What does Jenny Was a Friend of Mine mean?

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The Killers: Jenny Was a Friend of Mine Meaning

Tagged: Murder [suggest]

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Jenny Was a Friend of Mine Lyrics

We took a walk that night, but it wasn't the same
We had a fight on the promenade out in the rain
She said she loved me, but she had somewhere to go
She couldn't scream while I held her close
I swore I'd never let her go
Tell me what you...

  1.  

    ToastySteve
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    Feb 19th, 2009 2:03pm report


    'Jenny Was a Friend of Mine' is the third part of The Killers' so-called 'Murder Trilogy', with 'Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf' (from the 'Sawdust' album) being the first part, and 'Midnight Show' being the second.

    In the first part of the trilogy, Flowers sings about a girl named Jennifer (Jenny) who the male character in the trilogy is in love with. The pair are obviously dysfunctional, with the male having an alcohol problem and Jenny apparently cheating on him*, which he finds out about ("Jennifer, tell me where I stand, and who's that boy holding your hand?"). The male character, however, seems willing to forgive Jenny for what she's done because of his love for her.

    *It is unclear weather Jenny has actually cheated on him or whether it is some kind of paranoia which has resulted from his alcohol abuse.

    In the second part, the male character takes Jenny out in his car, probably with the intentions of making things better between them by 'fooling around'. However, there is a voice in the back of his mind reminding him of her unfaithfulness ("promise me you'll stay and fix these things I've heard, make it go away!"). However, instead of making love to her, as he had originally planned, his jealousy gets the better of him and he strangles her ("I took my baby's breath"). He then dumps her body in the ocean , and "watched her disappear into the midnight show". He knows that dumping her body in the ocean won't get rid of her body permanently ("crashing tides can't hide a guilty girl").

    The third part, 'Jenny Was a Friend of Mine', is following the murder, starting with the sounds of the police helicopter and the police finding Jenny's body. The male has been taken in for questioning. This song is his version of events. He admits that he and Jenny had had an argument that night following "a walk on the promenade out in the rain", but denies that he had any reason to have murdered her as they were friends. We find out a little more about what happened that night when the male tells us that things weren't the same between them again and that Jenny told him that she loved him but that she didn't want to be with him, stating that "she had somewhere to go" - perhaps to her other lover. The murderer continues to deny any involvement. The detective interrogating him whispers in his ear, "I know what you're doing here," indicating that he knows that he had something to do with the murder but he just cannot prove anything without a confession. The killer continues to deny any wrongdoing.


    Further information about the song:

    During the performance of 'Jenny Was a Friend of Mine' at one of the live concerts I saw them play, Flowers replaced the second occurance of the line "She couldn't scream as I held her close" with "She kicked and screamed as I held her throat", whilst miming strangling somebody, thus turning the denial of the crime into the confession the detective was pushing for. This also supports the theory that Jenny was strangled to death.

    I was also wondering if 'Bones' is a later addition to this story, as this seems like it could be telling a version of events of the "fight" by the ocean which leads ultimately the the murder. Just a thought...



  2.  

    ToastySteve
    click a star to vote
    Feb 19th, 2009 2:58pm report


    'Jenny Was a Friend of Mine' is the third part of The Killers' so-called 'Murder Trilogy', with 'Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf' (from the 'Sawdust' album) being the first part, and 'Midnight Show' being the second.

    In the first part of the trilogy, Flowers sings about a girl named Jennifer (Jenny) who the male character in the trilogy is in love with. The pair are obviously dysfunctional, with the male having an alcohol problem and Jenny apparently cheating on him*, which he finds out about ("Jennifer, tell me where I stand, and who's that boy holding your hand?"). The male character, however, seems willing to forgive Jenny for what she's done because of his love for her.

    *It is unclear weather Jenny has actually cheated on him or whether it is some kind of paranoia which has resulted from his alcohol abuse.

