What does All These Things That I've Done mean?

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The Killers: All These Things That I've Done Meaning

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Song Released: 2004


All These Things That I've Done Lyrics

When there's nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
One more son
If you can hold on
If you can hold on, hold on
I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
I wanna shine on in the hearts of...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Jan 28th, 2007 1:45pm report


    The interpretation of this song is simple: he is asking for help from God.

    Line by line interpretation:
    "When there's nowhere else to run, is there room for one more son." - asking if God can take him under his wing, the other son mention being Jesus.
    "You know, you know - no, you don't, you don't." - saying that God understands because he understands all, but in the same way doesn't understand because he has never experienced sin.
    "And my affection, well it comes and goes." - his love for God comes and goes as he travels through life.
    "I need direction to perfection." - obvious, since God is the only one without sin.
    "Yeah, oh don't you put me on the back burner." - perhaps the line that proves this theory the most. The first meaning of putting someone on the back burner is to set it aside fo r later. It can also be interpreted to mean hell. He needs God's help to absolve him of sin.
    Of course, there are several ways to interpret perhaps the most famous line in the song:
    "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier."
    He is basically saying that he believes in God, and that he has faith, but he is not willing to fight, since he is unsure of how to do so.

    While I may not have explained it very well, take the general idea that he is speaking to God and run with it. The song will make more sense when you listen with that in mind.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Apr 16th, 2007 4:01am report


    Seriously guys, "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier", means: "even tough I'm not a religious person and I certainly don't follow any religios principles (I'm not a soldier of god, that is), I still have a soul, so please accept me as one of your children ("when there's nowhere else to run, is the room for one more son?"), instead of puting me in the backburner". The kinda gospel theme of the chorus points just to that.

    This song's is somewhat of a confession (any catholics around?) from a guy who knows for certain that his way of living is far from what is expected in religious standards, but nevertheless really wants to be a good person. It's like he's saying to god: "hey I know you and I surely disagree on how I'm I supposed to live my life, and I know I've made very bad mistakes, but Í still wanna be a good son, I still wanna make you proud and shine on in "the hearts of man", like your other son has had. We may not share a lot of things, but I still need you sometimes."



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Jan 16th, 2007 1:11am report


    i think it's about wanting to BE someone. desperately. and the plea for help is more abstract...he needs "direction to perfection" and to himself, but doesn't know where to find it. He's addressing the world, I think, when he says "don't you put me on the backburner". He doesn't want to be shrouded in obscurity/mediocrity.

    as for the "soldier" bit, I think it's about not wanting to conform. He's got soul, and wants to share it with the world, but cannot do all that is expected of him by society. I loved that bit best, even though I may be looking at it in an entirely WRONG light. :)



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 28th, 2012 8:21pm report


    The song is about the lead singer brandon flowers not serving an lds mission! For a short time he was less active but now he is strong in the faith but hes saying even though he didnt serve he will spread the gospel. There are some mormon terms in the song



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 10th, 2012 4:12pm report


    I actually live really close to where Brandon Flowers used to live (Provo, UT) and I've met at least two of his (somewhat distant) relatives. I've been told that the song is about a struggle between him and God, and how he wants to make the right choices in the Mormon church, but doesn't want to be an outcast in the rest of the world's eyes. The lines "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" sort of fits a Mormon mission, and how some people feel about it. They want to make the right choices, and they feel like they are sometimes, but they're just not ready to give two years. Mormons know how it is haha.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 8th, 2012 4:03am report


    My interpretation, which comes after reading the lyrics and watching the video, is that the song is about asking his current girlfriend not to be turned off by his good-timing, rock star past, and possibly to forgive some infidelity.
    Basically he's saying: "I'm not the perfect boyfriend, but if you work with me I can change" (if you can hold on/you gotta help me out/don't put me on the backburner/I need direction to perfection) As far as infidelity: another head aches (he has a hangover) another heart aches (she's saddened by his drunken adventure). This is backed up in the video when he comes home with lipstick on his face, she slaps him, then we see him looking guilty in the shower. Later we see all the cowboys taking turns riding someone else's horse and being pursued by attractive, scantily clad women. The women throw boomerangs at them (despite his best efforts his past bad behavior has come back to him). In the end of the video, he ends up with his face in a pool, just like how he started. His bad behavior did come back and bite him and now he's just like he was before.
    I see a lot of people interpreted it in a religious sense. I'd never thought about it like that, maybe the "is there room for one more son?" line is what directed people this way. In the context of my interpretation, I took it as possibly meaning he's revealing that he had children by other women to his current gf, and his past was so promiscuous, these sons pop up without warning to him.



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 12th, 2011 10:58pm report


    Definitely a plea to God for help, but the real meaning comes clear when you take into account the authors latter day saint background. In the LDS faith, young men at the age of 19 serve a full time two year mission, where they often go to other countries and preach the gospel. The lead singer made the choice not to serve, because the band was starting to take off. The song includes a lot of his feelings about the decision, and not wanting to be placed on "the back burn" for not being able to serve. "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier." He has the conviction and the desire, even though he never actually made it to the mission field, where missionaries often say they are in "God's Army."



