Amidst protests against police brutality and the coronavirus quarantine life, people have started finding new meaning in the lyrics to The Killers’ early song about getting cheated on.
Perhaps you know “Mr. Brightside” as a go-to karaoke selection for anyone looking to release some serious angst. Or maybe you just imagine Cameron Diaz iconically dancing to the song while holding a glass of red wine in The Holiday. But however you knew “Mr. Brightside,” your views on the song are about to change.
In 2020, the jam has jokingly become an anthem for anti-cop sentiments and states lifting quarantine restrictions. And honestly? Once you think about the song in those contexts, there’s really no going back.
It’s been nearly two decades since “Mr. Brightside” was released, and the entire song still remains a bop. But now, specific lyrics like, “Now I’m falling asleep and she’s calling a cab,” and “I’m coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine” are being highlighted for closely reflecting today’s reality.
Now she’s calling ACAB
Since May 25, when George Floyd was killed after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, protests have spread around the world. As more and more people call to defund the police, the acronym ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) is growing in popularity.
As you’ve probably figured out, ACAB just so happens to sound nearly identical to the words, “a cab.” So now, fans of “Mr. Brightside” are re-imagining the song lyrics to say, “Now I’m falling asleep, and she’s calling ACAB.”
Mr. Rightside (of history)
— . . . (@iGoeeey) June 6, 2020
The Killers snapped when they wrote Mr.Brightside and said “now i”m falling asleep, and she’s calling ACAB”
— metro station boomin (@ChrisMustard) June 6, 2020
The Killers Tweet “Now I’m falling asleep and she’s calling ACAB” Challenge
— Nicole Gallucci (@nicolemichele5) June 15, 2020
For those of you looking for an even more perfect ACAB anthem from The Killers, there just so happens to be a version of “Mr. Brightside” on YouTube that repeats the “and she’s calling a cab” lyric over and over again for the remainder of the song.
Though The Killers have yet to weigh in on the edited song lyric, the band notably broke its long, publicly neutral stance on politics after Trump took office.
The Killers’ got openly political in their fifth album, Wonderful Wonderful, and in a 2017 interview with NME, band members shared their feelings about President Trump.
“You cannot say you’re not affected by politics, it’s seeped its way through. It seems inconceivable that Trump is gonna accomplish all of it and it’s a bunch of bullshit for lack of a better word,” The Killers frontman, Brandon Flowers, told NME. “It sounds terrible that this person was elected, but I got to believe that he’s either gonna get impeached or in three years he’ll be replaced by someone better.”
In 2019, during the longest government shutdown in American history — when Trump was trying to figure out funding for his dream border wall —The Killers also released a timely video for a song called “Land Of The Free.” Lyrics and visuals address gun control, immigrants, racism, and white privilege, and it was quite a statement from the band.
Though specific “Mr. Brightside” lyrics are being embraced online in an anti-cop meme, that’s not the only reason the song is relevant again. People are also referencing the lyrics, “I’m coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine” from a quarantine standpoint.
The stages of “Mr. Brightside” during quarantine
For those who have been stuck in the house for months and aren’t necessarily doing just fine, hearing “Mr. Brightside” in quarantine is a bit painful. Others, however, are deriving joy from imagining just how hard they will dance to the song when they finally return to a bar or club and hear it blasting.
I’m not coming out of my cage nor am I doing just fine
— glamorous reptile (@glamoureptile) April 10, 2020
Mr. Brightside hits different when you’re stuck in quarantine. I’m not coming out of my cage bro, and I’m not doing just fine.
— therecoveringproblemchild (@MemeDaddyBae) March 29, 2020
The end of quarantine will be like Mr. Brightside except I will be coming out of my cage and not be doing just fine
— danielle (@DaniiMarie_13) April 24, 2020
Mr.Brightside is about to hit 10 times harder after the quarantine is over.
— w a v y d a v y (@serranod39) April 27, 2020
post-quarantine Mr. Brightside playing at a bar is gonna slap harder than ever
— Charlie Gers🌐 (@CharlieGers) May 3, 2020
Mr. Brightside is going to hit so different at bars and clubs once they open up again
— Korey (@koreyk0) May 3, 2020
When the coronavirus really started to raise concern back in March and everyone was diligently washing their hands for at least 20 seconds while singing songs like “Happy Birthday to You” to time themselves, The Killers got in on the trend. Much to the delight of fans, the band tweeted a video of Flowers singing “Mr. Brightside” while lathering and rinsing his hands.
“Mr. Brightside” has been meme’d for years, but in 2020 — as America descends into chaos — the lyrics and timely memes almost feel more relatable than ever. If you need us, we’ll be listening to “Mr Brightside but she’s calling a cab” on repeat and anxiously awaiting an ACAB tweet from The Killers.