Album Of The Week - Keane - Hopes & Fears
Breaking away from the eighties theme, but continuing down the road of classic albums brings us to Keane's fifteen-year-old debut - Hopes & Fears.
It's hard to comprehend the age of Hopes & Fears, especially given this year's anniversary. The songs all across this album are absolutely timeless and you'll be hard pressed to find a silkier collection from any artist.
One obvious choice for discussion is Somewhere Only We Know, a track I've loved for a good while. It sees Tom Chaplin hitting all the right notes in his vocal, evoking sheer drive and passion with every passing syllable. The mellow piano backing is wonderfully welcome behind and is what makes this one of the best and most recognisable songs of all time.
Pianos continue on the following Bend & Break, taking a much more upbeat turn, sounding like an earlier Coldplay record, but that's no bad thing. Sometimes simplicity is best, and the brilliant thing about Bend & Break is just that. Everybody's Changing is one of the album's more well-known tracks, but that doesn't make it any less brilliant. It discusses the idea that people's lives converge pretty much all the time, taking on different traits and with it, those people change. To Chaplin singing, society almost changes too much. People aren't there as they've moved on and when mistakes are made, it's hard to make it right, especially when you regret it massively.
This Is The Last Time talks about regret and this could be seen as a natural progression from Somewhere Only We Know. Its main subject is that of moving on from a relationship with a deep bond to something apparently 'more magical' according to lyricist Tim Rice-Oxley. It circles a dilemma of leaving someone, but in a way you don't know how to, almost like you can't leave them because of the bond you had.
Closing song Bedshaped continues down the same piano-driven avenue as the rest of album and talks about being 'left behind' by someone a lover or best friend. The passion in Chaplin's vocal portrays sadness and anger, mixed in with a glimmer of hope that one day you'll be back with that someone, living out the life you left behind with them.
Hopes & Fears is a record I haven't stopped listening to. It's one of the most passionate and emotional albums in my collection and every once in a while I find myself wandering back to it, finding new intricacies to admire in Keane's work. If you need a musical friend, let it be Hopes & Fears. There's no finer example. It's tremendous.
More musical magnificence to come next week!