Same ideas expressed in Fitter, Happier are expressed in this song. We're told to strive for some sort of ideal life, which includes getting a good job, being kind to everyone, finding a partner, getting married, having a couple kids, living in a quiet neighborhood in a nice big house, etc. But in Fitter, Happier the narrator(?) realizes that it's incredibly robotic to live this life. People are being used by those in power "like a pig in a cage on antibiotics"--being pacified with things like new phones and cool gadgets and houses while being sucked dry. On No Surprises, the narrator is realizing how this life is killing him slowly. In the video, his helmet is slowly filling up with water, drowning him. But he's so complacent with it. This is a good summary of the song. This boring, "perfect" life foisted upon us by some higher powers (not spiritual, but political, economic, etc. politicians and businessmen, perhaps) is not the way to live. But there is seemingly no way out but death. He'd rather die peacefully right now than live in this cage. While our lives are often shielded, we're in our own protective bubbles, or protective helmets like the one Thom wears, if we look a little harder we can see all the corruption, lies, manipulation, etc. that is going on in the world, often run by huge yet nearly invisible organizations, corporations, and 'leaders'. It's a very hopeless song because it reflects real life.
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More Featured Meanings
Ed Sheeran tells a story of unsuccessfully trying to feel “Amazing.” This track is about the being weighed down by emotional stress despite valiant attempts to find some positivity in the situation. This track was written by Ed Sheeran from the perspective of his friend. From the track, we see this person fall deeper into the negative thoughts and slide further down the path of mental torment with every lyric.
I think the meaning is pretty clear. This person got really burned in a previous relationship, and because of this is unable to love and show care in his present one, even though he so badly wants to. It's lovely song, and very sad. You can really feel how defeated and frustrated he is with himself.
Somewhere Only We Know
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."
"Zombie" is about the ethno-political conflict in Ireland. This is obvious if you know anything of the singer (Dolores O'Riordan)'s Irish heritage and understood the "1916" Easter Rising reference. "Another head hangs lowly Child is slowly taken And the violence caused such silence Who are we mistaken - Another mother's breaking Heart is taking over" Laments the Warrington bomb attacks in which two children were fatally injured on March 23rd, 1993. Twelve year old Tim Parry was taken off life support with permission from his mother after five days in the hospital, virtually braindead. "But you see it's not me It's not my family" References how people who are not directly involved with the violence feel about it. They are "zombies" without sympathy who refuse to take action while others suffer.