The Killers invited Jimmy Kimmel to help them compose their annual Christmas single for the AIDS awareness organization (RED), and the pairing’s results were fittingly quirky. Ultimately, the songwriters worked out the touching tune, “Joel, the Lump of Coal,” about a naïve piece of anthracite who thought Santa would want to deliver him as a gift, but really, in Santa’s words, “You’re just the one to teach this brat that Santa ain’t no chump.” The song isn’t all filthy tears, though, culminating with a touching, unexpected twist.
Because the song premiered on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the talk-show host included footage of the band writing the song with him and all the silly ideas he had for it, including “A Very YOLO Christmas,” “Grandma getting run over not by a reindeer but in this case run over by a fat family who’s waiting in line on Black Friday to buy a Blu-ray player or something like that for $18” and just plagiarizing Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
Eventually, frontman Brandon Flowers offers that he likes “sentimental Christmas songs.” The band comes up with rhymes for the North Pole – including a funny tangent about moles on people’s necks – and Flowers begins recording the song with all sorts of pushback from Kimmel.
Although the group records a Christmas song every year, it’s unlikely any of its past collaborators gave them a hard time, thematically or otherwise. Since 2006, the Killers have recorded Christmas songs with Curve frontwoman Toni Halliday (“A Great Big Sled”), Elton John and Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant (“Joseph, Better You Than Me”), the Bronx and Wild Light (“¡Happy Birthday Guadalupe!”), Dawes (“Christmas in L.A.”) and several on their own. As with all of their past holiday tunes, the track is available on iTunes and benefits (RED).
In other (RED) news, the organization held a concert in New York City’s Times Square Monday night to commemorate World AIDS Day. With Bono still recovering from his bicycle accident last month, U2 performed with Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin handling vocals. Kanye West and Carrie Underwood also performed their own sets. The whole concert is streaming online.