The Killers and Jimmy Kimmel: ‘Joel, the Lump of Coal’ Music Video Review

Courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live via YouTube
Courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live via YouTube

Tis’ the season for great Christmas music, and as always, The Killers never disappoint. Ever since 2006, The Killers have produced Christmas music for the RED Campaign, with all proceeds directly funding the organization. As always, the tradition calls for collaboration, with notable artists over the years such as Elton John, this year being no exception, the band teamed up with Jimmy Kimmel to produce “Joel, the Lump of Coal.”

This isn’t your usual Christmas carol, yet nothing less than genius coming from the band and their previous holiday jingles, all about a little lump of coal, named Joel that is sent off as a present to a naughty boy’s house.

The full clip, seen on the Jimmy Kimmel Live YouTube Channel, shows the creative process between The Killers and Kimmel. An excited Kimmel enters the studio with a composition book full of ideas and passes out ugly Christmas sweaters for the boys. As they are now in full Christmas spirit, a proud Kimmel points out that Brandon Flowers’ sweater lights up. A bit of awkward humor fills the studio as Kimmel moves along with his ideas. 

Kimmel then brings up “A very YOLO Christmas” noting that “Yolo is super-hot right now.”  Stumped by Kimmel, the band asks, “What’s YOLO?” The next idea should be better. What about Grandma getting run over, “not by a reindeer but of a fat family who’s waiting in line on Black Friday for a Blu-ray player that is on sale for $18?” said Kimmel.

This idea did not go well with the band. A couple of silent seconds later and Kimmel is rummaging his notebook for the answer. “What about a song where the players are gonna play, play, play and the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate?”

“That’s a Taylor Swift song. We can’t use that,” says Ronnie Vannucci, Jr (drummer). After all of Kimmel’s ideas are thrown out, Flowers brings up that he enjoys “sentimental Christmas songs” and the group begins to brainstorm with terms associated with Christmas and casual word association and rhyming to get the creative juices flowing. “What rhymes with north pole?” asks Kimmel. The band responds with pole and mole, which leads Kimmel to bring up, “All I want for Christmas is to get this horrible mole removed from my neck.”

More silence. Flowers finally answers with “coal” and the band seems to be in agreement with this idea. The band and Kimmel decide to make coal a character, and name him Joel. Almost towards the light of success, Kimmel mentions that Joel should tell people that the “haters are gonna hate, hate, hate and the players are gonna play, play, play.” The band once again reminds Kimmel that he cannot use Swift’s lines, regardless of how much he enjoys that song.

By the 5th minute, and the humorous process leading to the video, the finished product is finally here.  The band is shown performing on a winter wonderland set, all deeming the ugly sweaters Kimmel gave them. The song then starts off by how happy Joel is and his only goal is to “keep Santa warm / and make the elves cozy.” To Joel’s surprise, the story shows that Santa has other plans for him and wants to take him along tomorrow on his sleigh ride. An excited lump of coal shows Joel sleeping in his bed, daydreaming about playing catch with a kid and snuggling under a blanket.

Of course, Santa’s toys are not going to let Joel off without a little banter. We see an elf sporting a beard, pointing out how no kid will want him, and “you’re just a poopy prize” for a naughty child. This caused Joel to cry, and a shot of a very concerned Flowers, singing that he “pollutes the air with Co2 and Mercury.”

Christmas day finally came and we have a sad boy looking at Joel, accepting his naughty behavior and that he should befriend this lump of coal. Epiphany hovers over Joel, and as The Killers perform the break of the song with their usual insightful messages and a much needed crunch to the guitar’s distortion, Joel becomes a diamond through the boy’s hand. The chorus of excited animated coals sing along and we see a happy boy walk down with a bright diamond, which once was Joel. Through humor and a clever direction towards the other side of Christmas, The Killer’s add one more unique holiday classic with the help of Kimmel and his ugly sweaters.