“Is It Any Wonder?” is a song performed and composed by English alternative rock band Keane and is featured on their second studio album, Under the Iron Sea as the second track. This is considered to be the second single on “Under the Iron Sea era”, after the download-only “Atlantic”. However, it is also considered to be the album’s first physical single release.

The song was released to the iTunes Store on 16 May and to shops on 29 May 2006 as the lead single from the album (see 2006 in British music). The single debuted at #15 in the UK Singles Chart on 28 May based on download sales alone but reached #3 with physical sales on 4 June. The song was officially premiered on 17 April on Jo Whiley’s BBC Radio 1 show. Soon after this, it was leaked into the Internet.

“Is It Any Wonder?” is the first Keane single to be sold in Mexico and other Latin American countries, where it is even more expensive than the album (approx. US$15.00).

The song was featured on the UK compilation Now That’s What I Call Music! 64, the soundtrack of the 2006 film Ice Age: The Meltdown and in the video games Madden NFL 07 and Dance Dance Revolution Universe 2. The song was nominated for the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal for the 2007 Grammy Awards.

“Is It Any Wonder?” was composed by Tim Rice-Oxley in 2005, being first demoed the same year. The “guitars” actually came out from Tim’s pianos and synthesizers, so they are only sound effects. An early demo appeared on the Under the Iron Sea DVD. It was mainly recorded at The Magic Shop studios, New York and programmed and engineered by Andy Green.

“Is It Any Wonder?” was composed under an 8 beat 4/4 time signature and a 130bpm tempo. The main key of the riff is A major, alternating to G major when the bass starts playing. At least three different synthesizer sounds are used through the song.

The riff starts with a deep guitar sound to prelude the distorsion synthesizer sound. Then, the bass and the drums begin to finally introduce Tom Chaplin with the vocals of the first verse. As with almost all Keane songs, it includes a bridge after the second chorus, preceding the outro. Live performances show several differences from the studio version. Firstly, the deep sound is changed for the same synthesizer used for the whole song, which is also quite different from the one of the studio album. During the first verse of the original version, only synthesizer strings are used as a background for Chaplin’s singing. However, on the live performance, Rice-Oxley keeps playing his distorted Yamaha CP70 through all the song. Finally, drumming on the main riffs is modified, with Hughes beating the crash cymbal again and again.

Directed by Kevin Godley, the video is almost the same throughout the song. A camera moves along a metal track like a roller coaster. The camera runs through rails until the end of it, stopping again. Keane are in the middle of it, with Tom appearing sometimes on the scene. On the making of the video, it is said by Richard that they “have done something not quite done before.” The CD+DVD edition of Under the Iron Sea includes a trailer for the making of the video, as well as the videoclip.

Edited by proxymusic on 13 Jan 2010, 02:47

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