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 26th, 2011 6:20pm report


    If you guys actually watched the video you have to watch it in order. Theres 7 scenes. Its a story of him continuing to cheat on his girlfriend with other girls, so he seeks help from god but he questions his faith.

    The video is all over the place but thats because you have to watch it from number 1 to number 7. In that order and it will make sense

    0:00 = 0

    1:11 = 1

    3:51 = 2

    1:43 = 3

    0:31 = 4

    2:24 = 6

    3:18 = 5

    4:22 = 7

    watch them in that order, its the numbers the girls hold up.




  9.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 20th, 2011 6:40pm report


    Ok, this is definitely about being a soldier and how it is so hard to be one. Brandon Flowers sings and entitles the song, "All These Things That I've Done," because he is referring to the horrid things that military operatives have to sometimes do in war. He even says, "The battle is won with all these things that I've done." He feels guilty as a citizen now realizing the inhumane things he had done overseas. When Flowers sings, "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier," he is stating that now as a citizen he has a humane heart, and no longer a cold one as he used to. "Another head aches," refers to the combat fatigue of military operatives in a war zone. "Another heart breaks," refers to the innumerable amount military personnel whose girlfriends, or spouses wrote them a "Dear John." When Brandon sings, "If you can hold on, hold on," over and over, he is telling his brothers in arms that they must overcome the toughest parts of war. Flowers sings, "I need direction to perfection," and he is referring to how he always wants to become better at his job. Finally, Brandon sings, "You know, you know, no, you don't, you don't," and he is talking about most combat veteran's inability to readjust with a normal society. He either has an adjustment disorder or PTSD. IT is a sad story, but true.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 11th, 2011 4:31pm report


    It's simply a war protest song.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 9th, 2011 3:42pm report


    When there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son
    One more son
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on, hold on
    I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
    You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
    (My interpretation will be in parenthesis:
    He's asking God if there is room for another son, namely himself. If you can hold on means if you can hold on to your faith. No you don't know is telling people that no they would not understand.)
    I wanna shine on in the hearts of men
    I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand
    (He wants to shine on in the hearts of men means he wants to be a living Christian testimony. He wanting a meaning from the back of his broken hand might mean that he wants meaning from his broken life.)
    Another head aches, another heart breaks
    I am so much older than I can take
    And my affection, well it comes and goes
    I need direction to perfection, no no no no
    (He is living a mundane life, headache after headache, heartbreak after heartbreak, he's getting old and wants the life that Christ offers to finally work in his life.)
    Help me out
    Yeah, you know you got to help me out
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
    You know you got to help me out
    (God help me, don't be silent, reveal yourself to me! I am under so much pressure!)
    And when there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more song
    These changes ain't changing me
    The gold-hearted boy I used to be
    (As a Christian he still finds fault with himself.)
    Yeah, you know you got to help me out
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
    You know you got to help me out
    You're gonna bring yourself down
    Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down
    Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down

    I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
    I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
    ...
    (The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!)
    Yeah, you know you got to help me out
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
    You know you got to help me out
    You're gonna bring yourself down
    You're gonna bring yourself down
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
    Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down
    (Come down from heaven God and help me. Lower yourself Lord to my level and help me out!)

    Over and in, last call for sin
    While everyone's lost, the battle is won
    With all these things that I've done
    All these things that I've done
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on
    (These last few verses mean he's making the plunge of faith and he's going to repent of sin, although everyone else is lost and are not repenting, he himself will repent and his battle is won. If hecan hold on to his faith. The man in this song is struggling for control of his life and the Holy Spirit within him is battling against his flesh, that part of us that wants its own way but we find therre is no peace in our own way and that we need Jesus and this man finally gives in and trusts God.)



  12.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 7th, 2011 1:47pm report


    I agree with the Top 3 interpretations. But I believe it is a mix between all three ideas.

    As a person striving to meet and surpass not just his peers and parents expectations, but all of society's expectations, the cards are heavily stacked against someone with such impossible goals.

    He needs "direction to perfection" because he puts so much time, effort, and heart into what he cares about, but he is still too young to know what the rest of his life will be, or if he will ever achieve his goals of "perfection" by carrying on doing whatever it is he is doing.

    He does recognize he has sinned and that it is impossible for anyone to be perfect, but if God is perfect, why cant he be too?

    In his eyes perfection is an attainable goal, but the path to perfection is such a difficult journey that he knows he will not be able to do it alone. He needs help from his loved ones as well as God.

    He has soul, but he is not a soldier because he has aspirations to be perfect/pure, but he does not know how to be those things.



