"All These Things That I've Done" as written by Brandon Flowers, Dave Brent Keuning, Mark August Stoermer and Ronnie Jr. Vannucci....
When there's nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
One more son
If you can hold on
If you can hold on, hold on
I want to stand up, I want to let go
You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
I want to shine on in the hearts of men
I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand

Another head aches, another heart breaks
I am so much older than I can take
And my affection, well it comes and goes
I need direction to perfection, no no no no

Help me out
Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
You know you got to help me out

And when there's nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son
These changes ain't changing me
The cold-hearted boy I used to be

Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
You know you got to help me out
You're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down

I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier

Yeah, you know you got to help me out
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
You know you got to help me out
You're gonna bring yourself down
You're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down

Over and again, last call for sin
While everyone's lost, the battle is won
With all these things that I've done
All these things that I've done
(Time, truth, hearts)
If you can hold on
If you can hold on


Lyrics submitted by K-nuxXx, edited by phoebe9261, ARampaginWalrus

"All These Things That I've Done" as written by Brandon Flowers, Dave Brent Keuning, Mark August Stoermer, Ronnie Jr. Vannucci

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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All These Things That I've Done song meanings
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  • +8
    General Commenti'm thinking something along the lines of religion as well. it seems like someone finding religion again after losing faith in it for awhile and becoming embittered by life.

    When there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son
    One more son
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on, hold on

    He's at the end of his rope here and he's trying to re-connect with god in a moment of despair and desperation (kinda like how when we all get in deep shit we go "please god just do this one thing and i'll be good i promise", even if we might not mean it), hence the "is there room for one more son?" Then he's just telling himself to hang in there and keep having faith even if things aren't getting better.

    I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
    You know, you know - no you don't, you don't

    Again he's angsting about how miserable his life is, how he wants to either let go of life or religion. He doubts if anyone (even god) can relate to his problems, hence "you know...no you don't."
    The next couple lines are basically saying how he always aspired to so much more than he turned out and about how life is crappy in general for everyone.

    Help me out
    Yeah, you know you got to help me out
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
    You know you got to help me out, yeah

    I think here he's addressing god again, asking Him not to just to sit back and let bad things happen.

    These changes ain't changing me
    The cold-hearted boy I used to be

    I think these lines refer to how he's trying to turn things around in his life and that he's not proud of the things he's done in the past (either being an asshole or losing his religion or both).

    I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
    I got soul, but I'm not a soldier

    This is my favorite part. It's just so powerful--especially when the choir joins in. Going with the religious theme, this could refer to how he's not a "soldier of god" ie he's never been very religious, or just how he has never been what society considers a "heroic, righteous" type in his life, but that even so he still matters, and he still wants to be a good man.

    Overall i would say this song is about redemption and second chances. organized religion has always made me uneasy, but the whole "re-connecting with god" theme was what jumped out at me most.
    brideonfireon July 01, 2005   Link
  • +7
    General CommentThis is a song about a person who has a ton of passion but no direction. He wants to do something and has strong beliefs but for some reason he can't get off his ass because he's feels like he's being pulled in too many different directions. He's got soul (passion) but not a soldier (does not join the fight). He feels like time is running out and people are giving up on him. I like the fact that they titled the song "All these things that I have done" yet all he talks about in the song is what he wants to do. He's all talk, no action. A great song along the same lines as this one is Ocean Size by Jane's Addiction. "I wanna be more like the ocean, no talking man all action"
    angryroboton September 22, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think this is a plea to God for help…he feels that he’s don’t wrong and his life isn’t turning out the way he hoped….he’s not the person he wants to be and he wants help…theres kind of a desperate feel to this song. He’s kind of making a statement about life…he wants to be remembered for being a good man. This song is awesome! Brandon’s lyric ability is amazing, go the killers!! What are others opinions on this?
    Rizoon June 22, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is indeed about a spiritual crisis, and what brideonfire writes about is accurate about the basic attitude of the singer and what they're reflecting about. It's also explicitly Christian.

