The Killers released their second album Sam’s Town in 2006, a year when it seemed unfathomable that a former action movie star could hold a position as high as California’s governor, where Blackberrys reigned supreme and where, at 25, Brandon Flowers voiced all his authority on aging on songs like “When You Were Young.” Now, Flowers is—brace yourself—37, and when he performed a stripped-down version of the track on Late Night with Seth Meyers Monday night, the song took on a whole new poignancy.
For better or worse, gone are the angst-filled, eyeliner-rimmed days of “Mr. Brightside.” In an interview with Meyers after his performance, Flowers discussed being a father of three (“None of them have ever made it through an entire gig without falling asleep,”), finding the other members of The Killers in a classified ad in Vegas (“It sounds old-fashioned—like, where’d you get your instruments, the five and dime?—but that was in this century,”) and trying to perfect the elusive Walgreens’ makeup smokey eye on the way to shows (“I was not great at it”).
But it’s Flowers’ performance of “When You Were Young” that stands out most from the segment. Flowers’ voice is still distinct, but sounds a little more weathered without the glitz of the song’s original backing. In combination with his age, the performance’s sparse instrumentation injects the track with a new layer of nostalgia and longing, to moving results.
See Flowers perform “When You Were Young” on Late Night with Seth Meyers, as well as his interviews further down. Check out the song’s original music video here.