The conversation that becomes a song, Keep Me In the Open

Keep Me In the Open was the first song that grabbed me off of the Go Further in Lightness. I found that the opening lyrics sounded like I was listening in on a conversation that I wasn’t supposed to be hearing. Dave Le’aupepe is very calm and matter of fact during this tense moment in a relationship gone awry. The swirling keyboards and effects only bring his words voice to the top of the sound.

The song comes alive for me when he begins to sing instead of speak. One can feel the emotion start to rise. The band then wakes up with a steady beat as Dave begins to plead for answers and then
And I deserve better than this
'Cause I deserve better than this
Who hasn’t thought this? I have.

I adore the live version from this clip, as Joji Malani adds a real subtle guitar do bring out the urgency to Dave’s lyric. Check out the live version below.

Keep Me In the Open, Chicago June 2017

Here is what Dave had to say about the song,

“Keep Me in the Open” kind of came together in a magical way. It was based on a recording that I had made in Los Angeles, September 2016, when I was there and that was about the time I wrote “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?”. But it’s the only song we’ve recorded, really, we’re it’s kind of been pieced together layer upon layer upon layer, and not recorded live with all of us together. And I think that sort of all makes it beautiful and special in some way; it was sort of an advanced move for us. And it’s about the end of a relationship where two very valid sides, with very valid perspectives and points of view, just can’t seem to connect, and the recognition that maybe one of those sides deserves better than that, better than the treatment. It doesn’t make the other person bad, it doesn’t make the other other person good, it just means that perhaps settling for treatment and behaviour that isn’t conducive to a healthy relationship isn’t the way to go. So this song means everything and nothing in that way.

Bassest Max Dunn had this to say about it.

To me, “Keep Me in the Open” is intoxicating. It just happened so easy. From Dave, writing the song and delivering one hell of a vocal performance (even by his standards), to his laden pianos, the weird stuff Joji and Jung did, it just worked. Like a delicious Barcelona possession goal that ends with Messi passing it into the net.

The live version from Melbourne adds Max’s vocal in the chorus, acoustic guitar, and subtle horns to give this song musical depth beyond what the album version provides.

This is jewel on their latest album that should remain a classic for this band.


I think I had been listening to GFIL for 3-4 weeks, if not longer, and this song made no impression on me whatsoever. And then you said something about it on Twitter and I was like … hmmm, maybe I should listen a little more closely. And yeah, you’re right. It’s fantastic.

“I wish that I was in love with your endless bullshit…”

I’m happily married for 27 years now, but come on … that line is just so perfect for all kinds of relationships, isn’t it?

I have mixed feelings about the end of the song, the “deserve” part you mentioned. But maybe that should be saved for some other day cuz I don’t want to take away from a conversation about what a great track this is.

I understand the mixed feelings aspect. What I appreciate is Dave goes from a rational, if not intellectual conversation, to an emotional outcry. It seems like a lot of relationships go through some communication cycles like that. I have been able to relate

I remember being quite taken by ‘Keep Me In The Open’ on my first listen of ‘Go Farther In Lightness’.

Both ‘What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?’ and ‘Atlas Drowned’ received plenty of air-play in Australia months before the album was released, so expecting the louder style given those tracks preceding ‘Keep Me In The Open’, the way ‘Atlas Drowned’ transitions creates a completely different tone. Whereas ‘Atlas Drowned’ is in your face, the subdued shift makes a big impact and signifies a major turn in the record’s structure.

I love the track, musically and lyrically. I really relate to that final line “And I deserve better than this”. It could very easily come off as a butt-hurt line from someone who lacks emotional maturity, but having personally experienced a friendship breakdown around the time the album came out, that line and the sentiment of the song hits home.

It acknowledges that there is no definitive right or wrong person, both people hold responsibility for how things played out, but given everything people invest in a relationship (whatever it may be), there is great honesty to the feeling that “this situation hasn’t played out as we would have hoped for, but after everything we’ve been through I deserve better than this”.

I love the Chicago performance as well. I must have listened to that daily at work last year!

Here are some other stripped back versions:

The Bloodworks version is the closest indication for what the MTV Unplugged version would become.

The 13th Floor, NZ

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Hey Rob

Thanks for these other versions. What other songs in Australia received airplay?

'What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?" was the first single released back in Feb, 2017. “Atlas Drowned” and “Let Me Down Easy” received solid airplay as well during the first half of the year. “The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows” was played a lot around the time the album was released.

Funnily enough, despite being one of the bigger tracks internationally “The Heart Is a Muscle” wasn’t promoted as a major single before the album came out. It went on to get some play earlier in 2018, but compared with how prominent it is internationally it isn’t as big as some of the other tracks.

In the Triple J Hottest 100, 2017 (massive publicly voted countdown of the years best songs) the band dominated.
“Let Me Down Easy” #2, “The Deepest Sights, The Frankest Shadows” #5, “What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out” #10 + their cover of “Blood” by The Middle East came in at #41.

They also won the Triple J audience poll for album of the year - that’s probably what cost them topping the Hottest 100, so many great tracks that forced people to split votes.

@Swan269 I’m just now watching the Unplugged DVD and you won’t believe it (because I didn’t, either) – but that female voice you hear in the chorus? That’s actually Max. Bass player extraordinaire and budding vocalist. Who woulda thunk???

holy shit. are you pulling an early April fools? I would have put good money on one of the brass ladies singing. I am getting the DVD in the mail soon, is it worth it?

OMG I just finished it and I’m a wreck.

Max does some backup on Heart Is A Muscle and Spirit Wane, too. What a revelation. He needs to sing more.

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The DVD includes several song intros that didn’t make it onto the audio album. And my only beef is that the DVD cuts the intro to Persevere. But other than … just wow.


@Swan269 did you get the DVD yet?

no, not yet. it says it was delivered, but alas :frowning: