Valerie Pavilonis

Dear Britt,

The Killers are killing me. Let me explain.

Last night, my friends and I went party hopping. Our first destination, a Stiles pregame, was a good old college time; someone put on “Mr. Brightside,” and we all jumped up and down and sang as if we had emerged from the womb singing “Coming out of my cage, and I’ve been doing just fine.” Then we went to a JE suite party and found ourselves dancing to that crazy 2004 hit again. Fast-forward to the end of the night and we had heard the song five times (we only went to four parties, but at the last party, some fools said, “Let’s play it again!”). Now I’m stuck in a jam, and my stomach is sick — and don’t tell me it’s all in my head.

The other day, I was strolling through LC when I heard a blast of sound: iconic “Mr. Brightside” lyric, “But she’s touching his chest now/He takes off her dress now” coming from a classroom. I peeked inside to see what was up and found my friend Laurence sitting at a table, reading a book. “You should probably turn that down a little, Laurence,” I said.

“Turn what down?” he said.

He obviously wasn’t on the right wavelength, so I continued about my day. All was well until I sat down for my astro midterm and I heard “I never” ringing throughout the auditorium. I glanced at the kids next to me and rolled my eyes; they looked deeply confused. That’s when it hit me — I was being haunted by “Mr. Brightside.”

Since then, I’ve sporadically heard fragments of “Mr. Brightside” throughout each day. Sometimes, it’s almost the whole song; other times, it’s just a line or two. Most frightening, for sure, was the time I lay down for bed and heard the singular word “alibis” blaring all around me.

I know you’re Yale’s premier expert on both The Killers and supernatural troubleshooting, so I’m coming to you for help. Is there anything that I can do to break out of this living death

Sincerely,

“Doing JUST FINE”

****

Dear “Doing JUST FINE,”

First things first: Don’t burn your Hot Fuss record. I know it’s tempting, but the smell of the burning vinyl will summon the “Mr. Brightside” remix demons, and if there’s anything you don’t want right now, it’s the sound of “doing JUST FINE” on a loop with dubstep noises in the background. Don’t completely eschew The Killers, either. I understand the urge to lock yourself in a Bass Library cubicle and put Spring Fling 2019 headliner Lil Uzi Vert on repeat, but that won’t solve the problem. You’ve got to get to the root here.

As you’ve probably puzzled out by now, the songs on Hot Fuss have magical properties. “Mr. Brightside” is the most powerful by far. This is why it hasn’t left the U.K. charts since its release, and why you’ve heard it at every party you’ve attended on campus. Legend has it that the titular “Mr. Brightside” is a spooky desert wizard that the Killers met in a Las Vegas casino in 2003; this is an apocryphal theory and should be regarded with suspicion. The true source of the song’s danger is its repetition, which alas, only reinforces the dastardly hex you’ve been dealing with. The same verse twice, followed by four “I never”’s? That’s what you call “cooking up trouble.”

Luckily, the other songs on Hot Fuss have their charms (literally). “Somebody Told Me” is what we want to deal with here; it has the sacred ability to reverse all Killers-related curses. You can’t just play it once and expect your issues to disappear, though; there’s a process you’ve got to follow, handily encoded within the song’s cryptic lyrics by vocalist Brandon Flowers (thanks, Brandon!). Hence, I present The Ritual.

1) Put “Somebody Told Me” on at max volume.

2) Stop blinking. It is imperative that you do not blink during The Ritual, in accordance with the lyric, “Anything goes, but don’t blink; you might miss.”

3) Move all sharp and breakable objects out of the room; flail throughout the 20-second instrumental intro.

4) Spin around 17 times in accordance with the lyric, “17 tracks and I’ve had it with this game.”

5) Throughout the remainder of the song, rush around the room in accordance with the lyric, “Rushin’ and rushin’ around.”

Thus, the curse is lifted. You should stop experiencing symptoms within 24 hours, but be aware that you might find yourself grappling with some nasty side effects along the way. You will hear sporadic bursts of “Somebody Told Me” ringing in your ears, much as you did with “Mr. Brightside.” I’ve heard that the “Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight (hoo hoo)” part is especially pesky. Expect to hear “It’s not confidential, I’ve got potential” a few times, too. Don’t worry about listening to other Killers records; they are completely harmless.

Good luck! I hope my response has opened up your eager eyes.

Happy flailing,

Britt

Brittany Menjivar | brittany.menjivar@yale.edu .