Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
|"Jenny Was a Friend of Mine"|
|Song by The Killers from the album Hot Fuss|
|Released||June 7, 2004|
|Recorded||March–April 2003 @ Cornerstone Studios, Berkeley, California|
|Genre||Post-punk revival, new wave|
|Label||Lizard King/Mercury/Vertigo (UK)
Island B0002468-02 (US)
Universal (Japan, France)
|Writer||Brandon Flowers, Mark Stoermer|
"Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" is a song by the Las Vegas rock band The Killers. It is featured as the first track on The Killers' first album, Hot Fuss. It was written by Brandon Flowers and Mark Stoermer.
Despite not being a single, "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" is one of The Killers' most popular and critically acclaimed songs. It is particularly praised for Stoermer's powerful and melodic bassline.
Writing and composition
The song, which is written in the key of E-flat minor, is told from the point of view of a boy who has been taken in for questioning about a girl's (Jenny) murder. After explaining the incident from his perspective, the boy (voiced by Flowers), claims that he is innocent by saying that "there ain't no motive for this crime, Jenny was a friend of mine." The song has no resolution of the crime and it is never clarified if the boy was guilty. The song was inspired by Robert Chambers' defense of the Jennifer Levin murder charges, in which Chambers claimed he had no motive for the murder, and that he and the victim were "friends".
It is a part of The Killers' alleged "Murder Trilogy", three songs detailing the murder of a girl named Jenny, the other two being "Midnight Show", and "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf". In an interview with The Guardian, Flowers revealed that it was Morrissey's song "Sister I'm a Poet" that inspired him to write songs about murder. A fourth track entitled variably 'Soft Surrender' or 'Where is She' may form a fourth part to the Murder cycle, told from the point of view of Jennifer's mother. It was never officially released because of controversy but nonetheless is available on YouTube.
Release and reception
In reviewing Hot Fuss, Jenny Eliscu of Rolling Stone highlighted "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" as sounding like "classic Duran Duran, all snaking bass lines and Flowers' elegantly wasted vocals — part ironic detachment, part fake-British-accent, part throat-shredding wail." Adrian Begrand, writing for PopMatters, called the song a "spot-on, wonderfully shameless Cure imitation", and praised Flowers for his "charmingly overwrought depiction of a lover's spat “on a promenade in the rain.”" In her "Ask Hadley" column in The Guardian, Hadley Freeman noted the similarity of the song's storyline to that of Richard Marx's 1991 hit single "Hazard", and accused The Killers of "blatantly rip[ping] off" the latter. NME said the song was like "Duran Duran with better basslines and dirtier hair". The Times wildly praised the song, saying "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine rejoices in a helicopter sound effect last heard when Oasis were going through their pompous phase, a bassline that New Order's Peter Hook would be proud of and a stupidly catchy melody that would fit primetime Duran Duran."
The song was on a CD included with the June 16, 2004 issue of NME. The CD, called Songs to Save Your Life, was compiled by Morrissey, "from his own record collection". "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" is track #2 on the CD. It is also used as the opening theme music in The Damon Bruce Show, bumper music on CBS Sports's coverage of the PGA Tour and as a rejoiner bumper on the SiriusXM satellite radio hot talk show "The Opie & Anthony Show".
Both Flowers and Stoermer have highlighted it as one of their favourite songs from Hot Fuss.
Often when the song is performed live, the line "she couldn't scream while I held her close", is often replaced by "she couldn't scream while I held her throat", or "she kicked and screamed while I held her throat", giving a more sinister feel to the song. This was more common during Day & Age World Tour performances of the song.
During the Day & Age tour a bass solo was added to the beginning of the song.
- Cinquemani, Sal (2004). "Slant Magazine Music Review :The Killers: Hot Fuss". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
- Costa, James (2008-07-02). "'Sawdust' leftovers hold off hunger pangs". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
- "Missing part of The Killers' 'murder trilogy' appears online". NME. 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
- McLean, Craig (2006-09-24). "Craig McLean talks to the Killers' singer Brandon Flowers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
- Eliscu, Jenny (2004-07-08). "Hot Fuss : The Killers : Review : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
- Begrand, Adrian (2004-06-15). "The Killers: Hot Fuss". PopMatters. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
- Freeman, Hadley (2008-10-27). "Ask Hadley: Hadley Freeman on retro cool T-shirts and fashion storylines". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
- "NME Album Reviews - The Killers : Hot Fuss". NME. 2004-07-01. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Moz meltdown gets underway!". NME. 2004-06-11. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- "Various : Songs To Save Your Life". Shazam. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
- "THE KILLERS - JENNY WAS A FRIEND OF MINE (V FESTIVAL 2009) HQ". YouTube. 2009-11-08. Retrieved 2013-07-24.