I remember first hearing Keep On Your Mean Side 13 years ago- I instantly knew I had found a home in this loud, manic and powerful sound. I knew that I had found a band that for as long as they made music, they would be always with me. They would be the soundtrack to good and bad moments. Moments that I’ll never forget and moments I partially wish I could. By no means am I tough, but when I listen to The Kills I always feel braver than I am. And just like Nick Cave, they talk about love and all that comes with it in a way that I can fully identify with. I cannot get my head around songs that are full of wanting to be with someone all the time, the sunshine and rainbows- I want the darker side- the mean side. It’s more honest. I’m surprised I’ve never delved into the lyrics of The Kills. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, there are times where it could have been the right moment but I missed out because I got in the way of my own doing so. So here I am. Saturday 23rd April at 4:10pm with nothing better to do than sit and listen to the sounds of my all-time favourite duo. The band that keep me sane. I’m going to try narrow this down to 10 lines that mean the most to me, but please be assured that there are more than 10. I’m doing this blind but the last two I mention are solid. They’ve always been there.
“If I’m so evil, why are you satisfied?” (Rodeo Town) – This is one of the lines where it’s not what is sung, but how it is sung. I love how tired Alison’s voice sounds. As if someone is at the end of arguing with someone that possibly can’t pull away from. It’s one of my favourite songs by The Kills, and definitely my favourite off No Wow. We all think we’re beyond bad at times, and it leads us to question those around us. I’ve always felt fine with questioning everything and everyone- I mean for the most part it is done in the comfort in my mind, but you know. Rodeo Town always reminds me of a road trip gone a bit askew- but hey, where’s the pleasure in things not being slightly chaotic?
“Send your love in a rampage, give her everything you’ve got. And when you come to hate her, show her more than just a spark.” (Heart Is A Beating Drum) Maybe I should have just quoted the whole song here, every line is just perfect and one of the strongest moments on Blood Pressures. I’ve got so much sentimental value attached to this record, and I know I’ve got to let it go when the new one comes out. I’ll be fine just doing so. I adore the lyrics to this because it just sums up the fury of love, lust and god knows what else we subject ourselves to. I toyed with using, “And you feel like you’ve been here so many times before. It’s not the door you’re using but the way you’re walking through it” for me that’s a golden life motto to keep with you, it’s like being told to just get on. Easier said than done for most, but this song was a crutch for a long time and it was that line that played a massive part. However, the line I did choose to use is the one that is full of something quite wonderfully sinister. Show the person why you can no longer stand them, it’s totally fine. Sometimes you just have to be quite furious with the emotions you send on to another person. Don’t hold back.
“Lipstick letters and souvenirs, make a mockery of your fears.” (Hook And Line) One of my favourites off Midnight Boom is Hook And Line. I love how the verses are quite gentle then the hook of, “With your hook and line, I still blow away” comes right on in like a madman and smacks you right in the face. I’ve been thinking about this song a lot recently, and I had it on repeat at the gym the other evening when I was struggling to stay motivated. The line I’ve chosen again, is one I love how it sung and the idea of ripping apart what fills us with fear is always appealing. I always wish they made a video to this song, I reckon it would have been something else. There’s a lot of wild imagery in the song that could have been brought to life in such a captivating way. I love that before this song on the record, you’ve got Last Day Of Magic. That song alone I could write about but the things I’d write are too personal. “My little tornado, my little hurricano.” I could, but I won’t.
“Superstition is, your modern eye. With original skin, and original lie.” (Superstition) I’ve watched many live performances of this song online, and it’s one that makes you firmly believe that Jamie and Alison are truly out of this world with the music they make. I love the burning rage in the guitar that goes along with Alison’s scream/groan towards the end of the song. It’s a perfect noise and when you’ve seen it live (online or physically) it stays with you. They both seem possessed and you feel like you’re intruding on something you shouldn’t be. That’s what I love about them. They’ve got this bond that you can only dream of having. If you ever experience it, don’t fuck it up. I remember hearing this song for the first time and just being in awe of the noise I was hearing. I think that’s part of the attraction with Keep On Your Mean Side. It’s a proper noisy record and it just stays with you, you always go back to it.
“What a mess a little time makes to us when time and place collide.” (Satellite) I was going to go with “I loved her too long, don’t love her too” but right now, I’m siding with the first line mentioned. I love this song to pieces. I love the slight reggae feel to the guitar, I love the video and how it makes you want to hit the road, I love the lyrics. I adore the lyrics to this song so much and it’s pretty hard to describe why, but they speak for themselves don’t they? They’re great lyrics that I think anyone can relate to if they dig a little deeper than usual. When time and place do collide, it does have the potential to leave something disastrous in the mind, and that’s what I love about that line. It exposes how chaotic things can be- in mind and body. I’d happily go off on a tangent about this song, but I probably wouldn’t be able to reel myself back in. It just does something to you when you hear it. I love that they both sing it, and Jamie makes the guitar sound like a lightning bolt going right through you.
