The Killers’ “Land of the Free” Lyrics Meaning
“Land of the Free” is a politically charged song recorded by the American rock band The Killers. The song’s lyrics touch on a variety of really important issues in the United States. These subjects range from racism to immigration to gun violence.
The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers starts off the song by mentioning his immigrant heritage. FYI, Flowers’ family is originally from Lithuania. In this verse, he talks about how his mother and her family came to America on a ship for a better life. He also mentions the backbreaking jobs they did in coal mines in order to realize the American dream.
A significant percentage of the lyrics of the second verse focuses on racial discrimination in America. He touches on racial profiling by police. In tackling this subject, he talks about how if you happen to have the wrong skin color in America, life could be very miserable for you. Thereafter, he turns his attention to America’s justice system. He bemoans how America has more people locked up in prisons “than the rest of the world”. He refers to incarceration in the land of the free as “big business”.
In the song’s bridge, he reveals how heartbroken America’s gun violence problem makes him. In his sadness, he asks Americans how many more sons and daughters are they willing to bury before the realize they really have a gun problem.
Having asked that question, he touches on the issue of migration for the first time. He mentions the border wall President Trump intends erecting at America’s border with Mexico. This saddens Flowers so much that he’s forced to weep.
He apparently doesn’t understand why America could be so cruel as to prevent others from getting the opportunity to live the American dream. America is the land of the free. So why is she doing what she’s doing? Flowers weeps as thoughts of this race through his mind.
The song’s chorus is what Flowers uses in wrapping up the entire song. Throughout the chorus, he repeatedly mentions the phrase “land of the free”. He can’t believe the unfairness, injustice and cruelty unfolding in the so called land of the free. This isn’t the values America was founded on. Owing to this, he is forced to shed sad tears.
What Flowers said about this song
According to Flowers, he began developing “Land of the Free” in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012. This mass shooting left 28 people dead, including the perpetrator. Flowers said he literally cried for all the innocent kids and teachers who lost their lives in that event.
The aforementioned incident in conjunction with other similar mass shootings, racial injustice, police brutality and America’s plans to wall the Mexico border inspired the song’s lyrics. In Flowers’ eyes, these things aren’t in line with the core values of America.
Flowers revealed this in a very long Twitter statement. Below is his full statement:
Facts about “Land of the Free”
- Brandon Flowers wrote “Land of the Free” without any assistance from his bandmates.
- Irish music producer Jacknife Lee worked with The Killers to produce this song. In addition to his collaboration with the Killers, Lee is noted for working with the likes of U2, Robbie Williams, One Direction and R.E.M.
- January 14, 2019 was the release date of “Land of the Free”.
- This became the band’s first new music for the year 2019. It was also their first new material since they dropped the album Wonderful Wonderful in 2017.
- Renowned American director, Spike Lee directed the song’s official music video. The clip contains actual footage of U.S. border patrol officers at the U.S./Mexico border indiscriminately tear-gassing migrant trying to seek asylum in the United States.
Is “Land of the Free” an anti-Trump song?
To a significant degree it is. We say this because it contains lyrics that strongly condemn President Trump’s border wall at the U.S./Mexico border. However, aside that it is also about racism, mass shootings and the unfair justice system in America.