Few songs better embody mid-aughts pop rock than Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know." The piano-led number was nostalgic, catchy, and emphatically performed by frontman Tom Chaplin and paved the way for similarly corny uber-successful bands like The Fray and Onerepublic. The track even managed to land big appearances on Grey's Anatomy, Cold Case, and Glee, as well as the Jennifer Aniston film He's Just Not That Into You. Kacey Musgraves covered it in 2018, too.
But did you know it's about "smoking weed in a school playground"?
This isn't some crackpot theory surmising that the English trio enjoys toking up every once in a while (because their 2006 sophomore album Under The Iron Sea is actually pretty sonically adventurous). Instead, it's a fact that comes straight from the band. In a new interview with the Guardian, Chaplin and pianist and songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley explained the origins of their breakout hit. According to Chaplin, "My mum and dad ran a school, and we used to sit in the grounds as teenagers, smoking weed and hanging out: I always thought about that place when I sang the song. To me it’s about us as friends and a band, growing up."
Rice-Oxley echoed Chaplin's sentiment, saying, "The song is about us being back and having something to cling to. I picture a particular place in Sussex, just a bit of scrub where we used to go when we were kids. There was a fallen pine tree and it seemed like a place to escape." He also revealed that when he was writing the iconic piano melody, he "had the driving rhythm of David Bowie’s 'Heroes' in mind as a starting point, so [he] used the pounding piano like a rhythm guitar and the rest just flowed instinctively."
Though there's nothing in the lyrics that directly alludes to the members of Keane getting high (maybe except for a liberal interpretation of "I felt the earth beneath my feet"), it's nice to know that one of the 00's biggest singles is about the members of Keane getting high. Listen to it below.