Per the FAQ on Keane's website, Keane's drummer Richard Hughes, stated the following: "We've been asked whether "Somewhere Only We Know" is about a specific place, and Tim has been saying that, for him, or us as individuals, it might be about a geographical space, or a feeling; it can mean something individual to each person, and they can interpret it to a memory of theirs... It's perhaps more of a theme rather than a specific message... Feelings that may be universal, without necessarily being totally specific to us, or a place, or a time..." With the nostalgic sentiment and the overall tone of the song, I think Keane is attempting to express a Portuguese term known as 'saudade', which does not have a direct English translation but roughly means "that which we remember because it is gone."
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Somewhere Only We Know
Sunglasses at Night
In the 1980s, sunglasses were a common fashion for people who wanted to adopt a "tough guy" persona (note all the cop shows from that era -- Simon & Simon, Miami Vice, etc. -- where the lead characters wore shades). So I think this song is about a guy who wears shades as a way of hiding his insecurity after learning that his girlfriend is cheating on him. He's trying to pretend that he's a "tough guy" to hide the fact that his girlfriend's affair is disturbing him.
I believe this is another amazingly on point and nuanced commentary on the insanity that follows emotionally abusive relationships. The abuser has no anxieties, no emotional pain, or salience/memory for that matter, so the survivor appears to be the crazy one, obsessed with the abuse and that buzzword that seems to ignite arguments about diagnosing people without a degree, etc. funny how you say the words domestic violence, abuse, abuse survivor and boom the subject changes. Anyways, I especially relate to her midnights becoming afternoons, complex PTSD often leads to this phenomenon, whether due to purposeful sleep deprivation by the abuser, or just hyper vigilance associated with the PTSD, along with the fear of facing people, especially your loved ones, who Never actually understand, even if they try, because all they see is you, on fire, screaming about the arsonist that no one ever sees, and who has been spreading lies about your alleged mental instability, deceptive personality, etc. the whole time. While the last thing survivors need is more blame, our society supports a narrative that blames the objectively innocent party because the blatantly guilty party has spent their entire lives fabricating a persona and we’re just being human, and human psychology is quite counterintuitive especially in the context of trauma. Look at Amber Heard. Vilified and not believed, regardless of what any abuse survivor could recognize as a fellow survivor instantly. But Johnny depp is a malignant narcissist, a man, and wealthy as all get out. It’s sick.
Matt Shadows their lead singer says the song was written as per request from the developers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Watching the initial trailers for the game & looking at production sketches reminded him of the 'S-Town' podcast & its main protagonist, John B. McLemore. Matt also comments specifically on the lyrics: "I decided that the lyrics would shadow McLemore's life." In 2012, antiquarian horologist John B. McLemore sent an email to the staff of the show 'This American Life' asking them to investigate an alleged murder in his hometown of Woodstock, Alabama, a place McLemore claimed to despise. After a year of exchanging emails & several months of conversation with McLemore, producer Brian Reed traveled to Woodstock to investigate. Reed investigated the crime & eventually found that no such murder took place, though he struck up a friendship with the depressed but colorful character of McLemore. He recorded conversations with McLemore & other people in Woodstock. McLemore killed himself by drinking potassium cyanide on June 22, 2015 while the podcast was still in production. In the narrative of the podcast, this occurs at the end of the second episode; subsequent episodes deal with the fallout from McLemore's death while exploring more of McLemore's life & character.
This standout track comes off the artist's latest studio album titled "empathetic". The track was produced by Danny Score and released via notable digital streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify on January 1, 2021.