The Killers are starting out 2019 by sending an important message in the best way they know how — through song. The rock group shared a powerful new track Monday morning (Jan. 14), titled “Land of the Free,” which addresses the irony of America’s nickname in a time when the country feels rather divided by tragedy.
Killers frontman Brandon Flowers shared a lengthy message about the song’s inspiration, explaining that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012 was the first incident that sparked the idea. “In the months and years that followed, America would be hit with an onslaught of more mass shootings of innocents and too many examples of racial injustice to ignore,” he wrote. “After some self education and soul searching…I couldn’t help but sit down and commit how I was feeling into a song.”
The track begins with a haunting piano riff, with only Flowers’ voice telling his own American tale on the song’s first verse before a choir joins on the chorus. It’s a chilling combination that becomes even more striking as Flowers continues, delivering sentiments like the anthemic bridge: “So how many daughters?/ Tell me how many sons/ Do we have to put in the ground/ Before we just break down and face it?/ We’ve got a problem with guns/ In the land of the free.”
“Land of the Free” premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show, during which Flowers admitted he felt “inadequate” for a song as powerful as this, but after tragedy continued to strike (especially the shooting in his hometown of Las Vegas in 2017), he knew he had to put it out. Though Flowers has never been one to shy away from passion in his vocals, it’s easy to tell that “Land of the Free” is important to the singer — and is easily one of The Killers’ most affecting tracks yet.
Along with the track, The Killers released the video for “Land of the Free,” which was directed by Spike Lee. The Oscar-winning director filmed the video in late 2018, capturing heartbreaking, yet moving images of migrant families traveling to the U.S./Mexico border making their way towards “the land of the free.”
Watch the “Land of the Free” video and take a look at Flowers’ message on Instagram below.