What does Battle Born mean?

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The Killers: Battle Born Meaning


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Battle Born Lyrics

You lost faith in the human spirit
You walk around like a ghost
Your star-spangled heart
Took a train for the coast

When you shine you're a hilltop mansion
So how'd you lose the light?
Was it blown by the wind,
In the still of the...


    click a star to vote
    Dec 3rd, 2017 12:19pm report

    I don't have any evidence on this, so please don't take this too much to heart, but I think that there is a hidden message beyond just, 'Don't Give Up," in this song. After extensive reaserch into the lyrics myself, and using other thigs that Brandon Flowers has said, and other song meanings, I have put together a list of reasons as to why I think that Battle Born was written for his wife Tana.

    1) The album art.

    It's the last track on the album, and it is also the title track. It depicts a highway through the middle of the desert, where there is a horse going head to head with a car. This could be a metaphor, using the car as life and the horse as Tana, to show how she was broken down by it. A horse is a strong animal, but it is still badly affected if it is hit by a car. However, with the proper help, it can get back on it's feet and walk away from the situation. This is basically what he is saying with Tana.

    2) It's a year after Brandon's solo tour.

    He cancelled part of the tour for Flamingoes because Tana was having thoughts of suicide, and he wanted to be with her. This must have been deeply affecting for him at this time, and considering that he was looking after his wife and three kids at the time when most of the Battle Born album will have been written coming off of that. This will have had at least some inpact on Brandon's songwriting for this time.

    3) "I always saw you as a kind of keeper,
    A mother to a child,
    But your boys have grown soft,
    And your girls have gone wild."

    This may refer to the fact that when they met back in 2001, he immediatly saw her as a good potential mother for any kids he may have in the future. The last two lines may show how she has become so broken that that has slipped away from her, and she is strugglig to care for her family because of her mental health.

    4) "You lost faith in the human spirit,
    You walk around like a ghost,
    Your star-spangled heart,
    Took a train for the coast."

    There are a couple of lines in Rut, which incinuate that Tana's issues may have been related to her parents breaking up, and her mother's new boyfriends abusing her:

    "The kickbacks and the bachelors, the
    fever for the velvet rope,
    The money from my mother's men,
    I'm not like her, you're not like them."

    Read into it what you want, but it does seem like that might be the case. In that case, his would explain the first line, "You lost faith in the human spirit." After being abused, it may have been hard for her to trust anybody again. "You walk around like a ghost," refers to the flashbacks; they are a common part of her condition, and it can make people seem very isolated.

    The last two lines are saying that the old Tana that he used to know, the one from the first two lines of 3), has left, and isn't going to come back in any hurry.

    5) "When you shine you're a hilltop mansion,
    So how'd you lose the light?
    Was it blown by the wind,
    In the still of the night?"

    This is Brandon questioning how he lost the old Tana, and how she lost herself to the complex PTSD. It also says how quickly people with complex PTSD can go through phases, go from being fine to really low, like it was simply whisked away in the wind, that quickly.

    6) "Up against the wall,
    There's something dying on the street,
    When they knock you down,
    You're gonna get back on your feet.
    (No you can't stop now)"

    This is the main message of the song. It's saying thay she may be trapped in a corner, but she's got to relapse from it and come back again to fight. The echoed line at the end shows that, "You can't stop fighting this now after you have been for so long."

    7) "From the Blue Ridge to the Black Hills,
    To the redwood sky,
    The season may pass,
    But the dream doesn't die."

    This is saying that you should stay strong all uear round, all the time. Basically, don't ever give up and stop fighting everything that life throws at you.

    8) "Now don't you drop the ball."

    Once again, this is reittersting what the chorus also says.

    9) "When they break your heart,
    When they cause your soul to mourn,
    Remember what I said,
    Boy you was battle born."

    This is saying that whatever happens, you can fight it. Also, the use of the pronoun 'they' as an ambiguous term may be refering to the people who could have abused Tana when she was younger.

    10) "When the night falls on the land,
    Are you haunted by the sound?
    It's gonna take more than a hand,
    To turn this thing around.

    Won't you lean it on me?
    Rescue, set me free."

    This is more personal again. People with the same condition as Tana often get nightmares. The sounds he is talking about are the sounds of her nightmares, and her thought coming back to haunt her in her dreams. Also the sound of the car after the two lines may be a subtle reference to the album art, and the metaphor of the car and the horse. It is showing life is coming for her, and that the point where things get really for her bad is at night.

    The second pair of lines are refering to the fact that complex PTSD is very hard to cope with, and here is no cure as such, other than anti-depressants, which have some pretty aweful side effects, and many people don't want to take. They are still not a cure, but they are a loger term and more pracical form of help with mental health issues.

    The last pair of lines could be sung from Tana's point of view, as if this entire is a conversation between Brandon and Tana. It is her plea for help, asking for him to set her free from the nightmares.

    11) "Come on show your face,
    Come on give us one more spark,
    Sing a song of fire,
    Lest we fall into the dark.
    And you can't stop now (No, you can't
    stop now)."

    This is showing that Brandon still believes in Tana, and he just wants her to bring the old her back from wherever she left to. He wants her to bring back the light in the darkest of times, and he wants to help her. The last line is once again saying that she should never give up.

    12) "You never live,
    You never learn,
    You never shine,
    If you never burn,
    The rising tide,
    The undertone,
    The famine and,
    The overflow,
    You turn away,
    You won't come home."

    The first two lines are showing that you can't just stay and wait for something to happen, you have to go out and search for life, search for something to learn. Also, considering that Tana is a primary school teacher, this may also be another subtlty that will mainly go over people's heads.

    The next two lines are saying that you have to be strong in order to make a difference.

    The next four lines are saying that there are a lot of bad things going on, setting it up for the last two lines.

    The final two lines are saying that, while throught all the song, he has been lyrically fighting for her to keep going, in the end, it gets too much and she turns and leaves for good, the metaphor for suicide. With the events of the year before, it would be explainable for him to be worried about such a thing happening.

    13) The long run off

    The long ending, which spans over a minute, could be another sign of the metaphor, of the fact that the song isn't goin to give up a fight, so neither should she.

    Whether you agree with this reasoning or not, I think that there may be a much deeper message behind this song than it may seem.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 14th, 2013 11:43am report

    It basically means "Don't give up".

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