Single Review: The Courteeners – Are You in Love with a Notion?

By on Tuesday, 5th November 2013 at 12:00 pm

Funny how this single from The Courteeners comes along just shortly after Keane announced they had decided to go on hiatus. ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’, the opening track of the Manchester band’s third album ‘Anna’ released in February, will be released as a single in its own right in December on Polydor. Surely, the Courteeners’ fan faithful have already committed this song to memory, having bought the album and seen the band on tour or at festivals this year. But even if you don’t have Liam Fray’s poster on your bedroom wall, it’s a tune worth your attention, and I’ll tell you why.

I mentioned Keane in the previous paragraph because the anthemic piano banging that takes place in ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’ has been compared by others to Doves but I find it more like Tim Rice-Oxley in its key scratching, in terms of more recent memory. The subject matter isn’t new: a man is clearly bemoaning that a woman’s choice – or maybe desire is the better word? – to settle for a man who might not be the right one for her. It’s not spelled out, but the suggestion the protagonist is a far better choice is hiding in here. Another theme is that of running away and escaping to a better life; perhaps that’s where NME was going when they were comparing this song to Doves and therefore our namesake ‘There Goes the Fear’? One could argue the “notion” in the song could be marriage, or love itself; for the purpose of this discussion, it doesn’t matter. The girl wants to “quit Debenhams” and leave her shop girl existence to “elope and get married in the sun”, and she’s already gleefully informed her girlfriends “that all your [her] dreams were made”. Do I know girls like this? Yes. More importantly, do you know girls like this?

Along with its feel good chorus perfect for a singalong, this would have been enough for a radio hit. However, Fray has some interesting word choices, elevating this song from usual Radio 1 fodder. “You linger on a feeling / that you can’t quite put your finger on / reminiscent of a summer in the Isle of Wight” – our protagonist insists the feeling is fleeting and isn’t sufficient to tie down the girl, even if she thinks “it’s too late / to back out at this stage”. Later on, Fray quips, “but then your home screen flashed some more / he was never one for serenade”: ‘the one’ in question uses texting to romance his lady love. Not exactly Shakespeare, is it? But it drives home the point of the song: don’t settle.


The next single from the Courteeners, ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’, will be released on the 9th of December on Polydor. They will be on tour in the UK in December.

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6 Responses

12:03 pm
5th November 2013

New post: Single Review: The Courteeners @thecourteeners’ ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’ and not settling:

12:26 pm
5th November 2013

RT @tgtf: New post: Single Review: The Courteeners @thecourteeners’ ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’ and not settling:…

1:04 pm
5th November 2013

why I think the new @thecourteeners ‘Are You in Love with a Notion?’ is pretty damn good. well done @What_Liam_Said:

[…] not a robot, correctly answer this question: what is the name of their next single? (Hint: This review might jog your memory.) Get your entries in by noon British time on Thursday the 14th of November. […]

[…] You in Love with a Notion?’ by the Courteeners is one of my favourite tracks of 2013, hands down. (I wrote about the single, if you’d like […]

[…] he has from this woman. BUT HE CAN’T. What is the problem, I wonder? Is his head stuck in an idealised relationship? No, I think he just really, really loved her. And on some level, he still loves her, as evidenced […]

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