Cause and Effect (Deluxe)
Keane’s fifth studio album Cause and Effect is based on two key life moments: a marriage breakup and a night of drinking that resulted in a car accident and DUI arrest. Both happened to Keane songwriter and keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley. As is Keane’s way, the intimate, if painful, memories (and residual lessons learned) blossom into something transformational and triumphant. But, as he notes, putting such personal and vulnerable moments out in the open is a little easier when you have one of the greatest Britpop singers, Tom Chaplin, interpreting your words. “There's no one else I would trust with that information and those songs that are so important to me,” Rice-Oxley tells Apple Music. “For me, it's a real pleasure to hear him take that raw material and make it into something heavenly.” Rice-Oxley took Apple Music through Cause and Effect track by track.
You’re Not Home “It's about the feeling of being in an empty house that used to feel much more like a home, and how terrifying that can be. We wanted to really create an atmosphere with it. David Kosten, who produced the record, was referencing Björk and Peter Gabriel. It starts with atmospheric leaps that almost appear random, like a collision of stars. It gives you an interesting contrast. It just builds and builds, then you have a huge drop that's like an emotional outpouring. By the time you get to the end of that song, you've been on an emotional rollercoaster—and it's only the first track. We wanted to turn people on to the drama of the record.”
Love Too Much “That's one of the most pop-influenced songs on the record. I was listening to a lot of Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, and Ariana Grande, thinking a lot about that groove, but also about the rhythm of the piece. I wrote it early one morning and thought it obviously was pretty catchy. I wanted it to feel meaningful, not be this throwaway thing. I was trying to write about how romance can be really intense. Sometimes it gets so intense that it destroys itself. Like all the songs on this record, it's a little look at some aspect of the journey that I've been on in the last seven years since my marriage broke down. I think it's something that a lot of people can relate to. When you feel stuff that intensely, it can leave you feeling totally disoriented and lost when it goes away. The truth is, that experience enriches your life in a way that you're never going to lose. It's really important to hang on to that sometimes.”
The Way I Feel “A real favorite of ours. I wanted to gather some of the psychological stuff that comes from life taking a left turn. Like, ‘I just want to be normal. I just want to be the same as everyone else and know why I feel this way about love, or about myself, or about anything.’ The message of the song is very sympathetic and trying to say that everybody has shit going on. The way you feel is the way you feel. That's totally valid. I think it's really important for people to hear that and try and understand that about ourselves and about each other.”
Put the Radio On We really spent a lot of time thinking about the journey of the album. It's not chronological, but it's almost psychological. For me, ‘Put the Radio On,’ ‘Strange Room,’ and ‘Stupid Things’ are a trio of songs that tell little stories about me and about my relationship. ‘Put the Radio On” is almost like a jam, this hypnotic, cyclical groove. The first three minutes of the song has only one chord in it, which is the very opposite of a melodic key approach. It's basically about illicit sex, like getting sucked into a moat that you know is a battle, but you'll slide down into it. You can't stop yourself, and it's about the beauty and darkness in it. The second half of the song is more romantic, just reveling in the genius of those moments in life.”
Strange Room “A very romantic song. I had this really lovely group of friends down in Sussex where I live in the UK. We'd get together at my apartment and sing songs together. That was a really important support network for me after I was first on my own. Then the landlord of a local pub had to move away. On the night of his leaving party at the pub, I drank way too much. I stupidly, stupidly drove my car and crashed into a ditch just up the road. I got arrested and spent a few hours in a prison cell. I was just like, 'Holy shit. How'd this happen? What am I doing? This is not me at all.' It's a gentle and sympathetic way of expressing what can happen in someone's mind to lead them to make terrible decisions. It's a really crucial song on the album, not least because it was the one that Tom really latched onto.”
Stupid Things “’Stupid Things’ is quite unusual for Keane—a storytelling song. Partly, it relates to my own experiences. I'd just gone off the rails. I loved the idea of telling it, trying to imagine this basically normal everyman sort of a character. He's working in the city in London. I imagine him going for one harmless after-work drink. That becomes one more drink. Then, you meet someone, and things spiral out of control. Before you know, you've gone from being a wholesome, honest person who has total control of your life to creating this web of chaos for yourself. It's so easy to do that. People do it all the time. We dig these holes for ourselves, from which it can be hard to recover. The chorus is like a litany of mistakes, but the verse is trying to express how easy it is to do that. Just because you start to earn some money, that doesn't suddenly make you a different person or a better person. You're just the same old person as vulnerable as anyone else.”
Phases “It's a new section of the record. All this happened and all these things go wrong. Then I feel like ‘Phases’ is an introduction. Like, ‘This is a human experience. It's okay if life doesn't go the way you planned it when you were 22.’ I find that really hard to accept, even now. You think you’ve made a plan for your life. The truth is it rarely works out that way. It's fine to say, ‘Okay, that was that, one door's closed and another one opens.’ It's a really hopeful song, a bit like the way I feel. It's like trying to pick myself up and hopefully have that effect on other people.”
I’m Not Leaving “A love song to my daughters. Just trying to say that I'm always here. I was imagining them as teenagers and them discovering the more brutal side of life, like heartbreak and drinking too much. Maybe they’ll start to make mistakes that matter, experiencing a little bit of hardness of life. It's just a way of saying, ‘Dad’s always here, whatever happens.’”
Thread “I was just trying to describe how delicately balanced a marriage can be. I totally thought I would be with my wife forever. I was trying to say, ‘I found myself in this place where I felt like I was hanging by a thread, and things were so delicately balanced.’ It's about how precious these things are and how easily they can slip away.”
Chase the Night Away “It's a much more positive song. It's about the future. It's about new love and how it's difficult to start again from that place, especially as you get older. It's not like being 21, where it's one relationship to another. You're looking for that right person and planning your future. When you're in your forties and you're starting again, it's different, it's complicated. There's still beauty there, and there's still possibility. I wrote those songs to someone that I've met and was trying to say, ‘There's hope. Thank you for showing me the light as well as the shade.’"
I Need Your Love “That was written in a time of desperation. It's a very Lennon-Springsteen anthemic love song. I think the aches of desperation that you feel in the lyrics, it's almost humiliating. It's almost like that, ‘I'll do anything to make things right, I'll humiliate myself to make you happy,’ which is not a healthy way to live. The album ends with that quite nuanced look at relationships. The whole album is a breakup album. We didn't want it to have an easy resolution. I love that we're all singing together on it by the end, much like a chant, a mantra of needing that love. It’s very meaningful to us and hopefully to people who hear it.”