Read My Mind

Album: Sam's Town (2006)
Charted: 15 62

Songfacts®:

  • In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, lead singer Brandon Flowers explained that this started out as a B-side called "Little Angela." Andy Moulder and Flood (he has just one name), who produced the album, got into an argument over the song during recording. Says Flowers, "I heard Alan say, 'We're trying to make "Peggy Sue" into "With Or Without You,'" which came as a blow because he was basically saying my lyrics weren't good enough. So I started singing different melodies, and in two hours it was a whole new song. I think it's the best song we've ever written."

    Flowers says the new lyrics he wrote for the song drew more from his own life experiences.
  • This was originally a totally different song titled "Little Angela" with a rock beat and lyrics telling a small love story. Brandon Flowers recalled to NME: "My melody was a little too much like 'Mrs. Robinson,' the lyrics weren't great, and Alan (Moulder) had the balls and the courage to tell me - he said 'Let's keep this template, and write a different song over it.' So the song was born out of us jamming that old song, and it grew from there."
  • Brandon Flowers revealed in a 2017 Facebook Live Q&A with fans that this is his favorite Killers song. He explained: "It doesn't matter if we're in a bar or an arena or a stadium or a festival or to 50 people, when 'Read My Mind' starts, the room changes."

    The singer added: "I guess it's strange to have reverence for something that you had a part in creating but I guess I'm just thankful for that song."

Comments: 31

  • Junior Mendes from Porto AlegreThe story is about a boy who is engaged to a girl he dates since high-school. They are from a small town, they were making plans for the wedding, maybe even to move to another town. But he is not really in the mood, so he goes out with his best man to talk.
    Then he is chilling with his best male friend and also his best man, like “Bachelor Party”: they are drinking too much, they are getting high. They listen to a sad song, a song that makes them think about their friendship, everything they lived together, which leads to they start saying how they love each other - the moment of brotherhood gets stronger, and he kisses his friend! And he likes it - he discovers something about himself that makes him confused - he is bissexual. He felt attached to his friend, a man who he always loved, although as a friend, but then now? Just friends? Then his friend freaked out, and leaves him alone.
    He did not know what to expect about what happened, so he goes to his best man house to talk to him, hoping that he could read his mind and not only to understand him, but also to love him the same way, although not even he could understand himself and the mix of feelings he had.
    But, then, when he gets there, his friend say they should sleep, that it was late. None of them says anything about what happened, so he presumes his friend does not feel the same, gets ashamed and guilty. Then he went to her house to tell her everything, because he feels guilty, but on his way there he gives a last shot about what happened between him and his friend: he calls him, but his friend is already sleeping, and does not answer. He felt lost.
    He starts thinking if the kiss was really the smart choice, which makes him start thinking about the life he was supposed to have: and guess what – he liked it! He actually liked his bride.
    So he goes to his bride’s house to tell her everything, hoping that she could read his mind and not only to forgive him, but also to understand him, although not even he could understand himself and the mix of feelings he had.
    Now, how it fits with the song:
    He is drunk and he is going to his friend house after what happened, and starts to think about old conversations they had with his bride about plans for the after-wedding, which the bride was basically planning alone, because they were not in a good place. He feels confident about his decision of trying to discover what his friend feels for him.

    On the corner of main street
    Just tryin' to keep it in line (drunk)
    You (the bride) say you wanna move on, and
    You (the bride) say I'm falling behind (he is not helping to plan stuff)
    Can you read my mind? (he does not want to marry her anymore, they were not in a good place)
    Can you read my mind?
    I never really gave up on
    Breakin' out of this two-star town (he even realizes that he was interested to move on out of this town, but not with her, so he never gave attetion to her when she talked about this)
    I got the green light (he found a “way-out” of the marriage – he cheated on her)
    I got a little fight (he will deal with stuff, but in the end he will be with his best man if everything is okay)
    I'm gonna turn this thing around (he thinks everything is gonna be okay if he and his best man stay together)
    Can you read my mind?
    Can you read my mind?

