Keane’s music, especially on their first album Hopes and Fears, is music brimming with emotion. But what I like best about it is that despite being so emotionally charged, it avoids self-indulgent tangents like symphony orchestras or endless guitar solos.
And before dismissing them as a Coldplay knock-off, you should know that Keane’s keyboardist and founding member Tim Rice-Oxley was approached by Chris Martin way back in 1997, who had been impressed by his style of piano playing. Martin asked Rice-Oxley if he’d like to join the little band he was forming, and Rice-Oxley politely declined. As we all know, Coldplay went on to conquer the world with a piano-centric sound that was replicated many bands to come out of the UK last decade…a sound that was perhaps more influenced by Keane than we realize.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. Using a rim hit instead of a full-on snare in the verse. I like it when rock bands do this. It really makes the chorus hit that much harder. Speaking of which…
2. The chorus. It sounds so big, with victorious, “end-of-a-marathon”-type epicness. Several of Keane’s songs off this album have that feel to them: “Somewhere Only We Know” and “We Might As Well Be Strangers” come to mind. In this song, I think it’s because the chorus starts in a key that’s a full tone higher than the verse.
3. The synth solo at 3:32. Sounds like a harmonica travelling at light speed. It also clashes nicely with the vocal line when the voice comes back in.
Recommended listening activity:
Finally lying down on your own bed after a long time away from home.