    "One more Son" refers to Jesus, the Son of God.

    "when there's nowhere else to run / is there room for one more son?" is asking if someone who feels like they're out of options has room for Jesus in their heart.

    "shine on in the hearts of men" is a Biblical reference ("For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." - 2 Cor.4). There's also a phrase that is translated similarly in more modern translations of the Bible in Matthew 5:16 where Jesus is preaching for his followers to shine in the hearts of others.

    Going down this path, "back of my broken hand" can easily be taken to be Jesus' hand, broken by the nail of the Crucifixion.

    "don't put me on the backburner" is suggesting one will get lost if you're ignoring Jesus, and if you do, "you're gonna bring yourself down" i.e. become lost.

    "over and out, last call for sin" refers to Armageddon. During the Second Coming, the only people who are left are unrepentant sinners (lost), then the battle is won - "while everyone's lost, the battle is won". Even despite the sins ("all these things that I've done") you still win if you've kept the faith ("if you can hold on").

    I agree with brideonfire's readings of the "cold-hearted boy" and "I got soul but I'm not a soldier" lines - that the singer isn't a soldier of the Church but still has belief in something that he's trying to sort out.

    "time, truth, and hearts" is a reference to Psalm 69, verse 13. Psalm 69 is plea for help to God from a repentant sinner. The story arc of Psalm 69 is very similar to the arc of "All These Things That I've Done." One of the claims at the end is that the sinner will praise God in song.
    sawallon July 06, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is about a man who keeps breaking up with people and breaking their hearts, not because he's a bad person, but because there's a limit to how much he can feel. I know this seems like a stretch at first, and sort of a panzy interpretation.. However, everything fits with this theme, for me anyways.. and I think some of the lines are brilliant.

    When there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son
    One more son
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on, hold on

    - for me these lyrics are explained more later…

    I wanna stand up, I wanna let go

    - wants to do the right thing

    You know, you know - no you don't, you don't

    - not sure what that is, keeps thinking he knows, and then a thought or feeling contradicts what he thought it was. Could also be that people think they know that he’s a good person, but really they don’t, because they don’t know how ruthless he is in his feelings sometimes (inside).

    I wanna shine on in the hearts of men

    - wants to be a good person. Wants to be someone he would admire…

    I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand

    - wants to learn something from all the past-failed relationships, and everything else that he’s done that has hurt other people (this problem goes beyond relationships)


    Another head aches, another heart breaks
    I am so much older than I can take

    - he’s getting older, and nothing seems different.. he keeps hurting people (and subsequently himself), and he’s accumulating baggage and it’s wearing him out

    And my affection, well it comes and goes

    - this is one of the main problems. Sometimes he cares, and other times he doesn’t. And when he doesn’t care on an emotional level, he does on an intellectual, or is at least aware that he should care.

    I need direction to perfection, no no no no

    - and then he thinks maybe he just hasn’t met the right one. A person that will live up to all his expectations.. he needs to just keep going in that direction, looking for the perfect mate that he will have affection for and not want to leave… but then he thinks about some of the people who have came before, and how good they were, and himself, and how he is imperfect, and thinks that’s not it.. another contradiction (you know, you know, no you don’t)

    Help me out
    Yeah, you know you got to help me out
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
    You know you got to help me out, yeah

    -This might seem like he’s making a plea to someone else to not ignore him, and help him out. But I don’t think that’s it. I think this is his problem, his inability to get close to person, to become emotionally connected on a deeper level… making the plea. In other words, he’s making a plea to himself, saying not to ignore the problem anymore.

    And when there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son

    - when he has no idea what to do, is there room for a confused child, who has nothing figured out, who makes mistakes.

    These changes ain't changing me
    The cold-hearted boy I used to be

    - he remembers when he was younger , and he was completely cold-hearted and that he’s gradually realized it, and thought he was growing from it, but, he’s still the same cold-hearted person, the only difference is that he realizes it.

