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Spaceman by The Killers

Album: Day & AgeReleased: 2008Charted:
67
40
  • Frontman Brandon Flowers cited this alien-abduction anthem to The Sun November 7, 2008 as a typical Killers song: He explained: "Yes, it's very us. It came off the back of 'Don't Shoot Me Santa', our Christmas single, so I was in a playful mood. I think it's really adventurous for me."
  • Flowers told The Quietus that for this song he was "looking for a mixture of 'Space Oddity' and 'Rocket Man.'"
  • Brandon Flowers recalled the story of the song to NME: "We're always making demos, and on our way to South America, we had a few days off so we went to the rainforest in Panama," he said. "On the plane on the way there, I was humming the verse, and I couldn't wait to lay it down and we made a demo with Ted (Sablay), our touring musician, in the hotel room in Panama. That demo probably isn't that different from the final version."
  • The was featured in Season 1 of the sci-fi series Fringe in the episode "The No-Brainer."
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Comments: 29

I like Mark's interpretation but I didn't get that from it. This song to me is about the moment Brandon realized how big of a celebrity he is and that it wasn't what he expected it would be as he's naturally an introverted person.

"It started with a low light
Next thing I knew they ripped me from my bed
And then they took my blood type
It left a strange impression in my head"

When you become famous you're "in the limelight". That's the low light he's referring to. It was a low light when they first started looking at him as a celebrity and noticing his talent. Next thing he knew, the fans were all over him invading his personal life, asking about who he's married to, what his interests are, what his blood type is etc. Typical teenie bopper/groupie stuff.

"You know that I was hoping
That I could leave this star-crossed world behind
But when they cut me open
I guess that changed my mind"

After he wants to get out of the limelight and live a normal life again, they're reaching into him, personal details in magazines again, probing who he is and what he's about. He realizes he's a major star now and can't just go back to living a normal life.

"And you know I might
Have just flown too far from the floor this time
'Cause they calling me by my name
And the zipping white light beams
Disregards the bombs and satellites"

He's a star, a celebrity, up in space to these groupies. To them, they're on the ground and he's above them, but they're calling him by his first name like they know him, screaming "Brandon! I love you!" to him while he's on stage or out in public. There's that low limelight again, even brighter and zipping or flashing on him like it does on most celebrities with cameras on them.

"That was the turning point
That was one lonely night"

He realizes that he can't make friends or meet people like he used to because nobody will be able to see him as a regular person. He's all alone as this big celebrity now who can't go out in public. This is the turning point as he dreamed his whole life of being a famous musician and now he's realized it's not all it's cracked up to be.

"The star maker says, it ain't so bad
The dream maker's going to make you mad
The spaceman says, everybody look down
It's all in your mind"

The star maker is the agent or the publicist or whoever helped turn him from a regular person into a rock star, telling him he shouldn't worry about all these things because he's a star now. It aint so bad to be famous. The dream maker is a similar person who made all his dreams possible but now he's mad as it's not what he expected. He's the spaceman and he's telling the world and his fans to stop looking up to him as this spaceman or person up in the clouds as he's a regular person just like them. All of these things they think about him are just in their minds.

"Well now I'm back at home, and
I'm looking forward to this life I live
You know its gonna haunt me
So hesitation to this life I give
You think you might cross over
You're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea
You better look it over
Before you make that leap"

He's leaves it behind and goes back home thinking he escaped it all and is now living a normal life, but it's still haunting him. He's still on magazine covers, he's still being recognized by fans everywhere he goes. He influences people who listen to him who may also want to grow up to be musicians just like Morrissey influenced Brandon to become a musician. He's hesitant to give this type of fame to anyone so he's warning the listener that before you set out to try to be a rock star like him, think twice about it for the reasons hes listed. Think about it before you cross over from an average person to a star.
Cj Parker - Los Angeles, Ca
The Nile did run from East to West. The Nile has always run along broadly the same route since it began flowing at least 80,000 years ago. However, during the Laschamp Event about 40,000 years ago, the North and South poles changed places for a few hundred years. To change places, the location of the North Pole would have to move from what is currently the North Pole to what is currently the South Pole and back again. During the time it took for this to happen (100+ years), the North Pole would have passed a point on the equator twice. During that time, instead of running along a line from North to South as it currently does, the Nile would have run perpendicular to that line, East to West.Conjohnsilver - Ireland
Mark from Arlington nailed it.Barry - Fleming Island, Fl
I've heard interpretations about depression, drugs and aliens. Here's what I believe. I think the song is about the quandary between science and religion. The star maker refers to God; dream maker refers to a scientist's imagination and theJoyce - Denver, Co
This song is not at all about drug addiction, it is most certainly about attempted suicide and depression. I love this song, the poetry and metaphors are amazing. Truly great lyrics. I've added commentary to each section, with context of the lyrics in terms of the themes of depression and attempted suicide. The song starts off with the attempted suicide victim awakening after being saved from the attempt.
"It started with a low light,
Next thing I knew they ripped me from my bed;
And then they took my blood type,
they left a strange impression in my head."

