"Tranquilize" as written by Brandon Flowers, Dave Brent Keuning, Mark August Stoermer and Ronnie Jr. Vannucci....
Time it tells living in my home town
Wedding bells they begin easy
Live it down, baby don't talk that much
Baby knows, but baby don't tease me
In the park we could go walking
Drowned in the dark or we could go sailing
On the sea

Always here, always on time
Close call, was it love or was it just easy
Money talks when people need shoes and socks
Steady boys, I'm thinking she needs me

I was just sipping on something sweet
I don?t need political process

I got this feeling that they're gonna break down the door
I got this feeling they they're gonna come back for more
See I was thinking that I lost my mind
But it's been getting to me all this time
And it don't stop dragging me down

Silently reflection turns my world to stone
Patiently correction leaves us all alone
And sometimes I'm a travel man
But tonight this engine's failing

I still hear the children playing

Kick the can, kick the can, skip and blackjack
Steal a car and ring a round-rosy
Rock and roll, candyland, bogeyman

Run away and give me your sneakers

Acid rain, when Abel looked up at Cain
We began the weeping and wailing
A hurried high from pestilence pills and pride
It's a shame, we could have gone sailing
But heaven knows
Heaven knows everything
Tranquilize

I got this feeling that they're gonna break down the door
I got this feeling they they're gonna come back for more
See I was thinking that I lost my mind
But it's been getting to me all this time
And it don't stop dragging me down

Silently reflection turns my world to stone
Patiently correction leaves us all alone
And sometimes I'm travel man
But tonight this engine's failing

I still hear the children playing
Dead beat dancers come to us and stay

'Cause I don't care where you've been
And I don't care what you've seen
We're the ones who still believe
And we're looking for a page
In that lifeless book of hope
Where a dream might help you cope
With the Bushes and the bombs
Uh huh, tranquilized


Lyrics submitted by ShotgunXXWedding, edited by emily608

"Tranquilize" as written by Dave Brent Keuning Brandon Flowers

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Tranquilize song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentOkay, DID post a disclaimer at the beginning of this, but it was taken off. These lyrics were compiled by a few of us over at TKC (The Killers Community) and they are nowhere near finished/correct. They will be edited once we get a better version to judge from.

    I haven't had much time to interpret this song, as I'm still in shock. This song has already brought the Killers' success to a higher level...it's genius. Brandon's lyrics always amaze me, but this is so deep, so electrifying. He has never written better. They have never made a more gripping song. I must say that it has the same dark romantic feel from Hot Fuss. I find it interesting that this song fully embodies Hot Fuss and Sam's Town, like I said with the darkness from HF, but also with the heavier rock of ST. ST might've been a walk in the sunshine, but Tranquilize is the epilogue to the story...what happens when the sun goes down on Sam's Town.
    Lou's grave vocals and Brandon's punctuate wails perfectly offset each other...they carrying a this frantic, paranoid feel throughout the track. The children's choir brings that feeling to the next level...it's absolutely haunting. This song was carefully crafted by the boys...it's so obvious. It's gives you a nightmarish feeling, but Lou's part at the end shows the light at the end of the tunnel.
    God, I am so amazed. These boys are meant for greatness...if anyone had a doubt, Tranquilize has surely won them over.
    ShotgunXXWeddingon October 11, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFOR EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN CONFUSED ABOUT THIS SONG, OR CAN’T SEEM TO GRASP THE MEANING, READ BELOW:

    Here you go. I have spent an unbelievable amount of time analyzing this, and I truly think I have unlocked the code.

    *Time it tells living in my home town,
    Wedding bells they begin easy*

    It’s so easy to falsely think you’re in love. When you’re in that crazy stage of dating someone, it’s so easy to imagine yourself spending the rest of your life with them and marrying them (wedding bells.) They come easy.

