The Killers collaborated with Jimmy Kimmel on their latest Christmas single. And while the comedian’s contributions helped them anthropomorphize a lump of coal — and name it Joel — the final product proved not to be funny at all. In fact, “Joel, the Lump of Coal” is a touching and heartbreaking story.
Every year since 2006, The Killers have presented a new, original Christmas single with proceeds benefiting the (RED) campaign. For their latest effort, Kimmel collaborated with them on the original concept, and gave them a platform to present the final music video.
The Christmas song tells a story, like “Frosty the Snowman” or “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but it has a sharper edge than those classics, as well as a sadder ending more in line with “The Giving Tree.”
In Joel’s North Pole, Santa Claus is cruel and unforgiving, selecting Joel as the lump of coal to give to one naughty boy, whether Joel wants to go or not.
Meanwhile, Joel starts off innocent and care-free, thinking he’s going to become a beloved and cherished present when he’s selected by Santa. The truth of his role in teaching the naughty boy a lesson crushes him, just as his arrival on Christmas morning crushes the spirit of the boy who receives him.
While the ending offers a tinge of happiness, it is ultimately tragic and heartbreaking. As such, it’s hard to imagine “Joel, the Lump of Coal” being adapted into a television Christmas classic like Rudolph and Frosty before him without some major edits to his story, or at least one major tweak to the ending.
“Joel, the Lump of Coal” is available for purchase at iTunes.com/TheKillers, with all proceeds going to the (RED) campaign.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.