[Song starts with the attempted suicide victim awaking to consciousness in a hospital after an inferred suicide attempt. The person first perceives a 'low light' which I imagine refers to the hospital bed light that is first seen. Once he awakes, the hospital staff moves him from the bed, take his blood. The line about, 'strange impression in my head' may refer to the confusion he is going through as he is coming back to reality, or I thought it could allude to the method of suicide, gunshot to the head, literally an impression (wound).]

"You know that I was hoping,
That I could leave this star-crossed world behind;")
But when they cut me open,
I guess I changed my mind."

[Person acknowledged that he had intended to leave this world by killing himself. The line about, 'they cut me open' refers to the hospital staff saving him (if the suicide was by gunshot, the person literally got cut open to remove the bullet and treat the wound, which saved him). Then he says, "I guess I changed my mind" about the suicide, which I take as an ironic line because once he was being saved he had no choice but to change his mind.]

"And you know I might
Have just flown too far from the floor this time,
'cause they calling me by my name!"

[The person is reflecting on his decision to attempt suicide and is realizing that he had started losing touch with the world and lost his grounding ("And you know I might have just flown too far from the floor this time)." In the last line of this verse he starts to refer to his depression or his inner struggle with depression and angst that still is calling him.]

"And the zipping white light beams
disregards bombs and satellites!
That was the turning point;
That was one lonely night!"
[The person reflects on his confusing feelings and mindset just before deciding to attempt suicide, which was the turning point and a lonely night.]

"The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'"
[The star making is the typical optimist supporter that will try to console the depressed person, and tell him that life "ain't so bad" and try to cheer them up]

"The dream maker's gonna make you mad"
[The dream maker refers to the type of supporter that tries to be encouraging and tries to get the victim to think about the future and their dreams, which is frustrating to the suicide victim, because the 'dream maker' is trying to convince the victim to stay motivated]

"The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'"
[The spaceman refers to a psychologist, which tells the suicide victim that all their feelings and perceptions are the cause to his depression and suicide attempt, that all his depression is in his mind. The tone of the line suggests that the psychologist is trying to peg the problem on the victim (all in his mind) and not on the outside world ('everybody look down!).]

"Well now I'm back at home and-
I'm looking forward to this life I live;
You know it's gonna haunt me,
So hesitation to this life I give."
[He's moved back home and has been rehabilitated and is out of the pathological depressed mindset that he had prior to the suicide attempt. He can look forward to living, but the memory of his past depression and suicide attempt will continue to haunt him and worry him that the depression will come back. So he has a hesitation to the life he has known because he is not sure if the depression will return.]

"You think you might cross over,
You caught between the devil and the deep blue sea;
You better look it over,
Before you make that leap!"
[ The newly rehabilitated suicide victim implores to the audience that, based on his experience, that they should think hard about the desire to commit suicide when they are in a very bad time in their life ('you caught between the devil and the deep blue sea" -- two very bad and daunting things to be between). The victim advises that anyone considering suicide really should think very hard about it before they attempt it.]

