Crystal Ball (Keane song): Wikis


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"Crystal Ball"
Single by Keane
from the album Under the Iron Sea
B-side "Maybe I Can Change"
"The Iron Sea: Magic Shop Version"
Released 21 August 2006
Format 7" Vinyl
CD single
Recorded Heliocentric Studios, Rye, East Sussex
The Magic Shop, New York
Genre Piano rock
Length 3:53
Label Island Records
Producer Andy Green
Keane singles chronology
"Is It Any Wonder?"
"Crystal Ball"
"Nothing in My Way"
Under the Iron Sea track listing
"The Iron Sea"
"Crystal Ball"
"Try Again"

"Crystal Ball" is a song performed and composed by English rock band Keane, and featured on their second studio album, Under the Iron Sea. The song was released on 21 August 2006 as the third single from the United Kingdom album version (see 2006 in British music). The song was co-written by a London teenager, Elijah Volkova. "Crystal Ball" was also released on 18 August 2006 in the Netherlands and peaked at #20 in both the Dutch Singles Chart and the UK Singles Chart.


Track listings


CD Single

  1. "Crystal Ball"
  2. "Maybe I Can Change"
  3. "The Iron Sea: Magic Shop Version"

UK 7" Vinyl

  1. "Crystal Ball"
  2. "Maybe I Can Change"

Composition and recording

"Crystal Ball" was composed by Tim Rice-Oxley in 2006 under permission of Elijah Volkova, co-writer of the song. It was recorded at the Helioscentric Studios, East Sussex and at the Magic Shop, New York. Guitar effects are created by a synthesizer Yamaha CP60M.

Information about song's meaning

...That was a really scary for me, because I've always had lots to say, and lots of opinions whether right or wrong. We then ended up having a massive row about something a couple of days later and it came out of that that we were all feeling this sense of numbness, this feeling of kinda fading away as people. I struggled to find one last song to complete the album, and found I could not write. I was left looking around song directories written by the sheer desperates of London, thus explaining how I discovered Crystal Ball... - Tim Rice-Oxley at Keaneshaped

Musical structure

Similarly to other Keane songs such as "Somewhere Only We Know", the song follows a quaver-note driven sound. Several effects, like the aforementioned distortion pisano and strings, are added through the song. The fading-in intro is often referred as a continuation to "The Iron Sea", and represented as an immediate returning to surface of the "Iron Sea". Vocals are introduced at 19 seconds and continue until fading on 3:04. Demo version included on the bonus DVD of the album would reprise the intro riff before the final.



Maybe I Can Change

It was recorded at the Magic Shop Studios in New York. It was first known by a shot on the Under the Iron Sea DVD, as well as in the June issue of the Q Magazine. It is rumoured amongst the band's fanbase that this song may have been composed by Chaplin as a response to Rice-Oxley's "Hamburg Song" and "Broken Toy". As of 8 September 2006 this has not been definitively confirmed by either Chaplin or Rice-Oxley.

The Iron Sea: Magic Shop Version

This version, recorded at The Magic Shop, New York, features, contrary to the album's version, drums. The recording is also extended and features an immediate intro.

Technical information on songs

Song Length Tempo Key Time signature Genre
"Crystal Ball" 3:53 124bpm bb (Si flat minor) 4/4 on 8 beats Rock
"Maybe I Can Change" 3:56 69bpm C (Do major) 4/4 on 16 beats Piano rock
"The Iron Sea: Magic Shop Version" 4:30 89bpm+ G (Sol major) 4/4 on 8 beats New Age rock

Music video

The music video for "Crystal Ball" was released by NME on 4 August 2006 It features the American actor Giovanni Ribisi. The director was Giuseppe Capotondi. It is about an estate agent losing his identity.

A woman is helping her husband (Ribisi) and young son get ready to leave the house. She tells her husband to pick up the dry cleaning for her. He then gets into his Toyota Camry and drives off with his son.

We next see the man get to his office and warmly interact with a secretary. There are photographs on his desk of him with his family. We then see him showing off a house to a couple, implying that he is a real estate agent. We then see him work some more in his office.

Later, the real estate agent returns to his house, where he finds that a red Ford Taurus is parked outside it. His keys don't seem to work so he knocks on the door and rings the bell. His wife partially opens the door and looks at him with surprise when he tries to enter. She then calls to someone off-screen.

A man appears behind the upset woman and the real estate agent speaks to the woman with a look of disbelief on his face. The woman then shuts the door on him. We next see the real estate agent look in the window of the house and smile at his son, but this only frightens the boy. We next see the real estate agent angrily trying to explain the situation to a police office as the man and his wife talk to another officer. The real estate agent is ushered away and we see him driving away in his car still being tailed by the police.

After making some phone calls and wandering around in frustration, we see the man wake up in his car in the parking lot of his office. When he gets out of the car, he takes a look around him with a look of surprise on his face, perhaps thinking it was all a dream. He walks into the office and waves at his secretary who stands up in surprise. He then finds the man he saw in his house now sitting at his desk. He rushes to keep the man from phoning security and then begins to argue with him angrily. He then stops when he sees that the photographs on his desk now show the other man with his family instead of himself.

When the man is finally thrown out of the building, he sees someone run toward his car in the distance. He runs to the car and jumps on the hood, shouting at the person inside, claiming that the car belongs to him. In the end, the person ignores him and drives the car away, leaving the man standing in the parking lot confused and defeated. The story is intercut with footage of the band playing together in a room.

The video was also recycled for the US release video for the single Nothing in My Way, albeit with the band footage removed and subtitles added. At around the time of this single release it was announced that Tom Chaplin had gone into rehab for 'drug and alcohol addiction'. It is noticeable that the original video does not feature any close up shots of Chaplin, but several of Tim Rice-Oxley and Richard Hughes, though it is unknown whether this is deliberate.

Cover art

The cover art designed by Sanna Annukka is also found in the inner pages of the Under the Iron Sea DVD. The CD box is similar to the one containing "Is It Any Wonder?", made out of recycled materials.

Chart performance

Chart Peak position
Hong Kong airwave FM903 1
Slovakia Charts 2
M4B Charts 3
Latvian airplay 5
Taiwan 5
UK Mix 6
Nederlandse Tipparade 6
Greenland 7
Dutch Top 40 8
Islas Canarias 11
UK Singles Chart 13
Euro Top 20 16
Top France Airplay 100 16
Slovenian Chart 16
Romanian Single Chart 17
Peru 19
Top World 22
Beyond Radio Charts USA 28
UK Official Download Chart 33
Irish Singles Chart 41
German Charts 46
iTunes Music Store (UK) 55
France Singles Chart 60
European Single Charts 62
Top 100 America 78

External links


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