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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Better second time around

POP EXPLORED – Pt eleven.
Younger daughter (Occasional Speeder) goes to Keane concerts with her daughter Ysabelle. This seems strange. Children should resist their parents’ musical tastes otherwise the dynasty withers. Then I recalled that Elder Daughter (Professional Bleeder), a fan of David Bowie inter alia, watched Benjamin Britten’s opera The Turn of The Screw on telly with us when she last stayed. Is the da Ponte strain incestuously blanding?

My earlier review of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know wasn’t exactly kind. So I tried another track – Can’t Stop Now, recorded in Neanderthal times (2003 to be exact) on telly. Previously I thought Keane’s lead singer looked about fourteen. This time the lower half of his pixy-ish face hinted he was turning into a girl. With straggly unwashed hair and NHS dentures.

So I concentrated on the music. Forget the drummer, probably wearing Wigan clogs with which to belabour his tom-toms. But the pianist started with an almost Bach-like continuo and second time round I found myself enjoying his spare, displaced beat accompaniment. Really this was OK.

The singer’s voice hardly spans an octave and lacks identifiable character. But – again, second time around – I realised it was melodious, a singer’s voice in fact. Youthful, undeveloped but – hey – this is pop. The tune he sang could, with different backing, have made its way in the nineties if not the eighties. Not old-fashioned but lacking fashion. Passionately delivered from a familiar crouch.

The sentiments were personal, unexceptional and unafraid of bathos:

I noticed tonight that the world has been turning
While I've been stood here, dithering around

A YouTube commenter said severely, “To all those complaining, this is a bad performance.” – no doubt dreaming of vast arenas. But the boutiquey environment suited the band’s unaggressive style. I may listen again.

Want to arrive at your judgement? own Click HERE


  1. Occasional Speeder2 March 2012 at 15:49

    How very pleasing this is for the following reasons:

    It's always a pleasent experianxce when someone likes something you are enthusiastic about

    I'm happy that, without any knowledge at all, you have managed to become as curious about the styling of the lead singer as many oher people are.(His name is Thomas Chaplin - I expect even now at the age of 30, he gets asked for ID is pubs) He's referred to as "ruddy faced" by the cruel and "cherubic" by those who are kinder. He has an unbelievable fervent(note how I ignored the obvious Sun-like pun) female interest in the whole of South America. They declare undying love to him constantly, claiming to know he is sensitive, kind and deep. The lyrics written by the piano player (The driver behind the band)in a song called "Nothing in my Way" suggest otherwise.....

    Finanlly what fills me with warmth most is the fact this isn't my favourite Keane song - but it's the one I've always thought would attract YOU. The change in tempo at the end, the piano playing were all something that I fellt would surprise you. Please don't feel you've "fallen into the trap" - I'm just happy to have confirmation that I do know a little something about you!

  2. OS: You've got to remember, it's as if I'm trying to express myself in a new and relatively obscure language. Let's say Inuit. However I was pleased to be able to distinguish (using memory alone) between the two Keane songs. I'm sure you were right to predict (to yourself) that Can't Stop Now would be more congenial for me since that's an expression of your critical faculties. I have no sense of being "trapped"; these are really experiments, not truly aesthetic experiences, since I have no real backlog for comparison. I sometimes wonder what you think about the sort of stuff I grew up on (Sinatra, Fitzgerald, etc) which still continues to be played decades after they were recorded.