"And you know I'm fine, but I hear those voices at night
sometimes... they justify my claim,"
[The victim states that he is doing well, but his depression is still there under the surface, the, 'voices he hears at night that justify his claim' is a metaphor for the depression that still speaks to him and tries to influence his behavior]

"and the public don't dwell on my transmission
'cause it wasn't televised..."
[I love this line. It is a beautiful lyric which is a metaphor for the fact that the outside world does not concern themselves with the depressed individual because the depressed person doesn't directly project their depression outward and that the world doesn't spend enough time and coverage on the plight of depressed individuals]

"But, it was a turning point,
Oh what a lonely night!"
[Further reflection on the attempted suicide night]

"The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'
The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'"

"My global position systems are vocally addressed;"
"They say the Nile used to run from east to west,
They say the Nile used to run... from east to west."
[The 'global position system that is vocally addressed' is a metaphor for his inner voice that guides him, as well as his perception of the world. The line about the GPS saying the Nile used to run from east to west is another metaphor. The Nile, in reality, runs north to south, and the fact that his GPS tells him the Nile runs east to west is a metaphor for his mind's perception of the world not being in sync with reality, he had lost touch with the world when he was depressed]

"I'm fine,
but I hear those voices at night,
sometime..."
[Further introspective lyric from the suicide victim that he is okay and he is managing his depression, but still feels depression resting under the surface.]

"The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'
The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down...
Its all in your mind!'"

"It's all in my mind,
It's all in my mind..."
Mark - Arlington, Va
Spaceman, The Killers. Album; Day & Age released November 24 2008. This music video differs greatly from songs in thier previous albums such as ‘Mr.Brightside’, ‘When You Were Young’ and ‘Read My Mind’ due to the strange and surreal setting used in this video and the costumes of the characters which suggests a Space Odyssey theme. This is reinforced by the alien abduction referrences; “It started with a low light” - linking to the lights from a possible alien ship and “they ripped me from my bed” -meaning the phyiscal abduction. However, it could also be used to suggest drugs as a ‘low light’ could suggest hallucinations from a drug and ‘ripped me from my bed’ could mean the intervention of people trying to help him get over a drug problem or a ‘trip’. This is reinforced by the lyric; “took my blood type” which suggests that drugs are currently in his bloodstream and that they, possibly doctors, are trying to identify them and due to the drugs, they appear as aliens to him. The-mise-en-scene also suggests drug consumption as it is so surreal that one could imagine that he is halucinating and the space theme could possibly be a referrence to the song ‘Rocket Man’ by Elton John in 1972 which also had drug themes about being ‘high’. However, the song also has a rehabilitation feel; ‘Now I’m back at home’ which either suggests that he is no longer under the influence or he has left the hospital or a rehabilitation clinic and gives the sense that the song is about trying to get over a drug problem and recovering from said drugs. The camera often zooms out and follows Brandon to suggest that we are being guided through one of his ‘trips’ and that the people around him are at a party or other social event and that Brandon is seeing them as something else due to the drugs. In terms of conventions, the surrealism is typical of Rock and Pop music videos which is something a lot different from The Killers’ other tracks. Furthermore, the video opens up with a man walking strangely in an odd and somehow amusing way which maybe used to suggest psychosis and the effects that drugs, specifically hallucinogens can have on the mind. The lyric; “the song maker says it ain’t so bad” is maybe a referrence to someone who has offered him the drugs and they are trying to explain that they are a good thing whilst “the dream maker’s gonna make you mad” is possibly referring to the drugs (dream maker, i.e a drug that will make you hallucinate etc) that will cause long-term psychological effects which is reinforced later by the lyric; “it’s all in your mind”. Most Rock and Indie Rock songs are about drugs and their effects but are usually not direct in what they are, for instance the song ’Golden Brown’ by The Stranglers in December 1981 was entirely about the use of heroin but used the euphemism; ‘Golden Brown’ instead.Gary - London, United Kingdom
First off the song has nothing to do with drugs. you're looking way too into it if you think that. It is about space and aliens...hence Brandon Flowers explaining he wanted to make a song that was like "Space Odyssey" and "Rocket Man".

