Keane Overcome Obstacles and Demons to Release Greatest Hits Album
Greatest hits albums are often associated with bands that are well into their careers, who have been around for decades, and/or possibly may be headed downhill. That's why it seems a bit strange for Keane to be releasing a greatest hits album while they're arguably in the prime of their career.
"A greatest hits (album) does feel a bit weird because I associate it with bands like the Rolling Stones," keyboardist and chief songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley says with a laugh. "I try to make myself feel better by thinking of it as a milestone rather than a headstone."
Although they've only been around a fraction of the time that the Stones have, the British band has repeatedly topped the charts in their native UK since releasing their first album in 2004 and have sold more than 11 million albums worldwide. Known for their piano-driven rock ballads and soaring anthems that conjure up bands like Coldplay and Travis, Keane had plenty of material to draw from for The Best of Keane.
"We tried to make it more of our own selection of our favorite songs rather than just choosing all the singles," Rice-Oxley says of the album, which comes out November 12 on the Cherrytree Records/Interscope imprint. "We're very proud of our albums as 11- or 12-song collections and stories in their own right. There are a lot of songs out there the casual listener may not have heard on the radio. But these are songs we're most proud of and best represent the past 20 odd years since we started writing songs together."
Childhood friends Rice-Oxley, lead singer Tom Chaplin, drummer Richard Hughes, and former guitarist Dominic Scott came together as young teenagers in East Sussex, England with grand ambitions of forming a successful band, despite the fact that they could hardly play their instruments and didn't know anyone else who was in a group.
"When we first started playing together, we were really young and naïve and not very good musicians," says Rice-Oxley. "We've always tried to push ourselves to get better and say something honest and meaningful and tell a story of where we were at as people. We wanted to express our observations about the world and ourselves that we hoped would be interesting and inspiring for other people."
Success didn't come quickly for the band, and lead guitarist Scott was losing faith. "We were struggling for many years to get a record deal or make any progress, and he gave up," Rice-Oxley explains. Although they were disappointed to lose their guitarist, it ended up being very fortuitous for the band. "I thought I could fill in the gap left by guitar by playing the piano," says Rice-Oxley, who had played that instrument as a kid. "That became a sound without us intending to, and it made us sound and look different from anyone else. It worked better with the songs. It was a weird stroke of fate."
The Best of Keane includes the hits "Somewhere Only We Know," "Bend and Break," and "Everybody's Changing" as well as two new tunes, "Won't Be Broken" and "Higher Than the Sun," which have never been previously released. "'Won't Be Broken' was recorded for our fourth album Strangeland," Rice-Oxley explains. "It's a poppy, very joyous, and uplifting song about pushing forward through life. It ties in very nicely with this record," he says.