    In the second part, the male character takes Jenny out in his car, probably with the intentions of making things better between them by 'fooling around'. However, there is a voice in the back of his mind reminding him of her unfaithfulness ("promise me you'll stay and fix these things I've heard, make it go away!"). However, instead of making love to her, as he had originally planned, his jealousy gets the better of him and he strangles her ("I took my baby's breath"). He then dumps her body in the ocean , and "watched her disappear into the midnight show". He knows that dumping her body in the ocean won't get rid of her body permanently ("crashing tides can't hide a guilty girl").

    The third part, 'Jenny Was a Friend of Mine', is following the murder, starting with the sounds of the police helicopter and the police finding Jenny's body. The male has been taken in for questioning. This song is his version of events. He admits that he and Jenny had had an argument that night following "a walk on the promenade out in the rain", but denies that he had any reason to have murdered her as they were friends. We find out a little more about what happened that night when the male tells us that things weren't the same between them again and that Jenny told him that she loved him but that she didn't want to be with him, stating that "she had somewhere to go" - perhaps to her other lover. The murderer continues to deny any involvement. The detective interrogating him whispers in his ear, "I know what you're doing here," indicating that he knows that he had something to do with the murder but he just cannot prove anything without a confession. The killer continues to deny any wrongdoing.


    Further information about the song:

    During the performance of 'Jenny Was a Friend of Mine' at one of the live concerts I saw them play, Flowers replaced the second occurance of the line "She couldn't scream as I held her close" with "She kicked and screamed as I held her throat", whilst miming strangling somebody, thus turning the denial of the crime into the confession the detective was pushing for. This also supports the theory that Jenny was strangled to death.

    I was also wondering if 'Bones' is a later addition to this story, as this seems like it could be telling a version of events of the "fight" by the ocean which leads ultimately the the murder. Just a thought...



  3.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 17th, 2008 12:50am report


    I don't know if it helps you, but "jenny is a friend of mine" is a line of the film "Corrina, Corrina".



  4.  

    Sabrina
    click a star to vote
    Dec 3rd, 2008 12:04pm report


    I think, that he is telling the whole story to a police officer. it could be that he did not kill jenny, but he was the last one who saw her before she died. why should he tell the police officer "she couldnt scream while i held her close"? he would admit his blame, but on the other hand he is saying why should i do it? we were friends. it could be that he is lying but i dont know it exactly.



  5.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 24th, 2008 11:37pm report


    Unlike what most of the people here say, I think the crime part is a metaphor. I don't think that the singer (Brandon Flowers) actually committed a crime.

    But, this means that the lyrics have to be interpreted from a different perspective. I think that, during most of the song, the singer is fighting an internal struggle. In the first verse, he is remembering a walk on the promenade (with Jenny, of course). The second verse, I think, is a memory of a different incident with Jenny. In that verse, the line "I swear I told you the truth" is part of the memory; it is spoken by the narrator to Jenny. (The meaning of the line is open to interpretation.)

    2 final thoughts:

    1. The line "she couldn't scream...let her go", in my opinion, doesn't refer to Jenny being suffocated, just emotionally unable to scream while the narrator held her close.

    2. The line "And then...what you're doing here" is very ambiguous and, as such, open to interpretation.

    Good, deep song. Go Killers!



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 9th, 2008 10:28pm report


    I think that the line "There ain't no motive for this crime. Jenny was a friend of mine" Is a great line because basically, I think that The Singer loved Jenny but she didn't feel the same way. In his anger, He killed her. But then while being questioned he's like "There ain't no motive for this crime, Jenny was a friend of mine." He's saying "Why would I kill her? She's my friend." as a defense. BUT it's ironic because that's actually the reason he killed her. She was a friend and nothing more.



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 23rd, 2008 9:53am report


    I believe the lyrics are based on the novel "Engelby" by Sebastian Faulks...read it, brilliant!