    The good old days, the honest man (he thinks about when he was not a cheater)
    The restless heart, the Promised Land (his heart is restless because he feels guilty – Promised Land may be a metaphor about their sex first time supposed to happen someday if he and his friend stay together)
    A subtle kiss that no one sees (he remembers the kiss)
    A broken wrist and a big trapeze (broken wrist means gay, and big trapeze is a character of the friend he kissed, denoting sexual tension)
    Oh well, I don't mind, you don't mind
    Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
    Before you go, can you read my mind? (after he came to his friend’s house, his friend tells him he needs to get into his house because it is late)

    It's funny how you just break down (his friend tells him he needs to get into his house because it is late)
    Waiting on some sign (he expected him to say something, but he did not)
    I pull up to the front of your driveway
    With magic soaking my spine (he was in front of his friend’s house imagining everything they could live togheter if just...)

    Can you read my mind?
    Can you read my mind?

    He start thinking about who he should choose: his friend or his bride?

    The teenage queen (thinks about their prom night in high-school), the loaded gun (his desires for his friend – we say this about a man that did not cum)
    The drop dead dream (marriage), the Chosen One (the bride)
    A southern drawl (his friend accent), the world unseen (gay world)
    A city wall (a common thing, straight life), a trampoline (a big change - from straight life to gay life)

    Oh well, I don't mind, you don't mind (he would be gay with his friend)
    'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
    Before you jump (after he came to his friend’s house, his friend tells him he needs to get into his house because it is late)
    Tell me what you find (He wants his friend to tell him what he feels)
    When you read my mind (He wants his friend to solve this situation to him)

    Slipping in my faith until I fall (his friend says good-night, he is out of hope)

    Now he is going to her bride’s house, but on his way he calls his friend one last time to say how he felt, but his friend did not answer:

    He never returned that call

    Woman, open the door, don't let it sting
    I wanna breathe that fire again (he wants to be loved, to marry)
    She said, I don't mind, you don't mind (she forgives him)
    'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
    Put your back on me (she says he can count on her)
    Put your back on me
    Put your back on me

    The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun (he is happy again)
    When you read my mind
  • Kathleen1 from Over There, SomewhereI think The magic soaking his spine, sitting in front of his girlfriend's house is what most of feel when we're about to see our significant others.
  • Benji from DentonI think the song is about the myriad of thoughts that run through a person's brain and the frustration of not being able to communicate those thoughts with someone who doesn't understand their perspective. But if that other person could just see exactly what they were thinking.. they'd understand why they are the way they are. Like walking in someone's shoes or switching places with someone.

    Then..

    I pull up to the front of your driveway
    With magic soaking my spine

    Can you read my mind?

    He returns to the house he shared with her, like maybe it was from the past or it was the last time he went there to explain things and the driveway and this location has become something nostalgic or transitional.

    And then he asks if she can read his mind.. but then how could she when he can't even understand his own thoughts in this experience which is a disorienting mix of feeling and emotions that rushes through him and which is the magic in his spine, all the emotions that is.

    So he asks the question with a genuine desire to understand himself and have her on the same page as him, while knowing in reflection that it's beyond human capacity, thus the frustrated sarcasm.

    Anyways, I recently had heard the David Bazan cover which I thought was pretty cool.
  • Ari from Toronto, OnI absolutely agree with Alan & Ash - much of the imagery in the song is vintage Springsteen, and it's a documented fact that The Boss is one of the Killers' central influences.

    Much of Springsteen's stuff (especially his early stuff) deals with growing up in dead-end factory towns, marrying the girl next door and going to work at the mill, your entire life set in stone before you even have a chance to live it. Springsteen repeatedly sung about breaking out of that life, finding the girl and running away, leaving the misery behind.

