Top 10 Songs From The Kills

The Kills Songs

Photo: Aurelien Guichard, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Songs from The Kills introduces us to the dynamic English-American rock duo, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, who have been releasing captivating hits since 2001. Before forming The Kills, Mosshart was part of the punk rock band Discount, while Hince played with Blyth Power and Scarfo. The two met in England when Mosshart’s band toured there, and she was immediately struck by Hince’s guitar skills and presence, prompting her to propose starting a band together.

Even while Mosshart was still committed to Discount, the pair began exchanging song ideas. After Discount disbanded, Mosshart moved to London, and the two officially started performing under the stage names VV and Hotel. They later settled on the name The Kills, feeling it had a lasting resonance.

The duo began crafting songs using a drum machine and ideas previously recorded on tapes, deliberately steering clear of major record labels to maintain their artistic freedom. They chose Domino Records for their debut, the Black Rooster EP. Following the EP, their debut album, Keep on Your Mean Side, was released, and the band embarked on world tours to promote their music.

With each album, The Kills have only grown stronger and more influential, amassing a large, dedicated fanbase. Their distinct sound, which combines raw rock energy with indie and punk influences, has made them standouts in the music scene. Here are the Top 10 Songs from The Kills that showcase the legendary status they’ve achieved with just five studio albums.

# 10 – Heart of a Dog

Leading our top 10 songs from The Kills is the ballad “Heart of a Dog” from their 2016 album Ash & Ice. Alison Mosshart wrote the song during a stay at Hedgebrook, a retreat center for female writers in Washington. “Heart of a Dog” is a fervent declaration of loyalty to a lover, showcasing Mosshart’s introspective songwriting. Notably, the song shares its title with a 1925 novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, which Mosshart read during her time at the retreat. This connection adds a layer of literary depth to the song, intertwining Mosshart’s personal reflections with broader themes of loyalty and identity explored in Bulgakov’s work.

# 9 – The Last Goodbye

Featured on The Kills’ 2011 album Blood Pressures, “The Last Goodbye” stands out as a particularly evocative track. In this song, Alison Mosshart taps into her inner cabaret singer, exploring the depths of a one-sided love affair that feels destined to remain incomplete. What sets “The Last Goodbye” apart is not just its lyrical content but its stylistic deviation from the duo’s usual sound. The track features gentle, burlesque-style piano that beautifully conveys the song’s emotional landscape, making it a favorite among both fans and the band members themselves.

In interviews, Mosshart has reflected on the themes of the song, acknowledging that while life can start under less than ideal circumstances, it moves forward, often toward happiness. This message of resilience and eventual joy resonates deeply within the melancholic but hopeful tones of “The Last Goodbye.”

# 8 – Satellite

Also from The Kills’ album Blood Pressures is the track “Satellite,” a hard-grooving blues-rock ballad that captures the frustration of communication breakdowns. The song was inspired by Jamie Hince’s real-life struggles with poor network coverage during a phone conversation with his girlfriend, supermodel Kate Moss. This mundane yet relatable frustration sparked the creative energy behind “Satellite.”

For the music video, the band chose an evocative setting, traveling to Canvey Island in England. Once a bustling resort area, Canvey Island has since lost its glamour, presenting an almost ghost town-like atmosphere. This backdrop proved to be a perfect match for the song’s themes, enhancing the sense of isolation and disconnection conveyed in the lyrics. The setting visually echoes the song’s exploration of distance and the challenges it brings to relationships, making “Satellite” a poignant representation of modern communication woes

# 7 – Black Balloon

“Black Balloon” is a standout track from The Kills’ 2008 album Midnight Boom. The song employs the metaphor of black balloons to poignantly express themes of loss and the necessity of moving on. Its gentle, almost subdued delivery contrasts with the band’s typically more vigorous sound, adding depth and diversity to their musical repertoire.

“Black Balloon” gained significant recognition, featuring in the film Asthma and the TV series The Good Wife. This exposure helped the song reach a wider audience and resonate on an international scale, evidenced by its charting on the France SNEP music chart, where it peaked at number 74. The song’s emotional impact and lyrical depth make it one of The Kills’ most memorable tracks, showcasing their ability to blend rock energy with introspective storytelling.