    *Live it down, baby don’t talk that much,
    Baby knows, but baby don’t tease me*

    The girl he loves is shy and inexperienced, but not stupid. She still knows he likes her. He doesn’t want to be “teased” by her, and led to believe she feels the same way when he doesn’t.

    *In the park we could go walking,
    Drown in the dark or we could go sailing
    On the sea*

    The relationship could go terribly wrong or be a forever harmonious, peaceful thing, such as sailing on the sea. He knows this.

    *Always here, always on time
    Close call, was it love or was it just easy*


    This summed up in the line “Was it love or was it just easy?” These days, people are so scared they aren’t going to find the one, so tired of looking, or so desperate that they take whatever comes along. It may not be “love” but it’s easy, so they settle for it, and give up their higher aspirations. She was there, and he was there, so thus, it happened.

    *Money talks when people need shoes and socks*

    This woman he loves might actually only be with him for his money. Money talks, and she needs shoes and socks (a metaphor for material goods.)

    *Steady boys, I'm thinking she needs me*

    He initially thought that she was using him, and was weary, but now he’s starting to think that she actually needs him, and is scared to believe that…

    *I was just sipping on something sweet
    I don’t need political process*

    Everyone else might think it won’t work, or they aren’t really in love, just because their relationship isn’t conventional. He is sippin on something sweet (love), so he can‘t see the faults in the relationship anyway. There might be things wrong, but at the same time, he doesn’t need a tried and true” process” to tell him that he is in love.

    *I got this feeling that they‘re gonna break down the door
    I got this feeling they they’re gonna come back for more
    See I was thinking that I lost my mind
    But it’s been getting to me all this time
    And it don’t stop dragging me down*


    By “they” he means his old demons… maybe bad habits, maybe doubt and fear…
    He was thinking that he lost his mind, when throughout his life he was filled with worry and paranoia, but now, he realized that his mind Is working perfectly fine, in giving him these thoughts. It just won’t stop nagging him, but now he knows it’s justified in doing so.

    *Silently reflection turns my world to stone
    Patiently correction leaves us all alone
    And sometimes I’m a travel man
    But tonight this engine's failing*


    He has an epiphany. In one sudden moment, his world turns to stone, and he realizes that she doesn’t love him.
    Through reflection, he realizes the relationship isn’t at all what he thought…
    He wants to leave her, and he never usually has trouble leaving women (he’s a travel man.) “Tonight this engine’s failing“, means that he can’t bring himself to leave her though, even if it is all a farce and she is using him. He loves her too much.

    *I still hear the children playing

    Kick the can, kick the can, skip and blackjack
    Steal a car and ring a round-rosey,
    Rock and roll, candyland, boogeyman,
    Run away and give me your sneakers*

    He remembers his messed up childhood, and wonders if that’s why his life is the way it is today. Things were horrible and rough, and it haunts him everyday. He looks for the love in her that he never has received before.

    *Acid rain, when Abel looked up at Cain
    We began the weeping and wailing
    A hurried high from pestilence, pills and pride,
    It’s a shame, we could of gone sailing
    But heaven knows,
    Heaven knows everything
    Tranquilize*

    He looks back on what he was taught, and wonders if this path of in his life (and the rest of the world’s) misery and anger started from Abel and Cain. He killed his brother out of violence, and his parents wept and wailed for their dead son. Thus, we are all meant to be violent, angry, depressed and sad. Because of this predisposed misery, we all seek temporary, quick highs to escape the sadness. We sometimes achieve these from pestilence, pills, and pride.

    By It’s a shame, we could have gone sailing, he means that we all could choose to “sail” and go down the road of happiness, yet we never do. More specifically, he and his lover could have “gone sailing” (been truthful, happy and peaceful), yet their misery prevented them from doing so.
    SweetnessKittyon November 14, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song will be the death of me x_x

    I did a freaking English paper analyzing this song, and while my theory of the meaning has proof, it's still not guaranteed that I'm right...I did go with the whole politics/violence/culture thing, by the way.

    They're just too smart. Every single one of these theories could fit perfectly. That's what makes a well written song.

