It has been five months since I’ve done my routine of discovering bands. The most recent was Dirty Heads (a great and mood-lifting band, by the way) and it made me happy that I did listen to their wonderful music. [This paragraph is dated on the month of March]
Dawn of Time
Two months ago, I was browsing through a music-sharing website (Don’t judge me. I’m a poor college student and CD’s released by popular artists are the only ones that sell in my country) and in their home page that usually shows recently uploaded albums, I saw a record titled The Best of Keane. The Best of—a preceding phrase used by great bands, I thought. Maybe they are. So, I clicked the link that would send me to the artist’s page. In their profile, it says “Keane is an alternative rock band from..”. My type of band! Then, I browsed through the table that enumerates their top tracks and I chose the first one. I listened to it and it gave me goosebumps! It’s as if the song traveled through my PC’s system to the hardware to my keyboard and finally to the tip of my fingers which radiated to my whole body. “Somewhere Only We Know”, I noted to myself. Another one is called “Everybody’s Changing”. The title seems cliché, I thought but I gave it a try. And Holy Schmokes! The first two beats got me so lost that I found myself waving my head with eyes closed. I was so excited to download the album; I didn’t even finish the current song. After the album finished downloading, I immediately opened a music player and queued the whole album. I let the sounds and lyrics enter my head and made my list of favorites. The first two tracks mentioned before were already in the list and “This Is The Last Time”, “Bedshaped”, “Higher than the Sun”, “A Bad Dream”, “Sovereign Light Cafe”, “My Shadow” and the most catchy, in my opinion, “Bend and Break” made the cut. I had doubts with 80’s sounding and dancy “Spiraling” and “Perfect Symmetry” for both don’t capture the mood of the album. Songs like “Hamburg Song” and “Atlantic” got me bored at first so I wasn’t able to listen to them entirely.
In the succeeding days, I made the album my activity playlist. Whenever I wash the dishes, I listen to it; when I take a bath, I play it; and when I wash my clothes, I sing with it even though my words were barely understandable. Though I loved the songs especially the first track (music video below), I wasn’t fully excited about the band at the time. I was still attending school so I never had the energy to familiarize the band and the last thing I did related to it was watch a couple of music videos and earlier live performances. But I have to be honest, my first impression to them was a weird and geeky band—a head banging pianist with uncontrollable legs, a non-eye-closing drummer whose head is always leaning to his side, a chubby lead singer with leather shoes and a long sleeves tucked in his belt-supported jeans—a perfect stereotype.
By the time I wanted more, I decided to download all their studio albums. Their most recent was 2012, very odd. Are they still touring? Or working in their studio? To ease my mind from the question, I read a Wikipedia article about them. I couldn’t believe what I saw, the words “on hiatus”. They were unfamiliar but I had a feeling it was bad. I googled it and it turned out to be what I was thinking. It made me sad. As a music fan, it’s frustrating to know that a band you love separates. But I went on. They maybe on a break but their music isn’t. Moving on… I noticed that their earliest Hopes & Fears was released 2004. I never even thought about what I wanted at that age, I was like six years old. That was again the moment that I wished I was born earlier. “Again” because my favorite bands Kongos, American Authors (formerly named The Blue Pages) and Dirty Heads started making music in the year 2007, a year that all I wanted to do was play Bakugan. Also, I got very confused with the order of Under the Iron Sea (2006) and Perfect Symmetry (2008) because of the oldie vibe of the latter. I’m kind of a cheapskate on drive space so as soon as the albums were downloaded, I discarded the The Best Of. I was looking on the albums for “Higher than the Sun” but I found nothing. I discovered that three tracks I heard was not present on the LP’s. Eventually, I received a copy. Now, it’s complete!
I have lots of favorites in each album. In the debut, I got hook on “Somewhere Only We Know”, “Everybody’s Changing”, “Bend and Break”, “Bedshaped” and “Sunshine”. However,”She Has No Time” made me lose my breath with its eye-bulging high voice accompaniment provided by Tom. The sophomore, my favorite album of all has a lot of great songs especially the friendly shoulder pat “Nothing in my Way”, the sad redemptive “Try Again” and the pleading “Hamburg Song”. In fact, the only ones that I did not like that much are “The Iron Sea” and “Broken Toy”. The third album and my third favorite, only has little notable songs for four tracks in the record are indistinguishable. Nevertheless, “Spiraling”,a party song with a touch of guilt which I think is really smart, “Perfect Symmetry”, an eye-opener of what Keane thinks of society and “The Lovers Are Losing” a dilemma between two lovers almost separating are songs that will surely make anyone put it on a loop. Lastly (I hope not),Strangeland, the most underrated of all, left me disconnected although all tracks are perfect except for the too cheesy lovesong “Silenced By The Night” and unnoticeable “The Boys”.
I further researched about Keane. At first, I thought they were a trio when in fact they’ve been a quartet ever since 2011. Plus, I fully understood their story—the first fourth member Dominic Scott which I used to be confused about, the former name and the name change, the member’s relationships, the awards they received (two Brit Awards in one ceremony!), the controversies, the comparison to Coldplay, the discography and the charities they are involved with. I also got to know them well. The chirpy and funny frontman with the angelic voice Thomas Oliver Chaplin, the nice vegetarian drummer Richard David Hughes, the short comic bassist Jesse (Second Name??) Quin and my idol, the genius songwriter and pianist Timothy James Rice-Oxley—all are genuine and nice people.
I even used a website waybackmachine.org to visit km.com in 2002. Believe me, it worked. I saw their first blog entries and music, they even got wallpapers and a screensaver! Now, I feel like I’m a crazy person but it’s KEANE ya’know?
So I thought it was complete. I forgot about the renditions the EP’s and the b-sides. I found an enumeration of all their covers and b-side songs in this very helpful and detailed site. My favorite rendition is their mashup of Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child and Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty. They even named it “Dirrtylicious”! There a lot of version of that song with first verses changed but you can choose which one you want on Youtube. There a lot of Keane fans out there that share these kind of rarities. My favorite b-side is “The Way You Want It”. I first heard this song in their DVD Strangers (My dedication is so strong, I watched all their live performances and I must say, I love Keane Live). There was this scene in the film where they are traveling in their tour bus and a beautiful music was playing in background. The song caught my attention and reminded of something. I wasn’t sure of what it is but the melody and the high tone cheery voice seemed to got me all tied up, I even got teary-eyed. Furthermore, there are some b-sides worth listening to like “Fly To me”, “To The End Of The Earth”, “Something In Me Was Dying” and “Thin Air”.
I played Night Train EP after I saw the “Stop For A Minute” music video because I got intrigued with its message and strange American pop style which is completely un-Keane. In the EP, I have to say my favorite track is “My Shadow” because of its return-to-Keane style and I did enjoy “Ishin Denshin (You’ve Got To Help Yourself)”.
It has been almost three years since Keane went on an indefinite hiatus and it seems that Tom is still working on his solo album. I wish Tom’s songs would hit the charts and the Billboard. Also, I hope that this silence they are making is just a gimmick and they’ll surprise us with the biggest and most successful album of all time.
In an unrelated topic, KONGOS will launch their third album Egomaniac on June 10, American Authors on July 1 with What We Live For, MAGIC! with Primary Colors also on July 1 and Dirty Heads’ self-titled album on July 15. Cheers!