Pressure Machine

Album: Pressure Machine (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Brandon Flowers sings about the burden put on Americans to flourish and prosper. He told HMV: "I was thinking about American pressure and the American dream, that pressure to succeed and deliver, the pressure to win, how everything is compounded by religious pressure. It feels like a machine."
  • Flowers grew up in Henderson, just outside Las Vegas. When he was 8, he and his family moved to the rural Utah town of Nephi. During the second verse, he explores his gratitude for the way his parents raised him in Nephi.

    Keep the debt cloud off the kids
    Only sunshine on their lids
    Jiminy Cricket and Power Wheels
    And memories of Happy Meals


    Flowers told the UK newspaper The Sun the life he had in Nephi differed completely from if he'd stayed in Las Vegas. "It was free and like being in the '50s when I was there," he said. "The clichés about people not locking their doors were real. I look back at it with much more fondness now."
  • Flowers reflects on his stressful existence now and the way contemporary society forces his children to mature faster than he did.

    Why don't you say little things?
    Butterflies don't just dance on a string
    It feels like you clipped all their wings
    And every year goes by faster than the one before


    Flowers told Australia's Triple M Radio there's a sadness as a parent watching how quickly his children are growing up. "You start being evaluated when you're a kid, how you respond to pressure and sometimes you get marked unfairly at an early age because of the way that you respond, what your worth is."
  • The Mormon-raised Flowers also considers the strain of trying to keep to the teachings of his church.

    But the Kingdom of God, it's a pressure machine
    Every step, gotta keep it clean


    Flowers observes his fellow Mormons putting pressure on themselves, sometimes unnecessarily, to live righteous lives.
  • This is the title track of The Killers' seventh studio album. The record is a documentary-style dissection of Flowers' childhood in Nephi with each song introduced by voiceovers of current residents of the Utah town. This song starts with a recording of a woman talking about how she met her partner and discussing their future together.
  • Flowers wrote the song with Pressure Machine co-producer Jonathan Rado and The Killers' guitarist Dave Keuning.
  • Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek contributed fiddle to the track. It is one of four Pressure Machine tracks she played on.
  • Pressure Machine debuted at the UK albums chart summit, maintaining The Killers record of topping the chart with every studio long player. They're the only international band ever to have seven consecutive UK #1 studio albums from their debut set.
  • The Killers gave "Pressure Machine" its live debut during their June 3, 2022 show at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London. They played the song at the request of BBC Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley. "Jo Whiley, she's always championed us since the very beginning - she's here tonight," Flowers told the crowd. "She should have a jubilee, right? She said some wonderful things about this next song and she requested it tonight - if you don't like it blame her. It's called 'Pressure Machine.'"

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