    And what makes it even BETTER is the fact that even though we don't know what the hell they're talking about sometimes or how it connects, it STILL gives us the shivers and is rated in the top 5 of our Killers songs and makes us realize the depth of things.

    And that's all I have to say about that.
    steelblue71on September 05, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBefore I say anything, I just want to assure people that I am respectful of personal interpretation and am not trying to impose a meaning on you.

    1. I HIGHLY doubt that "the Bushes and the bombs" is referring to George W. Bush. I am by NO means a Bush supporter, but it would not be very elegant of Flowers to just openly criticize Bush, and Brandon is a prudent man. The Killers have a reputation for not just coming out and saying what things mean, so I don't think that they would blatantly insult the Bush administration, it is probably a little deeper that. For instance, it's pretty widely accepted that there are tons of Biblical allusions in this song, right? The Burning Bush. "They" need something to "help them cope" with the unrepeated miracles (unanswered prayers) and bombs (strife in the world and humanity). The Burning Bush could be seen by these people as a tease. A hint of God, but no help when bombs are flying.

    2. This song was NOT written by Lou Reed. A direct quote from Dave Keuning (the guitarist) in an interview with Q Magazine is, "We asked [Lou Reed] to work on 'Tranquilize' with us. We sent him the track and he said yes." So obviously, it was composed by Brandon and Reed was asked to collaborate.
    CainXAbelon June 22, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh God! How I do love this song. It gets better everytime you listen to it .
    indieroknrollvictimon October 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSweetnesskitty that was amazing thanks so much for that. I haven't made my own interpretation yet but I shall post it when I do. Much of what you said I will probably agree with when I think about it, particularly the Abel and Cain verse, but there are a few things I think I will disagree on, such as the children part.

    Just a quick thought. The title- 'tranquilize' also could be split to be 'tranquil eyes'. As if when children, you see the world through tranquil eyes, meaning that you are naive and innocent to the political problems the world faces, but as you mature you realise the issues and your world sometimes just turns to stone at how chilling some shit is...x
    jessdenon November 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLong time music purveyor, but this is my first post to this site. Just needed to share my ideas on what this song is about.

    I'll split it up verse by verse, because I think the lyrics have to be taken as close to whole as possible to really give a proper meaning. I've also modified some of the sentence structure to what I think was intended:

    * Time it tells, living in my home town;
    * wedding bells, they begin easy.
    * Live it down, baby don’t talk that much.
    * Baby knows, but baby don’t tease me.
    * In the park, we could go walking;
    * Drown in the dark, or we could go sailing
    * On the sea

    This is about sweet beginnings. The "time it tells" line is indicative of sour times to come, and that's only further solidified by the idea that wedding bells "begin easy," as though we knew things would eventually change. There's a kind of naivete to the possibility of darker times or serious political issues dealt with in places other than here, and as the decadence dawns on "my hometown," we "live it down," and "don't talk that much" about the problems pervading. "Baby knows" that there's something seriously wrong happening, "but baby don't tease me," I think they're using the definition of tease that means "to pester or vex," as in they know there's something wrong, but they permit my ignorance, like mutually beneficial blind eyes to the world's evils; so long as these issues don't affect me or my life, life is good.

    The whole verse gives this impression that our narrator understands what's going on, and it could bother him, but he chooses not to deal with it. Those around him permit and encourage this approach, perhaps because they expect the same of him in return.

    * Always here, always on time;
    * close call, was it love or was it just easy?
    * Money talks when people need shoes and socks,
    * Steady boys, I'm thinking she needs me.
    * I was just sipping on something sweet
    * I don’t need political process

    Here you get this notion of someone who can't be bothered with the aforementioned greater issues "when people need shoes and socks." So long as our narrator is "always here, always on time," he feels that that's all that's required of him in life. The "close call" line, I think is the turning point of the song, wherein he begins to realize this metaphorical circlejerk that's pervading his home town. He asks if it was love, or "just easy" to live his life in a closed circle and only mind the issues that affect him and his family.