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 14th, 2008 7:41am report


    I reckon it goes like this:
    'We took a walk that night, but it wasn't the same
    We had a fight on the promenade out in the rain
    She said she loved me, but she had somewhere to go'.
    So they have the fight, and she leaves, upset and angry.
    Later, the boy feels bad, so he goes to find her to say sorry. When he does, she's been attacked/raped etc.
    'She couldn't scream while I held I close
    I swore I'd never let her go'.
    I think the 'couldn't scream part' wasn't a dangerous possessive thing, but more a protective thing, with the boy holding her and wanting to help her.
    I think the choruses are obviously about the boy being interviewed by the police and trying to defend himself, saying he found her and tried to help.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 5th, 2008 7:56pm report


    The song's about the singer, who saw his girlfriend that night. But he didn't kill her, next day.. The police questions him. Unfortunately they don't believe him and they think he did it. The judge decides to punish him to death. They give him a syringe and he falls asleep (read: dies) at the moment that he's dead, the police was called. The real murderer confessed at that moment. That's the true meaning of this song.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 5th, 2008 6:55pm report


    Here's mine.

    I'm going with the murder trio theory starting with Mr. Brightside. Not really murder in my seeing, but cha.

    After "Mr. Brightside", if you will, he follows the chick for a while. Tells her he loves her and she freaks, tries to get away.

    Then he grabs her, puts his hand over her mouth "Couldn't scream..." and rapes her.

    Just how I see it.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  11.  

    anonymous
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    May 27th, 2008 5:22am report


    Jenny was a friend of mine is the last in a murder trilogy which includes 'leave the bourbon on the shelf' and 'midnight show'. Leave the bourbon on the shelf is the first part, in which the motive happens and the plan is made in which to kill Jenny, Brandon Flowers has said it involves water but she doesn't drown. Midnight Show is the next part with the murder and attempted escape, then Jenny was a friend of mine which is the interrigation and capture of the criminal.



  12.  

    Beatlemaniac
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    Apr 10th, 2008 4:48am report


    I think that Jenny and the singer were walking one night, and they got in a fight(Obviously). Then they both leave each other, and later the cops find him, and bring him in for questioning, telling him that Jenny died. He says " Why would I kill her, we were friends."

    They could have been fighting over the fact she was leaving, and then they said goodbye to each other, holding each other close. And then he never sees her again.



  13.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 2nd, 2008 4:24am report


    Ok I think that the boy in this song had a friend called wait for it 'Jenny'. His girlfriend was obsessed with the fact that he was cheating on her with Jenney but the boy insists he is only friends with her which is true. At the end he is so frustrated from the interrogation he is getting from his own girlfriend he says 'tell me what you wanna know, oh come on oh come on oh come on..' and in the end when the questioning continues screams 'LET HER GO!' to his girlfriend to let Jenny go, and forget about her as he is not cheating with Jenny, and her wants his girlfriend to forget about her and move forward in their realtionship. There: nothing to do with rape, murder or police interrogation, just an argument between boyfriend and girlfriend over Jenny his friend.



  14.  

    iheartjakeryan
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    Mar 28th, 2008 3:37pm report


    I know this had nothing to do with the song, but I thought I would bring it up. In the movie "Corinna, Corinna" (the movie with Ray Liotta and Whoopi Goldberg), Ray Liotta's character is trying to defend his relationship with a woman named Jenny by telling his mother, "Jenny is a friend of mine." I wonder if that has something to do with why The Killers chose the title. I love this song and I do think that it's about the narrator killing Jenny and being brought in for questions with the police. Notice that the title is Jenny WAS A Friend of Mine as in past tense.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  15.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 9th, 2008 2:38pm report


    The whole thing is him being questioned by the police. And the police officer says "I know what you're doing here" Knowing that he is the one who killed Jenny. And the singers says to him "There was no motive for this crime. Jenny was a friend of mine." which this phrase here is what should be questioned. He could be saying "No one would have a motive to kill her because she's my friend and I know that she is a good person." or he could be saying "I would have no motive to kill her, she's my friend." Which is really ironic because if he did kill her it would be because he wanted to be more than friends.






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