    This song is really evocative of these Springsteen themes. To wit:

    I never really gave up on
    Breakin' out of this two-star town
    ….
    It's funny how you just break down
    Waiting on some sign…

    The song doesn’t necessarily have a cohesive narrative from beginning to end, but the imagery is of small-town angst is predominant and sharp throughout:

    On the corner of main street
    Just tryin' to keep it in line
    You say you wanna move on, and
    You say I'm falling behind
    …..
    A southern drawl, the world unseen
    A city wall and a trampoline
    ….

    And so on. And finally, how can this line:

    I pull up to the front of your driveway
    With magic soaking my spine

    Not bring this to mind (one of the most poignant Springsteen lines, from Thunder Road):
    And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
    From your front porch to my front seat
    The door's open but the ride ain't free

    If you’re not familiar with them, read the lyrics from songs like Thunder Road, Born To Run and Dancing in The Dark and see if the themes and imagery aren’t mirrored to a great extent by Read My Mind.
  • Jade from San Rafael, CaWell first off, I wanna say that the lyric is "the stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun."

    and referring to the "magic soaking my spine" lyric, which happens to be my favorite, my interpretation of it was that the "magic" is some kind of spiritual enlightenment or saying that he's at peace with himself and his life and he's going to use some of that magic on the person's house he's going to so they can gain some peace in their life too.

    "It's funny how you just break down
    Waiting on some sign
    I pull up to the front of your driveway
    With magic soaking my spine"
  • Anastasia from Kent, United KingdomI entirely disagree about any references to drugs. I understand Flowers is religeous and although I'm not saying its unheard of for him to have dabbled, I don't think drugs would have had a profound enough effect on him to influence his writing. I believe the song is a reference to sacrificing ones happiness and reluctantly letting a loved one move on to pastures new in order to move up in the world (you say you wanna move on and you say i'm falling behind.. Oh well I dont mind if you don't mind, coz I don't shine if you dont shine before you go can you read my mind.. the teenage queen the loaded gun, the drop dead dream the chosen one, a southern drawl a world unseen a city wall and a trampoline.. put your back on me, put your back on me) City wall and a trampoline I take as a reference to breaking out of a 'two star town'. Maybe there is a hope there that the loved one will change her mind by herself (its funny how you just break down, waiting on some sign). I think 'I pull up to the front of your driveway, with magic soaking my spine' is the most beautiful line i've ever heard and I think its just a reference to an all consuming love for someone and excitement of being around them. I could be completely wrong, but the thing I love about Flowers lyrics is that they are meant to be illusive perhaps to intentionally inspire people to believe their own perceptions.
  • J from Sunny Vale, AfghanistanI agree that it is a reference to LSD which affects and can stay in the spine; i may be a double entendre in that it also refers to love; I originally thought it was a reference to magic mushrooms with the allusion to magic and at least the general belief (I couldn't confirm it) that shrooms affect hallucinations through the spine as does LSD; either or I guess.
  • Barb from Philadelphia, PaI actually thought that it was "the stars are blazing like crebel diamonds cut out of the sun". I remember something about crebel or krebel diamonds. Maybe I'm wrong. Who know.

