Monday, June 26, 2006

New Album by Keane

I can't use enough superlatives to describe the new Keane album, which I just got. One of the best pop singers that I've ever heard, singing some of the most melodic and can't-get-it-out-of-your-head tunes that I've ever heard.

The constant comparisons to Coldplay are infuriating: The songwriting is more varied and creative, and the lead singer's voice is incomparably better. (Chris Martin of Coldplay: Ugh. He should be lucky to be allowed to sing a special song at a Wednesday night service in the smallest Baptist church in the average Southern town.)

As I was saying: The songs on the new Keane album are wonderfully catchy. And the lead singer's voice has actually gotten higher and more powerful since the first album. (Most lead singers' voices go on a steady course downhill after the first album, because 1) they are getting older, and, more importantly, 2) they are constantly on tour straining their voices.) On Keane's first album, I couldn't help noticing that nearly every song was keyed so that the highest note was an A. If the song's melody went "2-1" at the highest point, it would be in G major, so that the highest point was A-G. If the highest point was on the 4, the song would be in E-major, so that once again the highest note was A. It was this way for literally almost every song, except for those where he didn't go quite that high. (And one song where he hit a high C but clearly in falsetto.)

But on this album, there are several songs where the singer is hitting high B-flats and Bs, and even one song where he hits a high D in what sounds pretty close to full voice (maybe a little falsetto mixed in, but not much). Now that's high.

Anyway, I can't count how many times I've bought a pop/rock album on the basis of one or more songs that were radio hits, and then found out that the rest of the album was, to put it bluntly, crap. Every Keane song is good. Every last one. Nothing disappoints.

This is especially noteworthy on a second album. Most bands peak on their first album. They've been struggling in the trenches for a few years before they get their first big break, and they've had time to write and polish some decent songs. But then with the second album, they're on tour, and they have to put together an album within a matter of months. There isn't enough time for them to think of 20 or 30 new songs, cull through them to take only the best, etc. And there's a reason for the term "one-hit wonder" -- there are some musicians who will only be able to think of one decent song in their entire lives.


Blogger Dignan said...

Stuart: you couldn't be more correct. Coldplay is the poor man's Keane. I didn't think that they would be able to top their previous album but they may have with this new one.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Keane are pur genuis.

Could be the next Beatles if they play their cards right.

Keep it up guys, music needs you.

10:20 AM  

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