    Yeah, you know you got to help me out
    Yeah, oh don't you put me on the backburner
    You know you got to help me out, yeah
    You're gonna bring yourself down
    Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down
    Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down

    - don’t ignore this, even it hurts, even it’s hard to face it, don’t just hope it goes away, and go on to the next relationship and hope that one will be different, figure out what the problem is now. “bring yourself down!” let it depress it you if it has to, and fix it.


    I got soul, but I'm not a soldier (x10)

    - with the war in Iraq, when this first came out, I thought it related to that. But, for me now, it just seems to be him saying that he cares about being cold-hearted and hurting people (“I got soul”, or “I have a soul”), but he’s not able to do a good job, make the right decisions, stand in line, his heart waivers and drifts. He’s not good at this.

    (Time, truth and hearts)

    - to me, throwing this in, is sort of a clue that the song is really about this stuff, rather than a more general theme, although the lyrics can easily be interpreted many ways.

    Over and out, last call for sin
    While everyone's lost, the battle is won
    With all these things that I've done
    All these things that I've done
    (Time, truth and hearts)
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on

    - keep trying? With the hope that he will eventually learn what the problem is, even if he ends up hurting more people. Or, even if he ends up losing everyone that cares about him, at least, in the end, hopefully, he’ll understand why.
    oxejinon February 01, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI am quite the science and math nerd, and interpreting art has always been difficult for me. But the first time I heard this song I knew it was just amazing and had such a deeper meaning than the rest of the mess out there.

    Anyways, my favorite books to read are war-based fiction. Examples include All Quiet on the Western Front and A Farewell to Arms. So when I heard this song it imediately made me think of all of the war books I have read over the years.

    War is a horrible experience, especially if you are a soldier out there on the front doing all of the dangerous work. The soldier can't run away from the war, although he really wants to(when there's no where else to run). He desperately desires to go home to his family, since all of the boys on the front are sons of their parents sitting at home waiting their arrival(is there room for one more son). He is trying to hold on to his sanity and be able to cope with the troubles of war. He wants to get up and leave(I want to stand up, I want to let go), and everyone on the home front doesn't know the troubles he is experiencing and can't fully interpret his hardships(you know no you don't)The soldier wants to do something honorable(I want to shine on in the hearts of men), and all of his pains and ailments aren't going to stop him(back of my broken hand)

    the head aches and heart breaks are associated with pains from injuries due to war and the death of fellow soldiers. he feels that he has been forced to grow up fast because of being thrown into the war(i'm so much older than I can take) . Also it is hard for the soldier to love anymore, because on the front all you know is to destroy(and my affection, well it comes and goes) the soldier calls to God for help through this period(i need direction to perfection)

    the help me out chorus is a plea to God to see the soldier through this painful period in his life. He doesn't want God to forget about his life and how important it is to the soldier(don't you put me on the back burner)

    the soldier is now being defiant, say that "these changes ain't changing me, the gold-hearted boy I used to be" say that something so destructive and filled with hate like war isn't going to take the love and passion out of his heart.

    the "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" means the soldier isn't a boy filled with love and desires the secular aspects of life that normal people have, not plauged by the destruction of war. He feels that he is unfit to be a soldier fighting for a cause he doesn't believe in.

    the soldier knows his life is on the line, and he could die any moment and won't be able to kill more people in the war which he feels is for the wrong reasons (over and in, last call for sin) the soldier realizes that all war is is hate and destruction(when everybody's lost, the battle is won) and he realizes that he has participated in this horrific act (with all these things that I've done) "if you can hold on" is a plea for the soldier to try and grasp on to life, not to give up and die. maybe if the soldier can remain sane and persevere through such a hard period in his life, he can make it through the war and back home wear he wants to be

    By the way this has nothing to do with the war in Iraq, just any war period. Like I said this is just my interpretation, and I absolutely love how this song can morph into so many meanings to so many different people.
    Adavidson01on April 16, 2006   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationTo me, this song has always been about struggling to find your place in the world and finally achieving success ("the battle is won with all these things that I've done")
    I'll try to give my interpretation to every verse:

    "When there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son
    One more son
    If you can hold on
    If you can hold on, hold on"

    The author is trying to find his place in the world, since we only have this world and "there's nowhere else to run".

