Somewhere Only We Know

"Somewhere Only We Know"
Keane-SOWK.jpg
Single by Keane
from the album Hopes and Fears
Released16 February 2004
Format7" vinyl, Enhanced CD single, 3" pocket
RecordedLate 2003; Heliocentric Studios, Rye, East Sussex, England
Les Essarts, Normandy, France
GenrePop rock, soft rock
Length3:57
LabelIsland
Songwriter(s)Tim Rice-Oxley, Tom Chaplin, Richard Hughes
Producer(s)Andy Green, James Sanger, Keane
Keane singles chronology
"This Is the Last Time"
(2003)
"Somewhere Only We Know"
(2004)
"Everybody's Changing"
(2004)

"This Is the Last Time"
(2003)
"Somewhere Only We Know"
(2004)
"Everybody's Changing"
(2004)
Promo cover
Cover for the promo version release. The image appears on the back of the official release's cover.
Cover for the promo version release. The image appears on the back of the official release's cover.

"Somewhere Only We Know" is a song composed and performed by English alternative rock band Keane, officially released as the first single from their debut album Hopes and Fears (2004). The single became one of the biggest hits of 2004 worldwide and peaking on the UK Singles Chart at number three during its first week of sale. It was also Keane's best-selling single until "Is It Any Wonder?" in 2006.

In 2013, the song was covered by Lily Allen for a John Lewis Christmas advert.

Composition and recording

The first demo was composed by Tim Rice-Oxley in about 2001. Rice-Oxley said that the song came from "hammering away on the piano" explaining "I was thinking of something like David Bowie's "Heroes", which you drive along to a really rocking beat. ... It was one of the first things we recorded for the album."[1] It was first played on the guitar just before Dominic Scott left the band, and recorded as a demo the same year with a Yamaha CP70 instead of the guitar. Keane recorded the final version in 2003 at the Helioscentric Studios, Rye, East Sussex for the album. Keane also played this song at the historic concert Live 8 in London, along with the single "Bedshaped".

A demo version of "Somewhere Only We Know" was leaked into the Internet in 2004. This version features a different length (4:24) and an extra bridge. Chaplin's shout at the outro is removed.

"Somewhere Only We Know" is a traditional piano rock song. The piano is the most relevant instrument, due to its harmonic and rhythmic role. It is played in quavers throughout the whole song, holding the tempo and the rhythmic pattern. The studio version is recorded in 87bpm, and follows a 4/4 time signature, one of the most commonly used in traditional rock songs. It is in the key of A major. The song form can analyzed as "ABAB CBCB", a variation of the strophic form. The verse (A) chord progression is a plain (I-II-V), one of the most used chord progressions in music; the chorus (B) presents a (VI-III-IV-V) progression; the variation of the verse section (C) presents a (II-III-IV-V) progression.

The bass line was recorded by Rice-Oxley. When played live (up until 2007/8 with the arrival of bassist Jesse Quin), this song uses a pre-recorded bass, which is played in an Apple PowerBook G4. The 16-beat rhythm was made by Hughes. The song relies heavily in synthesizers, sampling and organ timbre, used to complement the harmonies in the song.