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22 January 2019

Land of the Free

by Syd Briscoe

The Killers: “Land of the Free” - 4 mins 45s

The Killers have returned with a politically-charged new single - 'Land of the Free'. As the title suggests, the track criticises the the USA of 2019, touching on everything from mass incarceration to gun control.

The lyrics themselves may not be groundbreaking, phrased in simple terms, but this is a situation where context matters. As one of the most famous, most all-American bands of a generation (their frontman is a Mormon, no less), The Killers have a unique opportunity to be listened to by the kind of audience who would turn their noses up at pleas for tolerance and change if they came from minority mouths.

Director Spike Lee's accompanying promo reinforces this self-awareness, as the film consists mainly of footage of families attempting to find a better life by crossing the US-Mexican border. Shots of so-called walls are plentiful, as are pictures of smiling children which remind their detractors that migrants are humans, not a disease.

A powerful final scene sums everything up, juxtaposing a wall fading out into water, a kite flying free and hopeful, and the American flag hung upside down. According to the US Flag Code: "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger." Quite.

Director: Spike Lee

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