The Killers – “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” – Song Discussion

If you’re listening to The Killer’s discography in chronological order, this synth driven alternative rock tune about the murder of a girl named Jenny is the first one you’d start with. The song is featured on their smash debut, Hot Fuss, and although it wasn’t released as a single, it sounds like it could have been. While there was so much emphasis on “Mr. Brightside” especially (and there still is), there are songs that are much more impressive in the creative aspects and this one tops that list. “Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine” is not only dynamic when it comes to the overall sound of it, it’s also incredibly catchy and smooth. It’s even equipped with extra sound effects to embody the theme of the song and make it feel more like a TV show than a three minute song.

The track actually starts out with a synthesizer and helicopter noise softly humming the background, until it rips into a full blown synth rock instrumental that sounds like a dream. The electric guitars and drums during the verses feature a little guitar riff, with a prominent bassline and alien like synthesizer filling in the background. The chorus is slightly different, with a lighter guitar riff replacing the other one and a heavier emphasis on cymbals and extra percussion. The entire time that the two verses and chorus go on, the instrumental portion is very interesting to listen to. There are so many tiny parts and pieces that are easily overlooked when focusing so much on the words and meanings, and it’s incredible the way the band mixed genres to basically create one of their own. But that’s not even everything. The songs ends out with an optimistic synth solo, even though we never get a resolution to the story.

Throughout the entire thing, our narrator is maintaining his innocence, but it’s up to the listener to decide what the truth really is. During the verses, he’s describing his alibi and expresses his frustrations about being interrogated, and during the choruses insists that he would never to anything to hurt Jenny since they were friends. This track is like an action movie that ends off on a cliffhanger, where you spend the next few hours trying to decipher details and various endings. It flashes right by, almost unnoticed if you don’t pay attention. But it’s a song that makes the listener think and reconsider what is actually going on. To add more fuel to the fire, the song is apparently part of a three track trilogy with “Midnight Show” and “Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf”, but I’m gong to just let you take a listen to that on your own.


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