My brother and I used to get into arguments on who discovered Keane first. I had heard “Is It Any Wonder?” somewhere on MySpace and he’d heard “Crystal Ball” on Pandora. The argument seemed like a big deal at the time– a point of pride, having found a super awesome band before anyone else (we didn’t listen to pop radio much growing up and totally missed the mega hit “Somewhere Only We Know,” so we actually found the band later than everyone else, but that’s beside the point).
Whether he was first or I was (it was me), there was one thing we could both agree on: Under the Iron Sea was a phenomenal album.
My brother is 5 years older than me, so he was often on chauffeur duty. Despite the age difference, we used to go to school in the same building (country life) and if we timed it right, the drive from home to school matched up perfectly with the duration of Coldplay’s “Clocks” (a song he also “discovered” on Pandora. Did we just never own a radio??).
One night, years later, my brother was driving me home from a different school (I had ditched the country life), on a dark, rainy fall night. He put on Keane’s “Try Again,” I turned toward the passenger window, and I just sat there while the song played. And then again when my brother hit replay.
When we got home, he teased me about falling asleep to the song in the car. Similar instances have happened throughout the years, and he brings it up every time, but I never correct him. It’s much less embarrassing to say I was sleeping than to admit I was actually just moodily staring at the raindrops on the window while imagining a music video in my head.
Now that I’m far older and can drive myself around, I still choose to listen to “Try Again” on those dreary fall nights. The song pairs well with the somber atmosphere.
Keane’s pianist/multi-instrumentalist Tim Rice-Oxley penned the track back in 2005 and once described it on the Keane podcast as being a “commuter’s love song.” He continued, “There’s something weird about that feeling of being on a train really really late at night when there’s just a handful of you there, and I always wonder what everyone’s story is– especially people who’ve been to work and probably got up at some horrendous hour of the morning, and they’re traipsing back to their home somewhere in the suburbs.”
“Try Again” is a sad story of a love slipping away and the narrator’s desperate attempts to get it back.
“…when it gets to the middle 8 of the song, it’s as if your eyes opened for a moment and you suddenly realize you’ve waited so much time and want to have one chance to kinda grab it back and make up for all that lost time,” Rice-Oxley said.
It’s a masterfully crafted tale that may leave you shedding a few tears while reminiscing on your own love stories, even if they only exist in your head.
I suppose I should thank my brother, though. If I hadn’t been on MySpace that day, I may not have gotten into Keane when I did. But it wouldn’t have been long before he’d come into my room, saying, “Nic, you’ve gotta hear this song I just found!”
So in the end, I guess it really didn’t matter who found them first, just as long as we found them.