What does Human mean?

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The Killers: Human Meaning


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Song Released: 2008

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Human Lyrics

I did my best to notice
When the call came down the line
Up to the platform of surrender
I was brought but I was kind

And sometimes I get nervous
When I see an open door
Close your eyes, clear your heart
And cut the cord

Are we...


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    Nov 8th, 2010 11:15am report

    This song is about dance parties with alcohol and how we could realize maybe we don't know exactly what human is.

    That is my sentiment, and I feel this is a call for people to think about everything being human entails. So we can be better humans, while we still get our dances in of course.


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    Jun 23rd, 2010 6:13am report

    I think Human has the most fascinating lines of lyrics that I have heard in years. The inspiration of the line, "are we dancer", certainly comes from Hunter Thompson, but I think it is misleading to read too much into the original source. Flowers said that he took the line and ran with it. Hence, I am not inclined to read too much into the original inspiration for the writing of the song.

    I am more inclined to take my cues from the video, where I think The Killers indicate a different direction for understanding the underlying meaning of the song. The imagery from the video would suggest to me that the song contrasts the mortal state of being human against the possible state beyond mortality. Dancer then becomes a condition beyond what we can possibly fathom, and hence, I find the controversy surrounding the meaning of the word "dancer" altogether appropriate. We don't understand the meaning of the word "dancer" any more than we know what becomes of us upon our human death.

    I think "when the call comes down the line" is a reference to the inevitable call we all face at the end or our human lives. Hopefully we all face it with some grace: "I was brought but I was kind". We obviously will be nervous upon the call, but the song encourages us to yield to the inevitable: "close your eyes, clear your heart, cut the chord."

    At this point we don't really know what is on the other side. So we ask the question of whether we are human or whether we have a spiritual existence beyond our current lives. From the moment we are born we begin to die: "My sign is vital, my hands are cold." We keep looking for the answer. Are we human, or are we part of something that extends beyond this life - are we dancer?

    If we leave this life in style, we pay our "respects to grace and virtue". We send our "condolences to good", though we full well know not all in human life is so. We treasure "soul and romance" for it gives us hope of what's to follow. Hopefully life's treasures of "soul and romance" served us well by doing "the best they could" do.

    In the end we've known "devotion". It's what has made our spirits rise. But at the end of human life, it's time to "wave goodbye", please "wish me well", and "let me go". Those who have known me should continue on with their own human journey. But those who continue onward must face the question: "Are we human or are we dancer?"

    Now we only can ask this question of those who have gone before us. We must ask them "will your system be all right?" While those who have departed may "dream of home tonight", for the living "there is no message we are receiving". We want to ask them whether the hearts of their spirits are "still beating"? With our questions unanswered, we must again ask ourselves "are we human or are we dancer?"

    We're on our "knees looking for the answer". We plead with them to let us know. "Are we human or are we dancer?" Is there somthing that comes after? "You've got to let me know."


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    Feb 3rd, 2010 2:30pm report

    I think this song is saying are we acting and doing things for ourself or are we controlled by other things and people around us like the goverment for example that's just what I think


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    Jan 21st, 2010 1:44pm report

    The song is about the actual time we die. Dancer to me represents moving on past this life like when u dance in a club like Berlin those of u who don't live in chicago don't know. But to me it is about al the things that you did the best you can to live and believe in. Then youmove on. Or it could mean nothing.


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    Dec 13th, 2009 12:04pm report

    It clicked when I watched their official music video, with the animals... It seems very obvious he is talking about death, "up to the platform of surrender," "cut the chord", and he is earnestly on his knees asking "Are we human or are we dance?" and there are some tigers, in the video, and they swap faces on picture frames of themselves, etc....namely, reincarnation, or some sort of transformation after death.

    The sad thing is though, I believe the answer is the only transformation we have is turning into worm food, then their poop, then maybe dirt, and so on, there is no concsiousness or immortalness of the soul.


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    Nov 9th, 2009 11:47pm report

    my idea-- do we care? are we really people? are we civilized, and willing to look out for one another? or do we simply dance around any issues that can be conveniently avoided?

    human: compassionately kind: showing kindness, compassion, or approachability
    dance: evade issue: to talk misleadingly so as to avoid facing an issue squarely

    dictionary definitions, 'nuff said.

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    Jul 14th, 2009 7:34pm report

    one of the main questions: are we human or are we dancer? or are we human or are we denser?

    i think it is denser.
    he's singing about death. maybe how as humans we suffer through so much even though we're fragile. we make things to kill ourselves even. guns and all. but we can go through so many extreme emotions, how are we not denser than humans? we can cheat death. open ourselves up and replace organs, how are we not better than humans?

    dancer, could also be another interpretation.
    it's like in the matrix. do we choose our path, or can we change it? ("don't worry about the vase, what vase?") do we have a fate? or are we meant to do what we do? does each of us have a path that we take no matter what? do we really have choices or do we just take the set route even though there are forks?

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    Mar 12th, 2009 3:48am report

    Being a bit of a Luddite this song hadn't even made into onto my radar, but now it's cropping up all over the place and I was intrigued to know more. I first heard it on Saturday evening at a friends fortieth B'Day celebration, and thought it was an old track from his collection, obviously a popular choice scos it had everyone up dancing and joining in. Then his wife tld me that he had done a sermon on it, (he's an Anglican Minister. I obviously wasn't at the original, but I did get the very potted version. Are we human or are we dancers? (That was how I heard it and didn't find out about the big grammar debate until later, so don't know what mate heard either). To my mate this means do we continue exercising our free will and thus be Human, or do we accept the Holy Spirit into our lives and become dancers or as my lent study notes said just last night, 'Jesus Christ invites everyone to join the dance, whatever our successes or failures might be.' (think of the song 'Dance, then wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the dance said He.) And as if that wasn't 'godincidence' enough, Radio 1 was still playing when I came in from work as I hadn't turned over from when my husband was listening this morning, and what should be playing. And so I came and Goggled, saw all the huge debates about the lyrics and here I am now!

