How and Why Has "Mr Brightside" Never Left the UK Charts?
An Important Roundtable Discussion.
Nobody outside Las Vegas gave a shit about The Killers in 2003 when they first released "Mr Brightside". However, when the single was re-released in 2004 there was a global change of heart and ev-e-ry-body suddenly gave an enormous shit about The Killers. As a result, four lads in business casual attire rapidly became one of the biggest bands of the 21st century off the back of an indie club night closer about infidelity, paranoia, and jealousy—or a secret same-sex relationship resulting in passionate murder, depending on your sources.
For reasons unknown, "Mr Brightside" is currently in the UK charts. Coming out of its cage and in at number 93 (ha ha), doing just fine (somebody stop me) between a song by The Vamps and that collaboration ZAYN and Taylor Swift did for 50 Shades Darker, Brandon Flowers is once again, as the saying goes, "at it." But why this song? And why now? Usher's "Yeah!" came out in 2004, where's that? Why not "Hey Mama" by Black Eyed Peas? Or "Drop It Like It's Hot"? What forces have catapulted NME's fifth best track of 2004 back into relevance above all other totems of the past, causing it to once again to reside among the most lucrative hundred songs of the moment in 2017?
Looking at the UK chart history, you may be surprised to learn that there is actually not a single year since its release in which "Mr Brightside" has not been in the Top 100. It has charted 166 times and counting. It spent a run of 35 CONSECUTIVE WEEKS (THIRTY-FIVE!!!) there between July 2016 and March 2017. This January, it reached number 49; its highest position in three years. "MR BRIGHTSIDE" WAS LITERALLY A TOP 50 SINGLE in 2017. IT IS STILL IN THE CHARTS AT THIS VERY MOMENT. LET THAT SINK IN FOR A SECOND.
We have thought long and hard about this and come up with a few theories about what might be prompting this return to glory, which we are going to share with you below, because we care.
END-OF-TERM RAGERS FT. POST-IRONIC SPOTIFY DJING
It's May which means it's probably near the end of the uni year. This, in turn, means it's very much time for student houses and accommodation blocks across the land to become sites of revelry unlike any seen during the rest of term. The empty Pro Plus boxes that littered the floor during revision season have been replaced by crushed Strongbow Dark Fruit tinnies drained of their disgusting nectar, the previously hushed halls now filled with 19-year-olds snogging each other and shouting "LAGER LAGER LAGER" literally 24 hours a day. And, at night, there are parties, which always start with a huge game of Ring of Fire, and are always 'DJed' by a lad called Paddy who won't give anyone else the aux and fucking loves "Mr Brightside."
If you're in university now, you are probably just a little too young to remember "Mr Brightside" on its first go-around. You're potentially only familiar with the song because it's one of the three tracks that gets played during the rock bit on a Friday night at the club in your hometown (the other ones are "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "All the Small Things"), so its 2000s indie kid nostalgia cred is lost on you. But that's okay, because to you, "Mr Brightside" means something different—maybe even something better.
For you, "Mr Brightside" has always been that sort-of-cheesy-but-ultimately-unbridled-joy-inducing song that comes on near the end of the night when you start hugging people you sometimes see in lectures and shouting in their faces about how you "should totally get coffeeeee? But can we actually though like this isn't even a drunk thing" even though it absolutely is a drunk thing. As you're saying that, you hear that Paddy's dropped the opening guitar picking of "Mr Brightside" and both you and the person you've slung yourself around throw your arms in the air in recognition, warm beer leaping out of the American-style red cups you're holding and onto the back of some poor twat in front of you. Immediately, you're compelled to the nucleus of the party, just like everyone else, to dance to this amazing song that, to you, has never really been cool or uncool, it's just made you feel good. You associate it only with having fun, which is exactly why every student in the UK wants to hear it at their end-of-year rager, just after "Tubthumping," and a bit before "Wonderwall." And that's why "Mr Brightside" is back in the charts. LAUREN O'NEILL
THE TIMELESS COMFORT OF NOSTALGIA