The line "They say the Nile used to run from east to west" has been discussed on here quite a bit because it is very ambiguous. However, like the rest of the song, I believe it has to do with aliens. One of the theories that deals with the pyramids is that aliens must have helped or instructed the Egyptians to build the Pyramids because it would have been almost impossible for humans to lift the stones that weighed hundreds of tons. I believe it is also a reference to the idea/theory on how the Pyramids were built...it would have been much easier if the Nile ran from East to West because the Egyptians could have used rafts to move monolithic blocks as opposed to dragging or carrying them across the desert.
So, basically the song is telling the story of an abduction which ends up being nothing more than a dream.
Chuckyt - Dc, Dc
I always thought this song was about him being home sick. At first he has a dream, or thinks about home, and thinks everythings okay, but then he tries to shake it off, the starmaker is his manager, the dream makeris like his mentor, i guess giving him no good advice aat all, and the space man is his mind telling him to shake it off.Daphne - Hunnington Beach, Ca
In response to Keri: The Nile didn't ever changed its flow. Rivers always run from high ground to lower ground, its simple physics. Yes, its changed its course, as all rivers do, they constantly alter course even if just by inches each year. But the Nile has always ran from North to South, thats why this line is so puzzling.Alasdair - Scotland, United Kingdom
The "the Nile used to run from East to West" line is probably the easiest to work out. It seems to be comment on useless technology, as he implies his navigation system are advanced as their vocally addressed, but then informs us that they say the nile used to run from East to West and in the video puts his hand on his head in dispear. Implying that their not upto scratch. Although how this relates to the rest of the song I don't know?Chris - Bristol, United Kingdom
Actually the Nile did used to change it's flow. Look it up.Kerri - Muscatine, Ia
I do like Michael's interpretation of the song, however he is wrong about the line: "the Nile used to run from East to West". The Nile actually runs from South to North and rivers never ever change their flow, they always travel from source to mouth. Im still trying to work this line out.Alasdair - Scotland, United Kingdom
Michael your explanation makes the most sense! I don't think the killers would write about getting abducted by aliens, sorry guys... all of their songs have deeper meaning that what it seems and i think this whole song is basically a metaphor.Kerri - Muscatine, Ia
My depiction of the chorus is: Te storm maker says it ain't so bad (meaning the person selling the drugs or the drugs compelling him to do more of them), The dream makers gonna make you mad(meaning the drugs are gonna ruin your life, thus making you mad) the spaceman says everybody look down, it's all in your mind (meaning the pesron helping him out of drugs is telling him to look at his life, and convince him that drugs aren't the right way).Sam - Edmonton, Ab
I think the beginning part about the low light and blood type might be that he OD'd and he is in the hospital, but he is so high that in his paranoid mind he imagines he is being abducted by aliens because he has no clue whats going on, and he wonders later if it was ever realKristin - Tulsa, Ok
Here's how i see it.He Gets abducted by aliens which is pretty obvious in the first part. After this he tells people but no one believes him. He eventually talks to an astronaut(spaceman)about this and is told that that hes imagining things(its all in your mind).Eduardo - Toronto, On
Awesome idea michael i think thats completely right.
I always thought the song was about drugs of some sort
Saltine - Htown, Tx
there are so much things everyone's saying about this song i dont know who to believe.......it's still a good songDaniel - Tomball, Tx
KILLERS I LOVE YOU! its just wrong that i read in one of my favourite music magazines that people have critisised it because its nothing like a 'real' alien abduction. cant some people just accept that its a great song and the killers are the best thing thats ever happened to the music industry??!!Paris - Cardiff, United Kingdom
anybody read slaughterhouse five by kurt vonnegut? sounds like billy pilgrim-the whole alien abduction thing, but nobody believes him bit.Erin - Mwc, Ok
i think this song is about those people who think they get adubted by aliens at night. but really its thier dreams that they have.Daniella - Columbus, Oh
incredible song...i hate most modern music, but these guys gave me hope! apparently all the good songs weren't used up decades ago! the line "im fine, but i hear those voices" is so eerie and beautiful....addictive.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
oh, and i was going to add that (i think) the music video is him actually being high.
as he walks out of the shell he is surrounded by leafs which can mean (not to sound corny but) weed/or the drugs he is taking. then he walks up the steps, starting his high. thoughout the video it cuts from scenes of him being alone on a table not having much fun and him walking around glancing over all the odd dancing people and dancing along beside them. which can mean the side of him that likes the drugs and the side that knows their bad. the stage he is on are layers of his addiction. the lower level being the drugs, the second level being the high and his liking and disliking for it/or the struggle he is going through trying to overcome his addiction. the highest level is of course death(the big skull with horns explains that). in the video some people are also dying and being dragged away and the others are appaulding their death.(i cant really explain much of that) but during the last minute he suddenly jolts up, like he just realized that the drugs were stupid and that he should stop doing them/or that he realizes hes just on a stage and can get off any minuet.(you deside)
then at the end of the video it shows the layered stage in the middle of a dark lot representing that the drugs are just like a bright stage, its tempting to get on it but you really dont have to...okay well, thats what i think the song and the video mean. ha:)
Michael - Harlingen, Tx
"It started with a low light,"
(this guy tried some sort of drug)
"Next thing I knew they ripped me from my bed;
And then they took my blood type,
they left a strange impression in my head."
(his friends/or maybe just a person found out about him doing drugs and did a drug test on him, confusing him about trusting them)
"You know that I was hoping,
That I could leave this star-crossed world behind;"
(he thought the drugs were his get away from the world/his life)
"But when they cut me open,
I guess I changed my mind."
(he started going to drug therapy and they convinced him that drugs were a bad thing)
"And you know I might
Have just flown too far from the floor this time,
'cause they calling me by my name!"
(hes gone to far with doing drugs that now hes addicted to them)
"And the zipping white light beams
disregards bombs and satellites!"
(explains, in a way, how the drugs made everything disappear/ being high)
"That was the turning point;
That was one lonely night!"
(starts doing drugs again after trying to stop)

