I did my best to notice
When the call came down the line
Up to the platform of surrender
I was broad but I was kind
And sometimes I get nervous
When I see an open door
Close your eyes
Clear your heart

Cut the cord

[Chorus]
Are we human?
Or are we denser?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I'm on my knees
Looking for the answer
Are we human?
Or are we dancer?

Pay my respects to grace and virtue
Send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance
They always did the best they could
And so long to devotion
You taught me everything I know
Wave goodbye
Wish me well

You got to let me go

[Chorus]

Will your system be alright
When you dream of home tonight?
There is no message we're receiving
Let me know is your heart still beating?

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?
My sign is vital
My hands are cold
And I'm on my knees
Looking for the answer

You got to let me know

[Chorus]

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?

Are we human
Or are we dancer?



Lyrics submitted by poorlilrockstar, edited by loveontape, arewehuman, xdriver, gman10001, SwingDaddy, MycroftJr, bckyltylr, Lukeonia1, windrider, bushybushbob

"Human" as written by Brandon Flowers, Dave Brent Keuning, Mark August Stoermer, Ronnie Jr. Vannucci

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Human song meanings
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345 Comments

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  • +25
    General Comment:This is an intriguing track. Although not as strong lyrically as others, still the Killers provoke thought.

    I think the imagery speaks of 'dancers' as almost like 'puppets'. Brandon is speaking of letting go, "platform of surrender" "cut the cord" "close your eyes, clear your heart" This "letting go" is to cease to be "Human" because he no longer has life, (eyes closed, cleared heart) and he feels like a "Dancer", a puppet on strings.

    The puppet versus human contrast is throughout. To be human is to have life and choice. To be dancer is to be controlled by strings or "cords"

    He uses a play on words, instead of "vital signs" his "signs are vital" and "my hands are cold", i.e. lifeless, he is lifeless, and reading his signs are vital in knowing what he really is. He goes on to "say goodbye" to everything (soul and romance, etc), embarking into that "open door"

    Like a slouched puppet, he's on his knees. Puppets have no strength in their legs. Yet he wants to "be let go" and to "cut the cord" could refer to losing his strings and being freed from control, no longer being a puppet. Or it could refer to no longer being human. If you "cut the cord", you pull life support on someone. In mythology, The Fates, "cut your cord" and you die, no longer with the life that makes one Human.

    The great thing about this song is I can't figure out if he decided he is "human" or "dancer" and maybe he hasn't decided either, "Am I human....or am I dancer."

    Great song after a couple of listens, gotta love the Killers.
    Icarus Fixiuson September 23, 2008   Link
  • +6
    My Interpretation:Interpretation of "Human" performed by The Killers
    by Matthew W. Tallman

    Note of Understanding
    ---------------------
    My interpretation consists of 3 parts (Lyric Segment, Breakdown, Application) where the lyrics

    are quoted, then broke down to find the meaning based on the words or word associations.

    Lastly, an attempt will be made to apply the lyrics to real world examples, the actual

    interpretation.

    General Comment
    ---------------
    Firstly, this song caught my attention the first time I heard it and repeated it several

    times. It has a dark start and I would classify it as a power ballad. The song contains

    conflicting emotions that most people can relate to. The song provokes thought and allows one

    to turn inwardly to our inner feelings and struggles. Overall, great song!

    Now onto the interpretation...


    Lyric Segment #1
    ----------------
    "I did my best to notice when the call came down the line, up to the platform of surrender, I

    was brought, but I was kind."

    Breakdown
    ---------
    The use of the words "call came down the line" seem to suggest a form of Military Cadence

    which could mean a highly structured environment where there are rules and obedience. The

    words "platform of surrender" seem to suggest a that the artist has come to a place

    where he must obey and surrender his own will to the command of another. Much like being

    in the military, boot camp, etc. The usage of "was brought, but I was kind" seem to suggest it

    was forced upon him, something he didn't want to do, but did it anyway.

    Application
    -----------
    We all have structures that we have grown up with. It could be religious, political, or social structures that have caused us to not "question authority" but rather "live with it".


    Lyric Segment #2
    ----------------
    "Sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door."

    Breakdown
    ---------
    This is a very interesting choice of words. It seems to suggest that the artist sometimes has trouble dealing with change because he's been pre-programmed to think a certain way and walking through an "open door" seems scary and unknown.

    Application
    -----------
    In a relgious context, these words are highly powerful. Pre-programming happens to alot of us. Most often when we become adults we usually take on the religious beliefs (or closely similar) of our parents. But what if life took you down a completely different path, a different church, something that felt right but scared you to pieces because of how your family may or may not accept you?


    Lyric Segment #3
    ----------------
    "Cut the cord."

    Breakdown
    ---------
    Simply means to remove yourself from the source of power.

    Application
    -----------
    In a social or domestic context, perhaps you are a person in a dangerous or controlling relationship that is affecting you emotionally and physically. The artist is telling you to close your eyes and cut the cord. In fact, in the music video you see an eagle fly away. Another way to look at this isn't necessarily as a "bad domestic case" but rather as a child who leaves his parents to persue life on his own. We all have to find our way in life because "Mom and Dad" won't always be there.


    Lyric Segment #4
    ----------------
    "Are we human or are we dancer?"