"Mr Brightside" is a song that's been blessed with the same quality as genres like UK garage and disco. Buried within its sound is the feeling of people loved and lost yet also the thirst to do the same thing all over again with someone new. It's a tune with two poles: of wettening faces on a dance floor, punctuated silences in a heated car speeding down the motorway during voided hours. Chests filled with the weight of days upon days of pouring rain, flashed smiles and yearning for something more, sick, fucking alibis—all of these things taking control as the song slides back into the Top 100. It's hard to say why this has happened really. Do we need to know? The only answer I have is that Yves Saint Laurent quote about "fashion fades but style is eternal." Which is to say feeling all of the above feelings will never go out of fashion and so this song is timeless and forever. RYAN BASSIL
A TECHNICAL ERROR
Forgive me for sounding like an A-Level philosophy student called Tristan who's just discovered salvia for the first time, but doesn't it, like, sometimes freak you out that we rely so heavily on technology? That in the event of, say, a planet-wide power cut caused by the impending nuclear war, we'd be so screwed that life would descend into some kind of apocalyptic madness whereby, at some point, we'd probably have to decide which of our friends or family members we should kill then eat first. What does this have to do with "Mr Brightside" by the Killers? The point I'm trying to make here—on this website—is that technology is disarmingly fragile. We can't always rely on it for everything. Maybe "Mr Brightside" by the Killers is back in the UK charts because, I dunno, the computer fucked up and counted the numbers wrong. Maybe someone put the wrong plug into the wrong socket. Maybe there was a glitch. A virus? I don't know how these things work, but shit happens, and I'm calling this as an error. DAISY JONES
PEOPLE ARE JUST GENUINELY SO EXCITED ABOUT THE KILLERS PLAYING HYDE PARK THIS SUMMER THAT THEY'VE OPENED SPOTIFY, QUEUED UP "MR BRIGHTSIDE" AND SMASHED "REPEAT ONE" FOR HOURS SO IT'S PLAYING OUT THEIR LAPTOP SPEAKERS WHILE THEY FALL ASLEEP AND AGAIN WHEN THEY WAKE UP
Look, the sorts of people willing to pay like $80 excluding booking fee to see the Killers live in 2017 are probably the same sorts of people who would … buy a second copy of the album? Or just start a daily ritual of blasting "Mr Brightside" eight times before work, then again later that night at home, to "pump themselves up for the highlight of the summer!!" Lowkey Daisy must be right, and this is some sort of glitch though. TSHEPO MOKOENA
"Mr Brightside" is the most non-partisan tune going. It's like a Harry Styles quote in a broadsheet newspaper gained sentience and rearranged itself into a melody, so impossible is it to be offended by. At the same time, though, how fucking Jeremy Corbyn Has Just Been Elected Prime Minister of the UK is this? Let me explain.
In July 2016, Theresa May became Prime Minister.
Also, in July 2016, "Mr Brightside" began its 35-week run in the UK charts having previously enjoyed a just few weeks here and there from years 2009 onwards.
Coincidence? Or is Theresa May doing such a fucking bad job of being the Prime Minister that every time she appears on telly sneering in a factory in a town she can't remember the name of because it doesn't have a Waitrose, the electorate feels compelled to listen to "Mr Brightside" and think of Jeremy Corbyn. Lovely Jeremy Corbyn and his sensible manifesto that is actively trying not to kill poor people. What happened on January 12, the day "Mr Brightside" shot to number 49? Theresa May announced the impending arrival of her Brexit speech. April 13 when it re-entered the charts after a short break? Boris Johnson failed to win backing for further sanctions against Russia and Theresa May said he did an "excellent job". What happened during the week it inched from 95 to 93 this month? Theresa May went on Facebook live and blithered about "prioritising resources" behind a splurge of 10,000 angry face emojis.
COINCIDENCE? Or is it that every time Theresa May open her mouth everyone feels so miserable the only way forward is to drown her out with the incessant euphoria of "Mr Brightside". By proxy, it has become the default anthem for Jeremy Corbyn. It makes perfect sense. If May finally agrees to clash him in a leader's debate, it will enter the Top 10. If he wins, it will go to number 1 and stay there until Christmas with the help of a remix featuring JME. I'm certain of it. Because—in the hopeful eyes of the British public, at least—Jeremy Corbyn is "Mr Brightside." EMMA GARLAND
Don't know about you but if Labour win the election I am getting on the cans at 10AM latest, putting "Mr Brightside" on the office overheads and standing on my desk all day doing football chants about Tories, and I'm definitely not the only one. LAUREN O'NEILL
THE TEENS ARE DISCOVERING THE O.C., WHICH THEY FOUND OUT ABOUT THANKS TO A LOT OF INTERNET CONTENT COUCHED IN THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS FINAL SEASON, AND ARE OUTWARDLY RESPONDING TO THE EMOTIONAL DRAMA ON DISPLAY DURING THAT SCENE WHERE THE KILLERS ARE ON THE O.C. PLAYING THE HITS TO LIKE 40 DISINTERESTED PEOPLE
It is though, isn't it.