# 6 – Future Starts Slow

Number six on our top 10 songs from The Kills is “Future Starts Slow” from their critically acclaimed album Blood Pressures. This track stands out as a reflection of the album’s success and showcases the dynamic range of the band. “Future Starts Slow” delves into themes of intimacy and conflict, a duality often explored in the band’s lyrical content. Jamie Hince, the band’s guitarist, has spoken about how these themes are woven into the fabric of the song, reflecting personal and relational tensions.

The song has not only resonated with fans but also captured the attention of television producers, featuring in the 2012 TV miniseries Political Animals, as well as episodes of Person of Interest and Altered Carbon. Its inclusion in various TV shows highlights the song’s broad appeal and ability to complement powerful visual narratives.

#5 – Cheap and Cheerful

“Cheap and Cheerful” is a track from The Kills that captures the band’s raw energy and sharp lyrical wit, found on their 2008 album Midnight Boom. The song taps into the notion that humans often seek out intense emotional experiences rather than a more subdued, minimalist existence. Through its upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics, the song suggests that a life filled with predictable, calm interactions might feel mundane to those who crave excitement and variability.

The refrain “I want you to be crazy ’cause you’re boring baby when you’re straight” encapsulates the essence of seeking thrills and the allure of a less predictable, more chaotic lifestyle. Whether this is a genuine call to action or a playful exploration of human desires, “Cheap and Cheerful” encourages listeners to reflect on what truly makes them feel alive and engaged in their own lives. The song, with its punchy delivery and infectious rhythm, serves as a reminder of the appeal of sometimes stepping out of comfort zones.

# 4 – Siberian Nights

Written by guitarist Jamie Hince, “Siberian Nights” is a standout track from The Kills’ 2016 album Ash & Ice. The inspiration for this song came during a personal journey Hince took on the Trans-Siberian Express. One particularly cold night on the train spurred him to write a song that delves into themes surrounding Vladimir Putin’s masculinity, an interesting choice given the political climate at the time, notably when Pussy Riot was prominently challenging Putin’s policies.

While the song’s lyrics might carry an undercurrent of homoerotic and sexually explicit tones, the core message reflects on the portrayal and perception of masculinity in Russian leadership. This layered composition not only adds a glamorous edge to Ash & Ice but also showcases The Kills’ ability to weave complex social and political themes into their music.

# 3 – U.R.A. Fever

“U.R.A. Fever” is an electrifying call-and-response ballad that highlights the dynamic synergy between The Kills’ guitarist Jamie Hince and vocalist Alison Mosshart. This track disproves any doubts about Hince’s vocal abilities, as he complements Mosshart’s raw intensity with his own gritty performance. The song is driven by powerful guitar riffs that not only showcase Hince’s instrumental prowess but also add a layer of glamour and edginess to the overall composition.

Serving as the opening track to the band’s critically acclaimed album Midnight Boom, “U.R.A. Fever” sets the tone for the record with its catchy, pulsating rhythm and infectious energy. This song captures the essence of The Kills’ unique blend of alternative rock, making it a standout piece that embodies the creative spirit of the album.

# 2 – Tape Song

“Tape Song” stands out as a highlight on The Kills’ album Midnight Boom. The track is built upon a foundation of striking instrumentals that pave the way for Alison Mosshart to showcase her powerful vocal range. The interplay between the driving beats and Mosshart’s raw, emotive delivery creates a compelling auditory experience.

The lyrics of “Tape Song” are intriguingly cryptic, adding an element of mystery that might leave listeners puzzled and eager to delve deeper. This ambiguity encourages fans to look up the lyrics, ensuring they fully grasp the narrative or emotional undercurrents rather than inadvertently creating their own misheard versions.

# 1 – Doing It To Death

Topping our list of the top 10 songs from The Kills is “Doing It To Death” from their 2016 album Ash & Ice. This track stands out not only for its compelling lyrics but also for the unique circumstances behind its creation. Guitarist Jamie Hince credits an accident in which he lost a finger for inspiring the distinctive guitar riffs in this song, illustrating how personal setbacks can unexpectedly transform into artistic breakthroughs.

Hince has described “Doing It To Death” as his guitar-driven take on a dancehall track, highlighting his innovative approach to blending different musical styles. Interestingly, the lyrics were the last piece of the puzzle for this song, with the instrumental and mood dictating the direction of the narrative.

Top 10 Songs From The Kills article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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