Artist – Keane
Album – The Best of Keane
Year – 2013
Genre – Britpop/Alternative
Ok, now that the stressful time that is finals week at college is over, time to kick things back into gear. Keane is one of my favorite soft rock groups. They really pioneered the piano rock sound back in the early to mid 2000’s. With the incredible voice of Tom Chaplin and the amazing songwriting and piano talents of Tim Rice-Oxley, the band became a tour de force as their fame grew. They really have so many amazing tracks, and I promise you will most likely be seeing some more in the future, but very recently the band has released a track which has captured my attention unlike any of their other work.
Russian Farmer’s Song is very atypical Keane. In fact, it almost has a Radiohead type feel to it. It’s haunting and it paints a lyrical portrait of the very landscape in the title. Apparently the song was written back in 2001, before Keane’s breakout to fame, after Rice-Oxley had just finished Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. It’s a bleakly beautiful song, as the opening piano line swirls like sawdust blown off a table. It just feels rustic, and it sets a mood that pervades the first two thirds of the song.
Tom Chaplin’s voice is still in top form as always, and his sweetly melodic tones dance around notes that may seem unexpected, as the melody is very atypical and strange. However, that is one of the biggest draws of the song, as his voice croons over the top of a very rhythmic beat and rich tonal background that layers the song beautifully. It really is a wonderful mood piece where you can’t help but think of a small Russian farming village with snow blowing and old men smoking.
The lyrics certainly reflect this imagery, but the last two minutes of the song take it to another level. The lyrics become contemplative and the pace slows down, then the music swells and Chaplin really lets it go on his singing. It’s triumphant and uplifting; a completely different mood and feel from the beginning of the song. Also, there’s a wonderful guitar solo/line that plays from the last minute to the end that is to die for. It’s so simple, yet so emotive.
Russian Farmer’s Song is definitely not your run of the mill Keane song. It is not your run of the mill britpop song either. Like I said, there are so many great Keane tracks I could have chosen first, but this one has my attention because it’s different. It’s moody, dark, triumphant, and absolutely gorgeous. Give this one some time to grow because of its differences, but don’t cast it away immediately. It is for these differences that the song needs to be appreciated and deserves a spot on your Ipod.
Let me know what you think of the song and review in the comments below!