Last week I was browsing iTunes looking for new music, as is my wont, and I came across Keane‘s new album, Perfect Symmetry. Three things immediately interested me about the album. First, my general musical tastes lately have run toward British music — Annie, Adele, Amy, Duffy, and Paulo. Second, I had recently noticed a couple of reviews of the album, which stated that it has an 80’s sound. Generally speaking, I love 80’s music. And finally, more than one reviewer has noted that this album suddenly sounds a bit like a British version of The Killers. Since The Killers is one of my favorite bands, I appreciate that comparison.

So, I thought I’d give it a try. So, I went to YouTube to see the video for the first single, “Spiralling.” Here it is:

I immediately loved the sound and look of this video. This definitely isn’t the Keane that I remember ad nauseum on Vh1 singing “Somewhere Only We Know,” a song I didn’t really care for. I like the 80’s style video, and the music is definitely to my taste.

So, I moved on to the second video from the album, “The Lovers Are Losing:”

This song is even catchier. Plus Tom Chaplin seems sexier in this video than I remember from “Somewhere Only We Know.” The shorter hair is definitely a good thing. I also like the lyrics. Here’s the chorus:

You take the pieces of the dreams that you have
‘Cause you don’t like the way they seem to be going
You cut them up and spread them out on the floor
You’re full of hope as you begin rearranging
Put it all back together
But anyway you look at things
Looks like
The lovers are losing

What I like about this lyric is that, while it’s kind of wordy, it all still flows and creates a clear visual image. Plus the hook is really catchy. I now find myself singing this chorus in my head all the time.

Since I liked these two tracks so much, I decided to purchase the album. Now that I’ve been listening to it for about a week, I can say that I really love. So far there isn’t a track that I don’t like. One of the themes that threads through the album is lost dreams, failed love, and aspirations that have come to nothing. While that sound kind of a downer, in fact I think the album is rather upbeat and beautiful rather than depressing.

“Better Than This” is one of my favorites. It’s kind of a “How did I get here?” kind of song. While the lyrics are a little pessimistic, the music is actually kind of light and peppy, for lack of a better description. I like the contrast this creates. It kind of reminds me of a 10,000 Maniacs song.

I also “You Don’t See Me,” which is a take-time-to-smell-the-roses kind of song that judges the self-centered person who doesn’t see anything besides him- or herself. It’s sort of a counterbalance to the song “You Don’t Know Me.”

I keep meaning to add “Again and Again” to my iPod workout mix. It’s about being with someone who just says the same, easy thing over and over without really meaning it.

And finally, I also really like “Love Is the End,” a sad song about lost love and loneliness. This is the song that seems would have been most easily assimilated into Keane’s previous piano sound. I could imagine it as a piano ballad. Since I’m not a piano ballad kind of guy, I appreciate this direction better, though there is still piano in this track.

Listening to Perfect Symmetry made me want to go back and listen to Keane’s previous music and perhaps reassess “Somewhere Only We Know.” Here is the original video for the song:

I like this video better than the American one. I also like the song better now that it’s not on the t.v. constantly. I’ll have to listen to more of their music.

In the meantime, Perfect Symmetry is currently one of my favorite albums. While fans of their previous albums may not like the 80’s vibe as much as I do, I’m loving it!

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