannucci recounted that Phoebe Bridgers laid down her vocals “really quick” while “everybody was wearing masks” in the studio as a result of the virus running wild at the time in Los Angeles, where her vocals were recorded.

This track was produced by Jonathon Rado alongside Shawn Everett. The latter is perhaps best known as part of a musical duo known as Foxygen.

And the song was written exclusively by Brandon Flowers.

The Killers performed this track on Jimmy Kimmel Live a day after its release, which was on 13 August 2021. And the song was put out by Island Records.

“Runaway Horses” is the only song on Pressure Machine that features another artist.

Runaway Horses

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Crazy about The Bends. I think it refers to the album The Bends by Radiohead

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