"The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'"
(the guy [the song maker] says doing drugs aren't that bad)
"The dream maker's gonna make you mad"
(the drugs [the dream maker], ripping his life apart/ making him mad)
"The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'"
(the person trying to help him [the spaceman] tells him that the good in drugs is all in his mind)

"Well now I'm back at home and-
I'm looking forward to this life I live;"
(hes back at home, from where he was getting treated for his addiction)
"You know it's gonna haunt me,"
(he thinks that the temptation for the drugs are going to haunt him)
"So hesitation to this life I give."
(hes scared to go back to his normal life before drugs)
"You think you might cross over,"
(hes scared he might go back to doing drugs)
"You caught between the devil and the deep blue sea;"
(the devil, being the drugs.
the sea, being salvation or being clean of drugs)
"You better look it over,
Before you make that leap!"
(think before you jump into drugs)
[im guessing hes giving a speech of some sort]

"And you know I'm fine, but I hear those voices at night
sometimes... they justify my claim,"
(hes telling people that hes okay, but the drugs are haunting him and making him rethink about doing them again)
"and the public don't dwell on my transmission
'cause it wasn't televised..."
(no one else feels sorry for him because no one else really knows about his former addiction)

"But, it was a turning point,
Oh what a lonely night!"
(hes goes back to doing drugs, im guessing)

"The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'
The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'"

"My global position systems are vocally addressed;"
(someone tells everyone that he was a drug addict)
"They say the Nile used to run from east to west,
They say the Nile used to run... from east to west."
[The Nile does run from West to East but at times switchs stream and runs from East to West making it hard to travel]
(meaning that he switchs from being clean of drugs to going back to his addiction making it hard for him to live)

"I'm fine,
but I hear those voices at night,
sometime..."
(he says hes okay, but he does have those temptations, sometimes)

"The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down!
Its all in your mind!'
The star maker says, 'It ain't so bad'
The dream maker's gonna make you mad;
The spaceman says, 'Everybody look down...
Its all in your mind!'"

"It's all in my mind,
It's all in my mind..."
(now hes realizing it WAS all in his mind about drugs being a good thing)
Michael - Harlingen, Tx
Such a great song! Everyone will have there own spin. To me I think the song hints on the suicidal thoughts, depression angst of being a teenager, Then it tells how something great happoned one night due to something spirtual,drug related, perhaps ever supernatural.Jonas - Nashport, Oh
i thought there was some deeper meaning...guess theres notJim - Ralston, Ne
high five, good songMarina - Winnipeg, Canada
I think this song is very easy to understand. He gets abducted by aliens. After, he's hears voices and is still freaked out by the expirience. The aliens tell him it's all in his head. In the end he convinces himself he imagined the whole thing.Kylie - Ventura, Ca
I don't understand it but it's really good. It's also really addicting so it makes you want to listen to it over and over again.Tomas - Hialeah, Fl
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