    I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, the lyrics speak to you based upon your personal experience and where you are at right now, but for me it has become something very special and profound.


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    Mar 10th, 2009 3:27pm report

    Dancer refers to puppets and human refers to humans. There's no "s" because they are both words describing people, you don't say are we means or are we nices? Puppets represent the fact that are we going to let people control us or are we going to be free like humans. Therefore "cut the cord" means let the puppets go. "Platform of surrender" represents the stage and the nerves are represented in the next line. The third verse about fellings and good things represents things that puppets say goodbye to. "My sign is vital, my hands are cold" represents the signs the puppet is getting and the hands are cold because a puppet is cold because puppets have no heart. It is DANCER!


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    Feb 21st, 2009 2:21pm report

    I sort of agree with anonymous- I mean, I've been trying to find meaning from this song for ages, and none of the other descriptions are really satisfying - I too, think that this is just a random mess.

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    Feb 8th, 2009 2:56pm report

    You are all so, so wrong. It is a song about RANDOMNESS. The reason so many people say that 'dancer' is really 'denser'(which, I may add, is completely wrong) is because they can't cope with the simple fact that the word 'dancer' makes no sense because it is meant to be a song that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I mean, really, if you try to make any sense of this song at all, you'll just be wasting your time. Also, I think that 'cut the cord' actually is 'cut the chord', as in musical chord - this song has a lot of chord changes.

    The song makes no sense as a huge change from all other Killers songs - just to confuse you who think you know it all.

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    Feb 7th, 2009 2:22pm report

    Ok. This is what it REALLY means, you silly, silly people. There is a famous journalist in Britain that the songwriter admires. The journalist has a quote where he says America is raising a generation of dancers. He later went on to explain that he meant this generation are very conforming, they are like puppets who will "dance" when told. Ergo resulting in the lyrics "Are we human or are we dancer?" As for the rest of the song, frankly, I don't care.


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    Jan 30th, 2009 1:44pm report

    This is has a deep spiritual meaning woven within its lyrics. It is spiritually inspired.

    What we have is a song that is seen through the eyes of a fallen host. The reference to "Human" refers to just that, a mind that is set on doing its own thing, rebellious, self willed, disobedient to the Will of God. Whereas the reference to "dancer" refers to those who are moved to perform the Will of God in harmony with one another to one word, one Truth and in one Spirit.

    If you look at the lyrics carefully you will notice that this being did the "best to notice" (that is obey) when the "call" of God came down the line. The "platform of surrender" is the platform before the God's throne. We are "all brought" or called by God. We then see the theme of repentance develop.

    The reference to "open door" refers to Christ, "who is the door of the sheep". (Dancer is used because it sounds more palatable).

    We see that the being does not chose repentance. It then says "close your eyes". This refers to closing our eyes to the truth, rather than having them open so as to see. "Clear your heart" refers to clearing your heart of devotion to God. Cut the cord, means any bond to God, through obedience.

    We then have this being on their knees looking for the answer (to reflect prayer), contemplating are we human, that is, mortal, mere dust, to do our own will, or are we dancers, that is, to have an opportunity to repent and join in the ballet of obedience and be one with God again.

    This being then says good bye to all the traits as it were to the mercies and attributes of God. The being then asks those who are obeying the will of God "Will your system be alright, when you dream of home tonight". The home refers to the one we are to have with Christ, and the New Jerusalem.

    The line "there is no message we're receiving" refers to the fallen host having lost their connection and communication with God the Father. Their "sign is vital" and "their hands are cold" refers to the fact that the fallen host know they have but a little while. Some are on their knees because they do not know what to do, and some are unaware they can repent because the question is asked repeatedly "you've gotta let me know"

    A more appropriate word for “dancer” would have been “elohim” – (A title which is plural – can refer to God the Father or one that has had the name of God conferred onto him which is our destiny). The sad fact of the matter is that we are all too human to recognise it.

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    Jan 17th, 2009 1:21pm report

    I think the song is about someone sick with cancer or something. "Cut the cord is referring to taking him off the life supports.

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    Jan 5th, 2009 1:09pm report

    The more understandable version of this song is the book "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. (and perhaps Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury)
    To me, this song talks about a partying way of life: Are we dancers? Is dancing (partying) all we live for? (Or are we human and therefore have a larger purpose?)- Note that Hunter S. Thompson said America is "raising a generation of dancers."
    Ultimately, this is a song, too, about nihilistic beliefs:
    "Pay my respects to grace and virtue
    send my condolences to good
    give my regards to soul and romance
    They always did the best they could
    so long to devotion . . ."
    These "useless" sentiments are dying out. And also:
    "There's no message we're receiving."

    Also, the decline of exploration and curiosity:
    "Sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door"
    We've become so comfortable and spoiled . . .
    "Cut the cord" might be talking about growing up and breaking free of the corrosive trash culture.
    "My signs are vital/My hands are cold" has a contradictory feel that could be questioning what "living" really means: are you "living" if all you seek is pleasure? What does it mean to be human? He's on his knees, forced down by the magnitude and importance of this question, praying that he can find the answer. As we all are . . .

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