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Music / Keane

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Left to Right: Tim Rice-Oxley, Richard Hughes, Tom Chaplin; Not Pictured: Jesse Quin
"Oh simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on."
"Somewhere Only We Know"

Keane are an alternative rock band from East Sussex, England. The band consists of Tim Rice-Oxley (piano and backing vocals), Tom Chaplin (lead vocals and guitar), Richard Hughes (drums and percussion), and Jesse Quin (bass guitar and percussion).

Keane's origins date back to 1995, when Rice-Oxley and his friend Dominic Scott got together with Hughes to form a rock band known as Lotus Eaters while studying at the University College, London. The group played covers of songs from their favorite musicians, such as U2 and The Beatles. In 1997, Chaplin joined the band as the lead vocalist, while Rice-Oxley moved to piano. The title of the band changed to Cherry Keane, named after a friend of Chaplin's mother. Shortly after she died of cancer, the name was shortened to Keane. They made their debut live appearance in 1998.

Scott left the band in 2001 to continue his education after Keane's self-produced promotional singles had limited success. The band was discovered in 2002 by Simon Williams, who had been responsible for discovering Coldplay. They released their first commercial single, "Everybody's Changing", in 2003. The attention they received from this track allowed them to sign with Island Records. Their debut album, Hopes and Fears, was released in 2004. It achieved great commercial success and won them the 2005 BRIT awards for Best British Album and British Breakthrough Act.

Keane's second album, Under the Iron Sea was released in 2006 and reached #1 on the UK album chart. The album built on the piano-driven melodies of Hopes and Fears by using distortion pedals on the piano to mimic the sound of electric guitars. Jesse Quin joined the band in 2008 to help record Keane's third album, Perfect Symmetry. The album was influenced by '80s Synth-Pop and employed a guitar for the first time.

Keane's fourth studio album, Strangeland, was released in May of 2012, and their fifth, Cause and Effect in September 2019 after a seven year gap in studio album releases.


  • Hopes and Fears (2004)
  • Live Recordings 2004 (2005): A live album EP with six tracks.
  • Under the Iron Sea (2006)
  • Keane Live 06 (2006): Limited release of performances during the Under the Iron Sea Tour.
  • Perfect Symmetry (2008)
  • Retrospective EP 1: Everybody's Changing (2008): A seven track EP.
  • Keane Live Recordings: European Tour 2008 (2008)
  • The Cherrytree Sessions (2009): Acoustic rearrangements of Somewhere Only We Know, Perfect Symmetry, and The Lovers are Losing.
  • Night Train (2010): An eight track EP.
  • Retrospective EP 2: Sunshine (2010): A seven track EP.
  • iTunes Festival 2010 (2010)
  • Strangeland (2012)
  • The Best of Keane (2013)
  • Cause and Effect (2019)

Why don't we go somewhere only tropes know?

  • Album Title Drop: Each album plays with it differently:
    • Hopes and Fears comes from a line in "Snowed Under," a B-Side to "Somewhere Only We Know" that wasn't on the album itself (that is, until the Updated Re-release five years later).
    • Under The Iron Sea is dropped in "Crystal Ball," which is on the album; the track before it on the album is called "The Iron Sea," but it's an instrumental.
    • Perfect Symmetry just has a title track that drops the title in the lyrics.
    • Strangeland has a title track that wound up not making it on the album proper, but was available on the deluxe edition.
  • Alternate Music Video:
    • "Everybody's Changing" has one version where the group performs with a white background while they are slowly replaced by people of all ages and places as the camera pans away. The other one, titled "(Alternate version)", instead plays with wipe transitions between shots of Keane performing in a set with a sunset background and monochrome footage of them touring.
    • One version of "Somewhere Only We Know" has the group helping a lost forest spirit reunite with other forest spirits; it has an US edition version that only has the footage of the group performing near a stream and traveling from the city to the forest, with no forest spirits to be seen. Another version, the official "(Alternate version)", has the group performing on a stage, which then transforms into a forest and then into a city.
    • "This Is the Last Time" has 2 main music videos (plus 2 others unreleased in their official channel). The first switches between footage of the group performing in black and white and images of an animated forest where pink rain falls. The second has the group performing in a street, until the singer starts to wander through the city as much as the cable of microphone lets him, to then switch microphones as he keeps wandering.
  • Anachronism Stew: In "Perfect Symmetry", most of the lyrics reference modern technology ("Scrolling through the paragraphs, Clicking through the photographs", "I dream in emails"), but this line: "As the needle, slips into the run out groove" is about the more old-school vinyl records.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Double-subverted in "Stop for a Minute," in which rapper K'naan starts out singing but switches to rapping after the second chorus. Played straight in "Looking Back."
  • Charity Motivation Song: "The Night Sky" was written for the charity War Child.
  • Christmas Songs: When Keane was asked to do a Christmas song for the radio, they purposefully avoided doing a cheesy cover, instead using "A Heart To Hold You," which has no connection to Christmas besides its warm and cozy feel.
  • Concept Video: A few of their videos tell drawn-out stories, most notably Disconnected and the US version of Crystal Ball.
  • Darker and Edgier: The whole Under the Iron Sea album. It was written during a time where the band members were fighting amongst each other and Chaplin was struggling with drinking and drug problems.
  • Downer Ending: Cause And Effect ends with "I Need Your Love", which is a desperate plea to save a relationship that's beyond the point of saving.
  • Epic Rocking: "She Has No Time" (5:45), "Broken Toy" (6:07), "Russian Farmer's Song" (6:34), "The Happy Soldier" (7:45).
  • Gratuitous French: The third verse of "Black Burning Heart", in comparison to the rest of the song.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Atlantic"
    • "We Might As Well Be Strangers," as well. Given that their main instrument is a piano and one of their most common themes is the feeling of being left behind by others, there are quite a few to be found in their catalogue.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Spiralling" has an upbeat tempo, dance/funk feel, and energetic shouts of "ooh!". Its a song about the futility of human endeavor.
    • In general, Keane tends to write a lot of songs like this, combining lyrics about relationship issues with upbeat tunes.
  • New Sound Album: Perfect Symmetry departed from the band's typical piano pop sound by using guitars and synthesizers influenced by 80s music, leading to They Changed It, Now It Sucks! for some fans.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Atlantic", "The Frog Prince", "Untitled 1", and "Untitled 2".
  • Post-Britpop: Mostly Hopes and Fears and Under the Iron Sea.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Jesse Quin began touring with the band for Under The Iron Sea; after appearing on subsequent recordings, he was made and credited as an official member of the band before the release of Strangeland.
  • Protest Song: "Is It Any Wonder?". Word of God says that it's about Britain's support of the Iraq War.
  • Questioning Title?: "Is It Any Wonder?" and “Leaving So Soon?”
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Keyboardist and main songwriter Rice-Oxley sings "Your Love."
  • "Untitled" Title: Hopes and Fears features a track called "Untitled 1," and "This Is The Last Time" has a B-Side called "Untitled 2."
  • War Is Hell: The song "A Bad Dream" is about a fighter pilot in WWII, based off of a W. B. Yeats poem called "An Irishman Forsees His Death".
    • "Black Rain" also fits this theme.