  13.  

    tori101200
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    Sep 21st, 2010 9:25pm report


    I believe that this song is about someone wanting to be optimistic in his life and everything that he does, but "all these things that [he/she] has done" is holding him/her back. He/she wants and needs help and support from others to "shine on" and he/she is asking them not to put "[him/her] on the backburner" and "help [him/her] out". In the verse "when there's no where else to run is there room for one more sun?" is about this person being so down and hopeless that they feel as if there is no room for optimism in their life. This person is attempting to put their past behind them and break out of the shell that has cover them for all of their life. They want something more, something that is extremely difficult to attain because of "all these things that [they] have done".



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 2nd, 2010 9:31pm report


    Sounds to me like he's a doormat and hoping for a karmic pay off in the end. I'm impressed with the thought and writing put into interpreting this song. One of my fave Killers' songs.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 1st, 2010 6:10am report


    This song is about the battle of the sexes and how powerful and ruthless women have become. Watch the video, its all about the women enticing them, only to kill them. Hence the killers.



  16.  

    anonymous
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    May 31st, 2010 5:57pm report


    I am pretty sure this song is about PTSD. Just my interpretation. I don't think it is about God at all.



  17.  

    SarpNasty
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    Apr 13th, 2010 4:11am report


    I want to start this by saying that I'm 19 and I'm going through a struggle in terms of growing up. That being said, this song, to me, is about somebody growing up and having to gain all the responsibilities of adulthood.

    I believe this song is a man on his death bed finally understanding what life truly is. The beginning of the song before the drums come in go like this:

    When there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son
    One more son
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on, hold on

    He's reached the end of his life and is ready to go back home. His parting words to the world are saying to do your best to "hold on"

    As the music starts, it transitions to him as a young man leaving the nest and getting ready to conquer the world. He had many dreams and aspiration:

    I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
    You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
    I wanna shine on in the hearts of men
    I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand
    Another head aches, another heart breaks
    I am so much older than I can take
    And my affection, well it comes and goes
    I need direction to perfection, no no no no

    The speaker is growing up and wants to become great. It's hard though because the people around him think they understand what he's going through, but he feels that they don't. He's struggling to find his place on earth. He's experiencing a lot of pain and heart break, and he is confused as to the emotions that is supposed to be feeling and what they mean. He needs someone to help him understand how to find his place.

    Next is the chorus:

    Help me out
    Yeah, you know you got to help me out
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the blackburner
    You know you got to help me out

    "you gotta help me out" and "don't you put me on the back burner" and the give the impression that he's afraid that he's going to fail and needs someone to help him now as opposed to later on.

    now when he says "When there's no where else to run, is there room for one more sun" this seems like a plea to his parents that if he can't make it on his own, will there still be a place for him with them.

    next comes the line "These changes ain't changin' me, the cold-hearted boy I used to be" He is confused or upset because he is now realizing that age doesn't make one automatically mature. now his chorus is referring to the fact that he is lost and confused in life and is pleading for someone to give him meaning.

    "you're gonna bring yourself down" sounds like he is afraid that the life he's leading is not the righteous path. The mistakes he's made are going to condemn him.

    the line "I got soul but I'm not a soldier" seems to mean that he has the will to fight and lead the good life, but he isn't a trained soldier and he doesn't know how to go about it yet.

    the song ends with a verse that says:

    Over and in, last call for sin
    While everyone's lost, the battle is won
    With all these things that I've done
    All these things that I've done
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on

    This is at the end of his life. The last call for sin I think refers to the Christian belief that the human flesh is manifested sin. As he's dying, he realizes that leading a life with the mind set of winning at the end is wrong, and the "battle", in this case being life, is won through the experiences that one has, and and the experiences are what makes us who we truly are. The last lines "if you can hold on" are putting us back to the man's final words as he finally leaves this life.

    Like I said, this is my meaning of the song. I believe that the songs that are truly great are the one's that touch people's hearts and have a meaning that the listener can keep with them. That being said, this is a great, great song in my opinion.



  18.  

    Vickavic
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    Apr 4th, 2010 4:34pm report


    Possibly a conversation with God, and God is responding and answering his questions. Like this..
    When there's no where else to run, is there room for one more son?
    God says, "one more son?" as in "are you serious" since we are all his children
    If you can hold on can come from both.
    He wants to be free, then like saying I don't need to explain because "you know, you know"
    God says, "YOU don't YOU don't. I wanna shine on in the hearts of men......" like saying check it out I suffer too
    I need direction to perfection,God says no no no no' cause he's getting ahead of himself.
    The Help Me Out part I think they sing to eachother

    And when there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son?
    God says "These changes ain't changing me" refering to the questioners feelings of "The cold-hearted boy I used to be"
    God tells him "he's gonna bring himself down" he judges himself, needs to forgive himself
    In reference to the end of the world-
    Over and in, last call for sin
    While everyone's lost, the battle is won
    With all these things that I've done
    All these things that I've done--God has a plan
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on
    So just hold on



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