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The Killers: Under the Gun Meaning


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Under the Gun Lyrics

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She's got her halo and wings
Hidden under his eyes
But she's an angel for sure
She just can't stop telling lies
But it's too late for his love
Already caught in a trap
His angel's kiss was a joke
And she is not coming back



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    May 28th, 2018 5:22pm report

    I believe this song is about a man in a coma, reliving the moments leading up to the death of the girl he loves
    "She's got her halo and wings
    Hidden under his eyes"

    "But she's an angel for sure,
    She just can't stop telling lies"
    This is either a side comment on her personality, or it means something more literal (explained with a later line).

    "But it's too late for his love,
    Already caught in a trap.
    His angel's kiss was a joke,
    And she is not coming back"
    Again, she is dead and he is dreaming about her. Either they were a couple, or he was in love with her and is imagining them as a couple as he relives his memories.

    "Because heaven sends and heaven takes
    Crashing cars in his brain
    Keep him tied up to a dream
    And only she can set him free
    And then he says to me
    Kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now
    Kill me now, kill me now, kill me now, kill me now."
    Yep. Again, dead. Although, 'and then he says to me' could also means he's not in a coma, but dreams of the crash that killed her and wishes to be dead. But 'keep him tied up to a dream' suggest someone who is always asleep, ie, a coma. He could be speaking in his coma, and that's what the song's narrator is hearing as he sits by him.

    "Yeah she's got a criminal mind
    He's got a reason to pray
    His life is under the gun
    He's got to hold every day
    Now he just wants to wake up
    Yeah, just to prove it's a dream
    Cause she's an angel for sure
    But that remains to be seen"
    Either, they could be a bonnie and clyde type couple speedimg from the police, or joyriding in a stolen car. Or simply speeding. Although the illegal aspect is back up buy this and the line from the beginning "but she can't stop telling lies". The man believe she is an angel so to speak because he loves her, while the narrator is telling us that she's actually not so sweet and innocent (she's an angel for sure, but that remains to be seen). She lies and breaks to law, to what extent, we don't know.

    "Stupid on the streets of London
    James Dean in the rain
    Without her it's not the same
    The same, the same, but it's alright"
    VERY clearly referrencing very famous actor James Dean's incredibly young death at 24 from a car accident. I believe Brandon referenced London because The Killers have a long affair with the UK (and us, with them) being that they all grew up listening to bands in the 80's from the UK, and them being diacovered and signed, and made famous by word of mouth in the indie rock scene, in the UK. Plus, for an American band, their music has a very UK sound running through the heart of it.

    Finally,the chorus followed by 'again and again' seals the deal for me of this being a coma. He relives the same dream, he repeats the same phrase 'again and again'.


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    Feb 2nd, 2013 2:32am report

    agree with 'East of Eden' theory. every line above is totally match with that novel, except the part talking about London street, i dont get it. Brandon sounds like putting himself on Charles' position. Take a look at "this river is wild", it could be bout telling this novel again, again from poor Charles POV. Its very sweet point how Charles took care of Adam while struggling with his temperful life, and really great how Brandon greatfully appreciated this novel then reflected it on the songs, full emotion.


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    May 11th, 2012 5:13am report

    I think this is a song about a guy in love with a prostitute, who isn't in love with him back as she's still sleeping with other men:
    "She's got her halo and wings hidden under his eyes" - the man in love with her (who could be the singer, or could be a friend of the man in love with her, either way works) knows that she is a good person at heart ("angel for sure") but she's playing the naughty girl for her job and the man she's being paid to please.
    "But she's an angel for sure, she just can't stop telling lies" - same kinda meaning as the above, the "lies" bit meaning that she lies to him about things, like where she's going or what she's doing so he doesn't know she's going to sell herself.
    "But it's too late for his love, already caught in a trap" - he's already caught in a vicious circle of jealousy and anger, but he can't get out because he's already hopelessly in love with her.
    "His angel's kiss was a joke, and she's not coming back" - she doesn't love him and is playing him around, making her name of 'angel' kinda ironic as nothing could be less angelic, and she's not coming to come back to him in the choice between him and her; she'll choose herself.
    "Because heaven sends and heaven takes, Crashing cars in his brain" - he's dwelling on how cruel heaven can be, and says his problem is making his head hurt, confusing him and forcing his head and his heart to collide.
    "Keep him tied up to a dream and only she can set him free" - his hopes that the relationship is going to work is just a dream, but the small possibility (even if it is imagined) that she'll love him back keeps him hoping; the times when she does 'love' him, like when she kisses him, makes the dream a reality for just a second, but only she can make it real for ever.
    "kill me now" - this bit's pretty obvious; he knows he's not going to win, and is begging himself or a friend (depending on your POV of who the singer is) to end his misery.
    "Yeah she's got a criminal mind" - she likes to sneak around and blackmail people so that she gets what she wants.
    "he's got a reason to pray" - she's not good, not an angel, and he needs all the help he can get.
    "His life is under the gun, he's got to hold every day" - he's feeling that she's slipping away, and he wants to hold on to every day with her.
    "Now he just wants to wake up, yeah, just to prove it's a dream" - he doesn't want to believe that his life has come to this, and wants things to go back to normal.
    Chorus and 'kill me now' bit are the same.
    "Stupid on the streets of London." - he's stupid without her, doing silly things he shouldn't.
    "James Dean in the rain" - reference to a famous photograph of actor James Dean (google it, you'll see what i mean)
    "Without her it's not the same." - pretty self-explanatory, really.
    "But it's alight, because heaven sends and heaven takes" - this is kinda the opposite of what the line meant before because of the "it's alright"; he still has hope because, even though heaven (God) took her from him, heaven also gives things back so he remains hopeful that God will send him something to make it better. Rest of the chorus is pretty much the same, only with the "crashing cars" meaning his head and heart are debating whether or not to hope or if he's being foolish.
    "kill me now, again and again" - he's still cursing and praying to be free from this hell, only last time he was unhappy because he was with her, and now he can't stand it without her.

