Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was a monumental ode to rock music that set up the template for the genre. Since the 1971 release of the song, nothing really came close to encapsulating an entire generation of rock music. “Stairway to Heaven” will live far longer than any of its competitors for the top music spot in our dads’ hearts: not Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” or Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” That is until the Killers released “Mr. Brightside.”
“‘Mr. Brightside’ is obviously the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ of the millennial generation.” – Jesus H. Christ
What makes a song stay with us like “Stairway,” and why is “Mr. Brightside” undoubtedly the obvious millennial successor?
- “Stairway to Heaven” is easily recognizable within the first few seconds of the song
- Its style was obviously transitional and showed a great jump from earlier rock into rock of the late 20th century
- It’s emotional and leaves us all weeping in our sheets
- It’s a ballad (obvious, but necessary)
Yeah, maybe lots of songs fit these five criteria. So let me break it down for you:
1. Is it easily recognizable in the first few seconds?
Hell, yeah. The distinct opening drum riff of “Mr. Brightside” is basically the “Wonderwall” of high school percussionists. Then, of course, the guitar riff is just the “Wonderwall” of high school percussionists who’ve actually had sex. It’s an obvious “Oh yeah THIS song!” intro that starts out at pretty much a 10 until it’s kicked into a 15 – similar to “Stairway to Heaven.” It’s one of the songs that gets stuck in your head from the first beat but doesn’t make you want to die.
2. Is it transitional?
Again: Hell, yeah. It sprung the trend of starting the song off at normal peak energy and kicking it into gear even further from there.
“Mr. Brightside” also avoids Autotune, which, let’s be real, is not the thing you want to remember as a transitional representation of millennial music, is it?
3. Does it make you cry?
Lol. I cry about swans having the possibility to be gay about once a week, so “Mr. Brightside” making me swoon should surprise no one. However, I cannot contain a single emotion when “Brightside” is blasting. You’ve got lust, you’ve got love, you’ve got anger and sorrow and triumph and it’s all wrapped up into one beautiful song that doesn’t become impersonal. “Brightside,” the first-person ballad of our generation, allows us to live through Flowers.
4. Is it a ballad?
No. It is the ballad.
“I didn’t know what a ballad was until ‘Mr. Brightside’ was released,” – the entire band Journey
5. It rock?
Yes, it rock.
“Brightside” is Honest and Important. The Killers are Honest and Important. If you disagree, I’m so sorry that you’re so Wrong. Just listen to everyone’s favorite YouTube commenter and guy with an opinion that is also mine, Justin S.
Christianna is an adventurous, optimistic feminist who can hold her own in a few topics: politics, music, baking and books. At a party, you can find her consoling the hostess’s pets and sipping a gin and tonic.