Closer

Album: The Boy With No Name (2007)
Charted: 10

Songfacts®:

  • Travis frontman Fran Healy told Jaxsta the story behind this song from the band's fifth studio album. "We had an apartment in New York and I got a little keyboard and was trying to write songs for what would be The Boy With No Name," he recalled. "I've got a very small family, and I was thinking about this idea of taking people for granted, you just get used to them being there. And you never really stop to go, wait a second… It was a song to remind myself that these people are amazing and I love them."
  • The album title was inspired by Healy and his partner Nora's struggle to name their newborn son. Healy emailed a photo of the baby (whom they eventually named Clay) to a friend with the caption "The Boy With No Name."
  • This was the album's first and most successful single, peaking at #10 in the UK. It was also a #1 hit in the group's native Scotland.
  • The band was having difficulty with their identity around this time, having shot to fame with their shift from rock to Britpop with their chart-topping albums The Man Who and The Invisible Band. Their previous release, the darker, rock-edged 12 Memories, was born out of Healy's struggle with depression and the aftermath of a swimming accident that broke drummer Neil Primrose's neck. Feeling like they were losing control of their career, they took a few years to work on The Boy With No Name, producing the songs themselves with some input from producers Nigel Godrich and Steve Orchard. The album wasn't as successful as its predecessors, but managed to take the #4 spot on the UK chart.
  • Travis initially wanted acclaimed musician/producer Brian Eno, known for his work in ambient music, to helm the album. Eno used outside-the-box methods like Oblique Strategies cards - brainstorming music-related adjectives and then instructing the band to play according to each one - to help the band approach making music from different angles.

    None of the 18 hours of music they created with Eno ended up on the album, but bassist Dougie Payne told Rock'n'Reel magazine it was "a crucial session for the album because it reminded us of what we are and what our strength is, which is songwriting - having a great song and wanting to get your hands on it and work with it. That's where our strength lies, not from carving songs out of a big block of jamming."
  • In the music video, directed by Michael Baldwin (Dave Matthews Band, Melanie C), the guys are working at a supermarket. Bassist Dougie Payne is a cashier who's bored out of his mind and resorts to eating an aghast customer's fruit, guitarist Andy Dunlop proudly stacks a tower of canned vegetables, and Neil Primrose attacks paper products with a pricing gun. Meanwhile, Healy mans the entrance in a beaver costume before heading inside and rounds up his bandmates. Ben Stiller makes a cameo appearance as the suspicious store manager.
  • This was used in the TV shows Men In Trees ("Charity Case" - 2008) and One Tree Hill ("All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone" - 2007).

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