Musings on music delivered when I dig myself out.

This is a song that I adore (a series)

"We Might as Well Be Strangers," from Keane's debut album, Hopes & Fears

There's a little part in me that says I probably shouldn't like this song nearly as much as I do. It's because Keane, like countless other groups of songwriters, take very general topic and writes about it in such a way that nearly any person can apply it to themselves. "Well, couldn't that be a positive trait?" Yeah, it could. Making something that everyone can relate to is hardly easy. Hell, my friend and I can hardly rally around a restaurant we all want to eat at. At the same time, writing so generally doesn't speak highly of the depth of the songwriting. But I didn't choose to write about this song to tear it to bits. I'm here to give this song massive props for playing such a huge role in my music-listening catalog.

In the case that you haven't heard "We Might as Well Be Strangers," it's a ballad about moving on from someone, whether it be with a friend, family member, or significant other. The lyrics talk about missing that person's touch, their appearance. They talk about not understanding the person's thoughts -- the way that they make decisions. The chorus, as predictable as it seems, is "We might as well be strangers in... (and then singer Tom Champlin lists off the places where they could be strangers)," for whatever goddamn reason, it works. His vocals during the chorus start off slow and carefully punctuated, almost like he's staring at the ground as he's singing, pushing around a few errant leaves. The lines continue, his voice gaining thickness and stepping up in octave; he's walking faster now, his hands jammed into his pockets, his eyes gazing around lazily at those near him. When the climax hits, it's almost as if he's struck with a blast of emotion that sends him reeling, the words being fired into a slate-grey sky.

At this point if you're singing along, you might be inclined to do the same and pretend that you're part of a very thoughtful music video or a musical that doesn't suck. It's so easy to put yourself into Champlin's shoes that it's scary. You don't have to be fresh out of a long relationship, bitter from a fight with a friend, or pissed at a family member to connect with this song on some level. Everyone's had some sort of relationship dry up and crumble away. And that's how this song has made its way into my playlist so many times. It always manages to strike a chord with me and I find that plainly impressive.

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