    Breakdown
    ---------
    These words suggest that the artist is asking us if we are human (full of life, spirit, energy, and a desire to be free) or if we are dancer, much like a puppet is controlled by strings to dance.

    Application
    -----------
    Who's controlling you? Back to earlier contexts, are you in a position where you are afraid to be your own person because of what that might mean for you? How you will stand with family or friends?


    Lyric Segment #5
    ----------------
    "So long to devotion, he taught me everything I know. Wave goodbye, wish me well. You gotta let me go."

    Breakdown
    ---------
    This is probably the most powerful line in the song. The artist sings a series of "parting words" to various forms of qualities and characteristics of humanity. Essentially, I don't believe the artist is suggesting that we should just stop trying to attain these traits, rather we need to realize that no form of goodness or virtue can truly make us happy. It is the pursuit of freedom, to live our lives without interference that allow us to experience goodness.

    Application
    -----------
    Maybe you are a devoted to your job, but that job is interfering with your life or the ability for you to expand your career. While its ok to be devoted, you have to do what you feel is best. Changing jobs could be the best thing you ever did and may bring you that fulfillment you need.


    Summary
    -------
    All in all, this song is about freedom. It's about breaking free from what is holding you back. The human spirit longs to be released and deep down we are untamed (much as the tiger and cougar in the music video are). I don't mean to suggest we are animals at heart, but rather we are a species that are not to be caged or boxed in by religious dogma, oppressive relationships, a dead end job, the fear of achieving the unthinkable, you name it. The song challenges you to go to that next level, to not be a lemming and follow others. Rather, you lead the way and become everything you want to be.
    mwtallmanon August 10, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:it's "dancer" they've said it in an interview.
    lostfanatic84on September 23, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General Comment:I don't know about being a puppet, but when I think of dancers, I think that they just do... If that makes sense. When someone is dancing, that's all they're doing, they're content with that, it's kind of almost... animal in a way? I'm not sure if that makes sense in the way I'm explaining it, but when I think about it, I think that if you're human, you're warm, you're subjective, but dancers are almost mechanical and focused only on dancing (I did ballet for 6 years when I was younger and I hated this!)

    "My sign is vital/My hands are cold" sounds to me like he knows he's still alive, but he thinks he's lost what makes a human being a human being. The same goes for the second verse.

    As opposed to the puppet imagery, I feel that "And I'm on my knees looking for the answer" is more about questioning if this is all there is to life, like, if there's a God or not. I think that a big difference between normal animals and human beings is that humans search for things greater than themselves, and somehow, if there isn't a God, it makes us feel a little less human. He's praying maybe over whether he is human or not? The line "There is no message we're receiving" makes me think of this too.

    Yay for disjointed analysis, if you can even call it that :P
    sondralynnon September 24, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:it is "dancer". Check this From Amazon.com:

    "Those familiar with the band’s oeuvre will recognize their signature in the synth-heavy “Human,” four minutes of sweeping, epic rock, on which Flowers sings: “My sign is vital/ My hands are cold/ And I’m on knees, looking for the answer/ Are we human, or are we dancer?” He says the lyrics were inspired by a disparaging comment made by Hunter S. Thompson about how America was raising a generation of dancers. But the song also had some help from album producer Stuart Price (aka Jacques LuCont), known for his work with Madonna and Missy Elliot, and who’d previously remixed “Mr. Brightside.” “He was the icing on the cake,” says Stoermer."
    srshon October 10, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:Hmm I like your analysis Sondralynn. I agree the song like other Killers songs seems to explore the question of life's purpose and what else is out there, etc. At any rate, dancer is in contrast to human in this song.
    Icarus Fixiuson September 24, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:I think the enunciation of the chorus would be different if the word was "denser." If you listen carefully, Brandon is singing a higher pitched "annn," not a lower "ehhh" that would exist if the word was "dense" instead of "dance." There's probably a more technical way to describe that, but I'm not a music expert.

    I think lostfanatic84 makes a very good point, too.
    slimpunkon September 26, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:I've never heard anything but "dancer" for the lyric, and it fits the song and what's going on in the words when it's experienced as a spiritual song, questioning the relationship between our physical existence and our spiritual existence.

    In many Native and mystical traditions, life is seen as a dance, and the living of life is dancing to its rhythms. Humans are seen as instruments played by the Divine, and our human lives are our unique expressions of the Divine dance. If we look at our lives as purely human, the "dance" makes no sense. If we look at our lives as an expression of something greater, we can easily all be dancers, dancing in an intensly choreographed stage called Earth. It's a great song (and really, my introduction to The Killers!
    Shane1on September 30, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:He definitely, without any doubt says dancer. The vowel sound is definitely a long a, furthermore dancer rhymes with "answer."
    Anyway, denser does not make absolute sense at all. Are we human or are we denser? Denser than what? Denser than human? Does that make sense? No, it doesn't. Dancer makes much more sense and last I checked, denser has zero long a sounds in it so anyone who actually thinks it's denser needs to work on their English skills.
    Kewon October 04, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:I dunno why...but the minute I heard this song I felt like he was singing out his newborn son...
    The song sounds "happy" and very melodic...and some of the lyrics like "cut the cord" could possibly be referring to cutting the umbilical cord of his child?
    Well...I could be really far off...but this is the first thing that I thought he was singing about....
    O well....i still really like this song....it makes me feel happy...
    cc24on October 07, 2008   Link

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