    The line, "steady boys," and the lyric that follows I feel are bonded by this notion that, once again, it's hard to answer or go against the proverbial call-to-arms. I see it as, "I can't participate in this global issue, because my wife needs me and my children need clothes."

    * I got this feeling that they‘re gonna break down the door
    * I got this feeling they they’re gonna come back for more
    * See I was thinking that I lost my mind
    * But it’s been getting to me all this time
    * And it don’t stop dragging me down

    Continuing the previous path of thought, these feelings of impending doom are impacting our narrator. He's trying hard to fight against the feelings, but to no avail, they "don't stop dragging me down."

    * Silently reflection turns my world to stone
    * Patiently correction leaves us all alone
    * And sometimes I’m a travellin' man
    * But tonight this engine's failing

    I think this line is telling us that he's starting to not be able to cope with these thoughts he's been trying to hard to hide from himself. His self-reflection is leaving him somber and isolated from others who'd rather continue with their own routines. Normally, he can travel elsewhere, away from the issues, somewhere he can pretend they don't exist. But tonight, it's become hard for him to run away from his problems, and he's stuck in the harsh reality of his own "stone world."

    * I still hear the children playing

    * Kick the can, kick the can, skip and blackjack;
    * steal a car and ring-around-rosey;
    * rock and roll, candyland, boogeyman;
    * run away and give me your sneakers!

    Standard child hood fare mixed in with the effect of world issues on their impressionable minds. Acts of aggression and juvenile tendencies, along with fearful thoughts (i.e. the "boogeyman") interspersed with their childhoods shows that the global issues are reaching and affecting them.

    * Acid rain, when Abel looked up at Cain
    * We began the weeping and wailing
    * A hurried high from pestilence, pills and pride,
    * It’s a shame, we could of gone sailing
    * But heaven knows,
    * Heaven knows everything
    * Tranquilize

    Cain and Abel is a classic story, considered to be the first act of injustice by man against man. I think this is the first real indication from our narrator that the problems he's dealing with are man-made, and the evils of the world inflicted on us by each other are what's keeping us from living our lives happily, hence "it's a shame, we could have gone sailing."

    * I still hear the children playing;
    * dead-beat dancers come to us and stay.

    The "dead-beat dancers" of the world are those who live in the learned ignorance our narrator despises more and more each day.

    * Cause I don’t care where you've been,
    * and I don’t care what you've seen.
    * We’re the ones who still believe,
    * and we’re looking for a page
    * in that lifeless book of hope
    * where a dream might help you cope,
    * When the Bush's and the bombs...
    * uh-huh, tranquilized.

    This is pretty self-explanatory when compared to the rest of the song. It has a somber mood to it, and I think based on the rest of my interpretation of the song, that he does mean "Bush's," as in the U.S. president and others like him, who feel that there ever is a justification for war (i.e. the continuation of the legacy of Cain and Abel and man's injustice to man.) It's definitely a departure for Flowers to name somebody directly in a song, but I think he wanted to leave no room for interpretation what he meant, and he saved the lyric for last so that it remains with a person long after they listened.

    Hopefully all of that made sense and was helpful.
    everymanon November 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI hate to break it to you "Bhudomint", but the real ignorance in this discussion is in the fact that you come onto a site that is completely, 100% about individuals' opinions and interpretations, and you tell people that they are wrong.
    Silvan7on January 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdoes anyone else think that the reference to drowning could be referring to "Jennifer/Jenny" (From Jenny was a friend of mine/ midnight show) who died in a water accident following "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf"?
    randomjenon June 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment^^^^^I thought it was about religion aswel.
    the whole cain and abel thing, "heaven knows heaven knows everything" "the lifeless book of hope" and maybe even the "bushes" (could be the burning bush but probably not) all point towards religion
    minimark157on October 06, 2008   Link

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