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

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

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Album cover for All These Things That I've Done album cover

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. anonymous
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    Jun 20th 2011 !⃝

    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.

  2. anonymous
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    Apr 11th 2011 !⃝

    It's simply a war protest song.

  3. anonymous
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    Mar 9th 2011 !⃝

    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.)

  4. anonymous
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    Jan 7th 2011 !⃝

    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.

  5. tori101200
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    Sep 21st 2010 !⃝

    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".

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 2nd 2010 !⃝

    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.

  7. anonymous
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    Jun 1st 2010 !⃝

    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.

  8. anonymous
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    May 31st 2010 !⃝

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

  9. SarpNasty
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    Apr 13th 2010 !⃝

    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.

  10. Vickavic
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    Apr 4th 2010 !⃝

    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

  11. anonymous
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    Mar 11th 2010 !⃝

    A lot of people here are saying it’s about god. It’s not.
    It’s about Brandon and his youth and his relationship with his parents. And really about being the youngest kid in a big family, a struggling family, and getting over looked, ignored, and undirected.

    He was the youngest… Is there room for one more son?

    There are things he wants to do, he’s say you know, but you don’t know.

    Another headache, another heartbreak, he’s so much older… He’s looking for love in other places and gets heartbroken (think Mr. Brightside).

    The affection he gets comes and goes, it’s not consistent, either from lovers or his parents. But he wants to be perfect for them, but he needs direction/attention.

    Don’t put me on the back burner… don’t ignore more, make me a priority.
    You gotta help me out… I’m a kid, I need parental guidance to get through life and heartaches and make the right decisions.

    These changes ain’t changing me, the gold hearted boy I use to be… reference to years of being a teenager and doing teenage things, drugs and alcohol, but he’s still a kid with a caring and good heart who wants to please.

    I’ve go soul but I’m not a soldier… I’ve got soul, I believe in god, but I can’t follow along like the other kids I have to do what I think is good for me, I’m not a solder. Reference to the family’s move to Utah and conversion to the Mormon church, and his later leaving to live in Las Vegas with his family.


    A lot of Brandon’s songs are deep and personal and you have to try and understand his life and relationships to get it.

    But this is definitely a song a lot of people can relate too. Youngest kid, over looked, but he wants to be good, he has big dreams and he wants the love and affection and teachings from his parents to get there.

  12. ICS
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    Jan 23rd 2010 !⃝

    I actually first imagined that the song was about men's role in society and how much it has changed these last (50, for example) years.
    "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"
    That verse could refer to the fact that women have more control over men now then they used to. He is not very fond of that, so he wants to "stand up and let go"; he wants to take control and be superior of his woman, and by doing that he could "shine on in the hearts of men". She apparently doesn't understand his (and all men's need) of power. I think he's a little conservative, he likes the idea of a man supporting his family, and his wife in return respecting and obeying him.

    I saw another comment that made so much sense.
    He reaches a dead end which leads him to the question of what he wants out of life ("I'm so much older than I can take"; he's too old to fool around and it's time to start deciding and searching for the meaning of his life). He knows that he's done mistakes but he wants to become a good person; he just need some guidance. He wants to be religious, a son of God.

  13. anonymous
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    Jan 2nd 2010 !⃝

    Ok if you don't mind I think I can shine a little bit of light on the whole "I got soul but I'm not a soldier"
    to me the line is about the fact that yes he is a mormon, like myself but he chose not to go on a mission, most mormon boys go on a two year mission at the age of 19 but I am almost positive that Flowers didnt, so the way I see it he is saying I didn't go on a mission but I'm still a good kid

  14. lisa7055
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    Dec 7th 2009 !⃝

    For me, I think the song is sort of saying that in his early life he went through many hardships and changes but he never wanted to give in (When there's no where 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) (there is also a possibility that because of the things he did in his past his family "banished" him and now he's looking for redemption). He's tired of his old ways (I wanna stand up, I wanna let go) so he wants to change them and become a better man before he passes on (I wanna shine on in the hearts of man, I wanna mean it from the back of my broken hand)

    The lyrics: "These changes ain't changing me The gold-hearted boy I used to be" expresses he was a better person before he made these bad choices, and even though he's changed so much he's still the same person he used to be. He talks about how even though he's willing to change, he needs help to get there, and he also doesn't want people to forget him and who he used to be ( Yeah, you know you got to help me out, Yeah, oh don't you put me on the back burner)

    Just an opinion though :) I could be incredibly wrong, but this is how I view it from my perspective. All I know for sure is that I want this song played at my funeral.

  15. anonymous
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    Oct 23rd 2009 !⃝

    The song has to do with the psalm of - the - prodigal son.




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