Love That’s Not Skin-Deep: “Bones” by The Killers

Album cover for Sam’s Town. Copyright © 2006 by The Island Def Jam Music Group.

I only know the Killers by reputation, but I’m sure I’ve heard plenty of their music over the years.  That said, the only song of theirs that’s made me sit up and really pay attention only happened (ironically) because of their music video.

That song is “Bones,” the eighth track off of the album Sam’s Town.  And why did its music video grab me so?  Because it was directed by Tim freaking Burton.  And I happened to catch said video during the final week of the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA.  Even so, the song itself is good and the video is great, so why not give you my take on both?

The Song: Romantic Ballad That Hits Right To The Bone

The song itself is a catchy throwback (for me, anyway) to Eighties-style ballads, with some great phrasing and vocals by lead singer Brandon Flowers.  We also get some good ol’ guitar-and-bass riffs during the opening verses, which eventually becomes a nice little guitar medley during the bridge toward the end.  It’s an energetic piece, as Flowers waxes about “feeling my bones” and getting real intimate with the one you love.

The Music Video: Got Burton’s Fingerprints All Over This Baby

Copyright © 2006 by The Island Def Jam Music Group.

So, if you give Tim Burton a lot of money and tell him to make a music video for a love song called “Bones,” what do you think he’d do if not make a video about two skeletons in love?

Still, it’s a great work of art, showing us what would otherwise be two lovers reenacting the famous beach scene in From Here To Eternity… but instead they’re animated skeletons who strip off their flesh like just another set of clothes.  But even then, these skeletons have life in them (so to speak) and they do convey the sense of romance that Brandon Flowers is singing about (when he and the band aren’t becoming skeletons themselves, anyway).

Naturally, Burton gives us a little of his macabre sense of humor, too.  Watch with care at 3:11 and 3:40.  Those scenes have me laughing every time.

Final Verdict: Macabre Imagery Plus Hip Tunes Equals One Great Sensation

This is a song that took me by surprise, for which I’m grateful.  I love the music by itself (even if the imagery from the video is embedded in my brain every time I hear it) and the music video has a quality that’s classic Tim Burton (which some of his more recent films, like Alice In Wonderland, have been missing).  It’s a song that gets me dancing, triggering a vibe deep within my… wait for it…


Bibliography: The Killers.  “Bones.”  Sam’s Town.  CD.  New York: The Island Def Jam Motown Music Group, 2006.

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