Jukebooks: Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

mr. brightsideThey might have been friends in a past life, but in this life, Juliette and Abram don’t speak to each other. How can they? Juliette’s mother was having an affair with Abram’s father, culminating in a car crash that killed the cheating pair. The gulf of grief and awkward recognition between Juliette and Abram seemed far too wide to bridge. Yet one night at midnight, they run into each other by chance at the CVS. Both are picking up drug prescriptions that testify to their ragged emotions during the year since the car accident. Turns out, they kind of like each other. They kind of understand each other. At last, they come to realize that finding each other is the bright side of a terrible tragedy.

The reference to “Mr. Brightside” immediately draw the mind to the first song written by The Killers, a catchy wail of a song released in 2004. The lyrics seem to be a disorganized mash of jealousy and longing as the singer envisions his lover with another man, sung with the kind of passion that invites full volume at 2am. Indeed, lead singer Brandon Flowers has admitted that the song was based on a time when he caught a girlfriend cheating on him.

Here’s a taste:

Turning saints into the sea
Swimming through sick lullabies
Choking on your alibis
But it’s just the price I pay
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
‘Cause I’m Mr. Brightside

It’s a pop song with a punch. Pain comes in many forms, but look for Mr. Brightside.

Ten years after, the song’s release, The Killers play for an audience in Amsterdam as part of MTV’s World Stage series. It’s hard to sit still during this enthusiastic performance, much like a giant sing-along.

Diane Colson, currently reading an advance reader’s copy of Fell of Dark by Patrick Downes.