Single Review: Keane “Somewhere Only We Know”

Album: Hopes and Fears
Year: 2004(UK & Australia)/2005 (U.S.)

According to Tim Rice-Oxley of Keane, “Somewhere Only We Know is “about being able to draw strength from a place or experience you’ve shared with someone.”

Tom Chaplin lead singer of Keane, is at the place where he and his friend has spent time. He remembers it clearly and doesn’t get lost searching for the river. (“I walked across an empty land/I knew the pathway like the back of my hand/I felt the earth beneath my feet/Sat by the river and it made me complete”). However, his friend is not there with him. They have become distant and Chaplin wants to put their past behind them. (“Oh simple thing where have you gone/I’m getting old and I need something to rely on/So tell me when you’re gonna let me in/I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin”).

The place has changed. It’s worn and isn’t as beautiful as it did before. Something’s off about it and Chaplin can’t believe it’s the same place. (“I came across a fallen tree/I felt the branches of it looking at me/Is this the place we used to love?/Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?”).

He suggests tohis childhood friend to talk about their differences where they had grown up and shared memories. The end of their friendship is a possibility and so his is idealization of the place.(“And if you have a minute why don’t we go/Talk about it somewhere only we know?/This could be the end of everything/So why don’t we go/Somewhere only we know?”).

“Somewhere Only We Know” has two ideas going at once;. 1) losing a part of us which was once familiar and now strange, 2) repairing a damaged relationship which is as now dilipadated as the place. However, Chaplin is seeking a link to his past and to a part of himself he wish he could recapture.
Quiet and patient, the single is one of the best songs to come out in 2005.

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