“These are the days we’ll never forget, when the dawn dawns on you.” (Pots And Pans) I was going to go with something from The Last Goodbye but I realised it was too much to take on in one little paragraph. If you don’t know why, just read the lyrics. They are heart breaking, and they automatically make you feel like you’ve had your heart torn out. It’s a brutally honest song, and I really couldn’t do it justice by writing about it. Pots And Pans closes Blood Pressures and it’s the most perfect ending. It feels like a hymn, some kind of ethereal experience that is saved for last. It all comes together as Alison sings the line I picked out. It repeats over and over, like a holy mantra to get you through. It’s to keep you going until the next record, until next time. At first I wasn’t sure about how I felt towards this song. At times I felt it was too slow or something stupid, but I ended up playing it on repeat when I got to the end of the record. Maybe it was my brain saying, “it’s not over, it can’t be-play it again.” I go back to this song a lot, for whatever reason. It makes you feel alright with not having much to offer someone or something, and I think that’s something most can relate to.
“Elevator straight into my skull. The escalator rises as it falls. I swear our jet is crashing in my mind, you can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time.” (Black Balloon) The whole song. The whole damn song. From start to finish is just beautiful, sad and honest. I love the line, “Let the weather have its way with you” but I had to go with the opening verse because it’s one of the saddest and most truthful lyrics I’ve ever heard. For me it’s on a par with the genius of I Know It’s Over by The Smiths. It’s got that brutal honesty that gets you right in the gut, and I can’t think of a time where Black Balloon has not been relevant. The sadness in “You can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time” is so overpowering, you don’t know what to do with yourself when you hear it. The whole song is just a beautiful description of knowing something is done but whoever else is involved is probably oblivious to it. Sometimes you’re oblivious to it, and this song lets you know what’s up.
“No longing for the moonlight, no longing for the sun. No longer will I curse the bad I’ve done.” (Future Starts Slow) I think it’s pretty obvious how much I am in love with Blood Pressures, but Future Starts Slow was as if someone was coming full speed at you with this thumping drum sound and machine gun guitar- it charges at you, and when the vocals kick in that’s it. It calms down in places then picks right back up. It’s such a great way to start the record off, and the line I’ve picked is possibly my favourite lyric by The Kills. Ever. Have I already said that? If I have, then I’ve changed my mind. If I haven’t, then all is okay. It’s the no longer cursing all the bad- for me that’s just a brilliant way of accepting everything and carrying on. This song makes you feel tough and as if you can do anything. But let’s be honest, you can do anything because when you stick on your favourite song- anything is possible. I told a little lie when I said I had 2 solid favourites- I’ve got 3, and this is one of them.
“Baby says for all I’ve forsaken make something of all the noise, and the mess you’re making. And all the time’s it’s taken.” (Baby Says) Last one off Blood Pressures. For me, this song carries a wealth of imagery that is free for the listener to conjure up. Baby can be a person you’ve met. Baby can be an image or thought in your mind, but Baby makes you feel alright with what you’ve done so long as you make something out of it. It’s one of the most powerful songs on the record, and one of the songs I wish I had written. Any time I write something, this is one of the songs I have in mind. It’s got this innocence to it that isn’t found so often. Baby Says is a strong sense of reassurance, and I’m forever grateful to The Kills that this song exists. It means a hell of a lot, and if I ever met them I’d probably try rustle this out of myself to let them know.
“Jailers in my mind are all dead. I love you so much, never forget.” (Goodnight Bad Morning) Around 2010/2011 I was having issues with sleeping and being a functioning adult. I’d go to bed at 3 and be awake at 7. I was able to disguise being stuck in a rut quite well, but that’s all in the past now along with other things. It has that Lou Reed greatness to it. This song would be what I would play when I was trying to fall asleep. It’s gentle and it’s pure. It’s apt and aimed- but that’s not up for discussion. It’s such a beautiful song that once you hear it, it stays with you. Again, it’s a perfect song to close a record with. It makes you feel at the end, that you’ve drifted off somewhere. Maybe to sleep, maybe to a place in your mind where nothing else gets to you. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, and I do compare a lot of things to how this song makes me feel and think. It’s got a lot of nostalgic and sentimental value. I did have a slight blip where I couldn’t listen to the song- but I realised I was being a daft swine, and got a grip. When I listen to it now, for the most part all I see in my head is the way Jamie and Alison look at each other when they perform this. The song is like the sun coming up when all has been weird before- like you can start over. And sometimes, that’s all you can do. It’s all you should do.
It’s now 5:30pm, and all I can now think about are the songs I typically did not mention. Good job the new record is out soon.
The Kills’ lyrics are so underrated and beautiful, you totally picked out most of my favourite lines here
Thank you 🙂 x