Better Than This
WORDS: Tom Williams (Sprout Editorial Group)
Keane have come a long way since the turn of the Millennium.
They’d changed names many times, lost a member from the band, and were once producing CDs at only 500 a go.?
Then they released their first commercial single at the start of 2003, Everybody’s Changing. The rest is history.
Since then they have released the albums Hopes And Fears, and Under The Iron Sea which racked eight million sales between them; and on 13 October 2008, Perfect Symmetry was released. Better Than This is from that album.
Frontman Tom Chaplin says,"Sonically it’s a big departure, but lyrically, being about the state of 'celebrity culture'? people see it as such an important thing? the fame and celebrity side of things? I’d much rather it was just about the music; the reason we got into the band in the first place".
All their songs seem to have some strong moral idea behind them, but where this has stayed the same, their style of music has evolved across their three albums.?
It is widely recognised that the powerful piano-driven ballads classic debut Hopes And Fears was far from its darker cousin, Under The Iron Sea with its electro rock and distorted piano, but Perfect Symmetry takes their music to a more pop-like feel performed with "pure, unashamed energy".
I don’t know whether the introduction is fitting. It is not as powerful as the rest of the song with its?energetic vocals.?
However, the way the vocals burst through is very effective and the spiralling feeling the music creates reflects the turmoil and confusion that Chaplin mentions ? the priorities of modern society.
"Is this what you meant??Is this what you dreamed of??Just keep your eyes on the road,?and nothing can go wrong". The point is, when most people hit the big time, they forget why they went into it in the first place. However, I will not reflect on this for too log, just as they don't. The rest of the song is very positive.
I love the lyrics. I love the power with which they are sang. And I love the joy that they emit. When I hear this song, the sun is always shining, it is uplifting, and it is life-embracing.?We’ve all been guilty of straying from the path every now and then, but we can be forgiven and we can always reach out for higher things. This song injects purpose into this idea.
"You can do so much better than this" is not spiteful, not angry, but?almost happy and grateful. Get out there and grab the moment, look towards better things; this makes them seem ever so reachable.
I love the "Get a grip on yourself" explosion [at 2.03]. Again, not rude. It makes you want to pick yourself up, and the group singing [at 2.23] just makes me see people hand-in-hand, swaying with each other in a party atmosphere, supporting each other. I think the drums make this song [particularly at 2.51] ? they are the beat of life ? and it works.
Keane should never move away from these powerful vocals, moral and uplifting lyrics and strong beats.
They’ve started using the electric guitar now, and I think it will only enhance their music, and I’d like to hear more of it.
Better Than This is released on Monday 16 March.