Keane's 10 greatest ever songs, ranked

24 June 2024, 09:14

Keane over the years
Keane over the years. Picture: Getty Images

By Mayer Nissim

Keane have been putting out brilliant music for over two decades.

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Despite their unassuming demeanour, Keane are simply one of the biggest UK bands of the 21st century.

They've released FOUR number one albums, with their fifth only being kept off the top by the mighty Liam Gallagher, and each has been sprinkled with sparkling hits.

But over their 20 years in the business, what Keane songs are the best of the best?

We've had a good old listen to their extensive back catalogue and rounded up our favourite singles by the post-Britpop stars.

Read (and listen) on for ten of the best from Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley and co.

  1. Nothing In My Way

    Keane - Nothing In My Way (Live At ULU, London, UK / 2006)

    Keane had gone (almost) instantly supernova with the release of their debut album Hopes & Fears, but if there were any nerves about following it up, it certainly didn't show in the music.

    This single from the follow-up Under the Iron Sea was written and performed as they were touring its predecessor, and proved they had nothing to worry about.

    "'Nothing in My Way' came out of listening to a lot of the poppier end of hip-hop on the radio," said Rice-Oxley.

    "I think particularly the groove of 'Lose Yourself' by Eminem got stuck in my head... and I guess I liked the idea of trying to do something similar."

    As well as going Top 20, the song also sold 1,500 copies on USB, being one of the first – and only – tracks released on the short-lived non-format.

  2. Higher Than The Sun

    Keane - Higher Than The Sun (Official Music Video)

    It's not a cover of Primal Scream's spaced-out masterpiece from Screamadelica, but instead the sweetener lead single from 2013's The Best of Keane compilation.

    The song, along with another new single, 'Won't Be Broken' was written and recorded during the sessions from the previous year's Strangeland, but it absolutely deserved the special attention it got as a standalone single, even though it didn't set the charts alight.

    Its Chris Boyle-directed video told the story of the band's rise and rise to this point.

  3. Silenced By The Night

    Keane - Silenced By The Night (Official Music Video)

    Jesse Quin had been in the Keane sphere for a few years before he officially joined the band in 2011.

    Along with Tim Rice-Oxley, Tom Chaplin and Richard Hughes, Jesse got a co-writing credit on 'Silenced by the Night', the trailer for the fourth studio album Strangeland.

    It's a perfect example of that era of Keane, mixing up absolutely SOARING vocals and an almost Springsteen-esque chorus melody with that mashup of tinkling keys and upbeat energy

  4. The Way I Feel

    Keane - The Way I Feel (Official Music Video)

    Keane had a whopping SEVEN YEAR gap between 2012's Strangeland and their Cause and Effect, released in 2019.

    At that time, Tom Chaplin had released his solo album, and Tim and Jesse's Mt Desolation side-project had released their second, and they brought their new experiences to the recording of of their fifth record.

    'The Way I Feel' was released into a very different industry than the band's previous singles, and didn't bother the charts at all... that's their loss though.

    It showed a properly grown-up Keane still synthesising melancholy and melody, coming off an awful lot like The Killers in the process, but sounding great with it.

  5. Stop For A Minute

    Keane, K'NAAN - Stop For A Minute (Official Music Video)

    Keane had already caused a bit of a stir with their leap into dancier sounds for their Perfect Symmetry album (more on that later), and with the following Night Train EP, they showed that they were willing to push things further.

    For the first two and three-quarter minutes it is that slightly danced-up Keane sound, before guest Canadian-Somali rapper K'NANN, fresh from the success of his own 'Wavin' Flag' single, spits a few bars over the end.

    The song helped the band win a load of international fans when it appeared on the soundtrack to the Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 video game.

  6. Is It Any Wonder?

    Keane - Is It Any Wonder?

    Under the Iron Sea was a leap forward for Keane. Unbothered by the pressure to match their first album, they moved forward in confidence, style and lyrical palette

    'Is It Any Wonder?' was a disarmingly upbeat song that was informed by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a proper "Are we the baddies?" feeling about being British in the 21st century.

    It questions the assumption that we're "living in the kingdom of the good and true" and asks "Is it any wonder that I feel betrayed?".

    That rocking guitar sound is actually achieved with the effects of a Yamaha CP70 piano.

  7. Spiralling

    Keane - Spiralling (Official Music Video)

    Two albums in, many people thought they had Keane pegged as a Coldplay-esque sort of trad band who were based all around the piano.

    Sure, the second album Under the Iron Sea had pushed things forward somewhat, but being honest, this lead single from the third album Perfect Symmetry was a shock to the system.

    Initially released as a free download (remember free downloads?), it racked up 500,000 copies "acquired" in less than a week, and it earned every one of them.

    The WOO! that powers the song is a nod at professional wrestling legend Ric Flair, while the animated robots in the video seem to be inspired by German pioneers Kraftwerk.

    Three albums in it felt like Keane had taken off the shackles and was REALLY enjoying themselves.

  8. Bedshaped

    Keane - Bedshaped (Official Music Video)

    For some, 'Bedshaped' is best remembered for its quirky music video, a stunning stop-motion masterpiece from Corin Hardy featuring a creature that's part sad alcoholic and part Dobby the House Elf. It combined hand-drawn images with band footage to incredible effect.

    But it's the song itself that's really endured. Originally released as a B-side to the first release of 'Everybody's Changing', it rightly got A-side status as the third cut from Hopes & Fears and did its bit to help that album go supernova.

    Like 'Everybody's Changing', the song is about the fear of being left behind, but this time it's more narrowly focused on "an old friend or lover" and feels all the more emotional for it.

  9. Everybody’s Changing

    Keane - Everybody's Changing (Official Music Video)

    Maybe the ultimate example of that early Keane sound. Crystal clear piano, steady drums and Tom Chaplin doing an extremely passable Radiohead-esque vocal line over the top.

    "'Everybody's Changing' is definitely world-weary," Tim told The Times.

    "I wrote that at a time when we were quite low. We'd given up our London dream and had to slink back to Battle. We were feeling really isolated as a band.

    "All our friends were making their way in the world and we were back at square one."

    After scraping in at 122 on its first release on indie Fierce Panda, the song went all the way to number four in the UK singles chart on its re-release the following year.

  10. Somewhere Only We Know

    Keane - Somewhere Only We Know (Official Music Video)

    When Lily Allen covered 'Somewhere Only We Know' for John Lewis in 2013, it wasn't just a classic bit of JL Christmassery.

    It also proved that in the near decade since they had emerged, Keane had become part of the musical fabric of the country

    After their early indie singles, 'Somewhere Only We Know' was the launch track for Hopes & Fears and immediately became THE song for the band. It charted at number three, still the band's biggest hit.

    It was another of the songs written by the band when they returned to Battle with their tails between their legs after their failed first attempt to "make it" in London.

    "It might be about a geographical space, or a feeling; it can mean something individual to each person, and they can interpret it to a memory of theirs," said drummer Richard Hughes.

    "It's perhaps more of a theme rather than a specific message... feelings that may be universal, without necessarily being totally specific to us, or a place, or a time."