    This song really reminds me of 'House of the Rising Sun', which is (debatably) also a song about a guy in love with a prostitute that his ruined his life. If you don't know it, i prescribe an Urgent trip to YouTube.


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    Jun 21st, 2011 6:44pm report

    why does the song mention James Dean?


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    Jun 15th, 2011 6:10am report

    I interpreted this as a guy being so hopelessly in love with a girl who lead him on, then dropped him suddenly. The guy is in hysterics about it and is just so worked up over this girl, he asks his friend(narrator) to kill him. Maybe not literally(Like when you're enduring something that just sucks, you say to a friend "god just kill me now" in more or less a joking manner. best way I could put it.)


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    Nov 17th, 2010 11:00am report

    Well, I guess U guys are all right, I was just thinking if "but that rermains to be seen" makes more sense like "but that remains to be sin". Since we're talkin' 'bout angels and wings that makes more sense and fits beautifully in, don't you think so? Still all of the lyrics I've found say "seen".


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    Sep 30th, 2010 9:32pm report

    You guys are all kinda right, but when I first heard this song I had just finished the John Steinbeck novel East of Eden, and I couldn't help but relate the song to the book. I didn't know who James dean was either so I wikied it guess what he's best known for playing the main character Cal in the novel East of Eden! Basically what I think is that this song is about is that one of the characters in the novel Adam Trask continues to believe that his wife is perfect an "angel" he refuses to believe otherwise. However his wife is actually this evil prostitute (READ THE BOOK) and she actually shoots him and leaves him so there's under the gun for you. He only realizes that she isn't an angel when he gets shot (on the arm). Basically Cal is telling the story of his fathers love for his mother, which is what depresses him (bc his mom is a prostitute) hence "in the rain"


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    Aug 14th, 2009 8:46pm report

    I actually interpreted it as a man in a coma. Maybe his angel was death, and she has lied to him about coming to get him. That leaves him in that state and he is desperate to die because he feels trapped inside his mind. And he's under the gun, because he is uncertain if he will die or make it.


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    Jul 9th, 2009 7:09pm report

    I once herd a meaning to this song similar to the ones above but a little diffrent.
    The girl in this song is an actual angel."stupid in the streets of London. James Dean in the rain" is talking about how the girl died driving carelessly and, like James Jean, died in a car accident. "Heaven sends" means the day he met her and "heaven takes" is the day she died. "crashing cars in his brain" is his mind replaying the accident. the part "kill me now" is the guy asking the narrator to kill him so he can join his love.


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    May 14th, 2009 5:05pm report

    maybe he's sad because he was in love with a girl, that he belived she was an angel, but then he realized that it wasn't true, he was "blind" because of the love and he couldn't saw the truth. when he understands the reality, it's too late, she has gone and he is now caught in a trap. in the part of heaven gives and heaven takes it also could be when he thought the girl was an angel and when he saw the truth that she wasn't. He wants to be free by dying, that's why he says kill me now, kill me now, or also crashing cars in his brain, Stupid on the streets of London, James Dean in the rain, say us that he wants drive in a crazy way to commit suicide and die just like Dean, in a car crash. His life is under the gun because he can't take it any more, cause Without her it's not the same, but it's alright, because he has no reason to live without her.


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    Mar 16th, 2009 3:49pm report

    Just to finish PinkRoze's interpretation, after finding out his 'angel' isn't perfect, they have a break up. Then, he realises what he's done, and wants to commit suicide, so asks the singer to 'kill me now' and get his pain over with. Then, it says 'stupid on the streets of London...without her its not the same'. This is about his life after the break up, which he obviously can't take, the 'James Dean in the rain' showing how depressed he is (not sure what this says about James Dean, though, who, by the way, is an american actor). This is why he is led to the drastic measure of suicide.


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    Mar 10th, 2009 3:48am report

    I think this song is about a a guy who is hopelessly in love with a girl he believes to be an "angel".
    Basically telling you love is blind "Hidden under his eyes"
    And that even though people seem to have a "halo and wings" they are not always who you think they are
    "But she's an angel for sure
    She just can't stop telling lies".
    "But it's too late for his love
    Already caught in a trap
    His angel's kiss was a joke
    And she is not coming back"
    He caught her doing something wrong and found out she was not an "angel" so he is very disappointed.

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