    "I want to stand up, I want to let go
    You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
    I want to shine on in the hearts of men
    I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand"

    He wishes to be happy, forget the failures he's been through and actually get to do something he'll be remembered for ("shine on in the hearts of men"). He wants to find a purpose for his hard work (->"broken hand") but he feels useless, like he'll never do anything worth remembering, in the end.

    "Another head aches, another heart breaks
    I am so much older than I can take
    And my affection, well it comes and goes
    I need direction to perfection, no no no no
    Help me out!
    Yeah you know you've got to help me out
    Yeah oh don't you put me on a backburner"

    He starts to feel bad, he's anxious, he feels like there's not enough time to realize his dreams, that's why he can't stand how old he's already got. He's so disappointed at life and downhearted that he sometimes can't even feel affection for anyone or anything, and he wishes someone could help him. He's also afraid to be forgotten and "put on the backburner", he wants his chance to shine.

    "And when there's nowhere else to run
    Is there room for one more son
    These changes ain't changing me
    The cold-hearted boy I used to be"

    Well, there's not much to explain here, actually :D
    Though the world changes he still stays the same, a "cold hearted" person, maybe also 'cause he doesn't trust much other people and he feels misunderstood around them.

    "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier"

    I believe it's a way to say "I have a lot to offer inside of me, I want to stand out of the crowd and finally be able to be myself and do something great, but I don't think I'm strong enough to achieve success".
    Now, the only words I couldn't adjust in this interpretation were "Last call for sin. While everyone's lost..."
    And then there's "Time, Truth, Hearts" that, I believe, are the things you need to get to your goal. "Truth" because you have to be true to who you are, I guess.

    I don't know, I've always identified myself in this song, basically 'cause I'm just 16 and I don't know where I'll end up yet. :) And there are times in which I already feel the pressure of time flowing, and my life gets slowly shorter and shorter... Someday, I hope I'll "win my battle", too :D

    Anyway, I hope my contribution will be useful, sorry for any possible mistakes, since I am Italian I'm not that good at expressing myself in English. :)
    LGamgeeon April 20, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song can be interpreted in many ways, but the way I interpret it is the way that I believe Brandon Flowers meant for it to be. Brandon was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons. In the Mormon faith there is the option for worthy young men to serve on a mission, which is to preach the gospel to various regions of the world. Brandon however did not serve a mission, from unworthiness or from choice, and regrets that decision. When it says is there room for one more son he is implying about life after death. The song portrays how many people feel about sin and forgiveness, he feels as if all these things he has done will prevent him from returning to his father in heaven. Also, by saying that "I want to shine in the hearts of man," further concludes the interpretation that this is about a mission, seeing as the prophet of the church has said "go forth and shine in the hearts of men" whilst talking about missions. In addition to that, later in the song it keeps repeating "I got soul but I'm not a soldier." That statement right there is implying that Brandon does indeed believe in the Mormon religion, but he could not get himself to go forth and serve a mission, as a soldier of God. Perhaps this is entirely wrong, but this is my interpretation of the song... Maybe it is because this is applying to my life right now. I am currently deciding on whether or not to serve a mission. And listening to this song makes me want to go.
    ryrytheguyon April 25, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTHis song makes me so happy i can't belive it. I'll play it and i'll just wanna dance and sing along its just an amazing feeling and i love this cd and the killers i just love them so much there my favorite band EVER!!
    iloverock666on June 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo it's actually "gold-hearted boy" FWIW.
    sawallon July 07, 2005   Link

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