    Anyway, that is my favorite line of the song. This is one of my favs out of all of their songs.
  • Paris from Cardiff, United Kingdomthis one is one the greats ^_^
  • Bob from Las Vegas, NvIt happened in Vegas. Or maybe it was Henderson.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe Killers best song. The riff is mindblowing and the lyrics are striking.
  • Susan from Airdrie, -Tom from Philly, PA, you've hit the nail on the head. Or at least "my" head - LOL. That's exactly how I interpret this song's meaning & I always think of "the one that got away" whenever I hear this song! :)
  • Lolo Brown from Gertrude, Bahamasi think this song is about being misunderstood and wanting more out of life then what you've settled for, like the line: " teenage queen, a loaded gun, a drop dead dream, the chosen one" i think its more about how a person can only be expected to do so much. and like i think theres an element of suicide in the song too because the part "but before you jump, can you read my mind" like even right before a person is about to commit such an act of taking their own life, people are still asking for more from them, like unattainable things such as reading minds. i could be wrong and way off but thats just what i've came to conclude.
  • Logan from Anniston, Alis this just jibberish or do the words actually mean something? not to offend and i really do love this song its one of my favorates. but i just cant come up with a disernable meaning. lol
  • Ted from Chicago, IlAnyone who is a fan of Bruce Springsteen will be able to notice the "Springsteen-esque" lyrical content pervasive not only in this song but throughout Sam's Town
  • Turtle from Nowhere, IcelandThe best song ever and the video is also the best video I have ever seen. I didn't expect them to do a video like that, I thought it would be much more serious but it's perfect. It's so witty somehow. My favorite lines are "it's funny how you just break down" and "woman, open the door..."
  • Tom from Philly, PaThe greatest song to come out in a very long time - at least in this millennium. The best line of the song is "you never returned that call." To me, this sums up the meaning -- he is thinking about a girl that he used to date years ago, and that he hasn't seen since. He is replaying the relationship in his mind, and therefore wondering if she can now "read his mind" which would mean she still thinks of him as well; he knew their time was coming to an end, and the last thing that happened was that she never returned a phone call of his, and they never spoke again. We all have occasional thoughts like this; if not, then you haven't lived.
  • Shelbi from Columbia, MsI love this song! Everything about i reminds me of a friend of mine. "I don't shine if you don't shine." and "Magic soaking my spine." f.y.i.- Magic saoking my spine does NOT refer to LSD, it's that tingly feeling you get when you really love some one.
  • Kate from New York, NyI love this song, which has perhaps my favorite line in 50 years of listening to popular music. "The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds..." is inspired writing, as is the entire song. If we have more such music to look forward to from this band, how great would that be?!? After listening to music this long, I know how unimportant the "meaning" of a song is -- take from it what you wish, that's what art is about.
  • Josh from Woodlawn, Il"I don't shine if you don't shine" melts my heart.
  • Justin from Green Bay, Withe song lyric, "magic soaking my spine" i believe is not a refernce to lsd. although im sure that the band has tried it, does not mean it went into the songwriting. also, if he were to refer it into the song, it wouldnt have been so deliberate. i see this as him just becoming nervous or anxious about the night that will ensue. the tingling feeling in the spine caused by the central nervous system.
  • Omar from Toledo, Ohn what does dripping down your spine have anything to do with "i cant believe im doin this"
  • Susan from Airdrie"With magic soaking my spine is an obvious reference to LSD?" Huh? I don't understand that at all. I just take it as he's really excited and in a sort of "can't believe I'm doing this" state on her driveway. A state of mind, not a drug. I've never been on LSD (thank God), so I wouldn't know what it feels like.
  • Omar from Toledo, Ohthe line "I pull up to the front of your driveway
    with magic soaking my spine" is obviously a reference to LSD.
  • Benjamin from Philadelphia, PaThis song is about a guy whose girlfriend broke up with him but he doesn't want to move on. Or that's atleast what I got out of it. Very depressing.
  • Ash from Mooroopna, AustraliaThe Killers were aiming for a more "Springsteen" sound for this record because they were critisised about "Hot Fuss" being 'too British'
  • Josh from Los Angeles, CaI love This song. I think This is the best song by the Killers.
  • Angel from Los Angeles, CaKatie, the lyrics are "rebel diamonds" not gravel. The lyrics on here are wrong.
  • Alan from Wappingers, NyBrandon Flowers was getting into Springsteen in a big way when they made this album, and this song shows this influence very clearly. Katie is right about it being a break out song. Very much in the spirit of Born to Run, and even more so, Thunder Road.
  • Katie from Tuscaloosa, AlBeautiful song. Love the line "the stars are blazing like gravel diamonds cut out of the sun, can you read my mind?"

    I *think* it goes along with the whole breaking out of some two star town theme that is expressed throughout the album.
  • Josh from San Antonio, TxBut what is the song ABOUT. Its soooo good but I dont know what its about!
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