In addition to the more common hard rock instruments, "Handlebars" features horns and strings reminiscent of the metro college indie band Cake. The song was performed live on the June 5, 2008 edition of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
"...at the same time, I knew there were people at that moment who were being bombed by our own country. And I thought that was incredibly powerful." It is the contrast between these "little moments of creativity, these bursts of innovation," and the way these ideas are put to use "to oppress and destroy people" that the singer feels is both "beautiful and tragic at the same time."
The video's events escalate in tension and culminate in the corporate friend holding a dictator-like position of power, while the other friend has become a radical against him, while he is having such a horrible time in the regular town area the corporate area eventually begins to tear it down and they rebel. The rebelious friend is shot and killed, along with all of the other followers, in front of the shocked corporate friend.
The video ends with a flash back of the two friends pedaling off riding with no handlebars into a bright light.
It has had similar success on the digital landscape, having over 1,900,000 total plays on the band's MySpace.com page and over 10,000,000 views on YouTube. Digital download purchases have placed the song at #4 on certain rap and hip-hop charts on Amazon.com.
"Handlebars" has also performed well on the Billboard charts. Peaking at number three on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, number twenty-two on the Hot Digital Songs chart, number thirty-five on the Pop 100 chart, number thirty-seven on the Hot 100 chart, number sixty-three on the Canadian Hot 100
|U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks||3|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs||20|
|U.S. Billboard Pop 100||34|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||37|
|UK Singles Chart||14|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||26|
|Canadian Hot 100||63|