[There is an update on this post, further down. It is marked #Update – Marko at his best]
Yesterday was a very special day, September 30th 2016 was Clearview‘s release day and the end of a long wait for both the fans and Poets of the Fall. Of course, in my family of two, where love rules over all else, we kept to our tradition of discovering new music together (without listening before the other). This made the whole experience extra special, however, I can tell you right now that we will drop that particular tradition in the future when it comes to Poets of the Fall.
Anyway, I had decided from the start that I’d listen to Clearview without prejudice, comparison to previous albums or anything like that; so I listened to it with an open heart and a receptive state of mind. As a result, although I really love all six previous albums, like I am re-discovering them ceaselessly, and as I twitted yesterday evening, I can safely say that Clearview touches me on a whole new level. I have only one negative thing to say about Clearview as I said to my husband, “It is too freaking short“; to which he answered laughing: “now you are officially a genuine fan“. Sweet!
And by the way, if you think that I am over enthusiastic or not objective, you might be right, but again, objectivity is overrated… and enthusiasm defines me.
As the day came to an end and even though I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes opened, I did not want to stop listening to Clearview and go to sleep… yet, ultimately, I had to. So here I am, on the first day of my favourite month that October is, I am doing the most unexpected thing ever: I am writing about Clearview. It is going to take a while…
Clearview – First listening
Before we hit the play button, we switched on the projector and watched Drama for Life video which my husband thought he had not seen… it turned out that he had – “Of course, I’ve seen this, you made me watch it“, he said. After this, the long awaited moment to listen to Clearview arrived. The first listening is always critical, and although I liked the music playing in my ears, I was not completely immersed. I blame it on the headphones which were not as tight on my ears as I would have wanted them to be. Therefore, by the middle of the album, I was pressing on my Sony headphones onto my ears to feel the music instead of just hearing it – that did the trick because that was it for me. If I remember correctly, the first chills from head to toes that I felt came with Children of the Sun and hardly left me for the remaining songs. Before I knew it, the album had finished playing and my husband did not want to listen to the album again that day. A little disappointed but not surprised, I said – among other things – “OK“. What I did not express then was that, already very moved by what I’d heard, my heart was screaming for more with teary eyes as I was still hanging on to The Labyrinth and Moonlight Kissed.
Clearview – New magic at work
I have probably said this before, but there is something very addictive to Poets of the Fall‘s music. Clearview fits quite nicely in the continuity of Jealous Gods music style, but that’s about it when it comes to making comparison. Clearview is different, no question, but it is a good – nay great – difference ; some kind of new identity mixed with the old one giving yet another heartfelt performance from Poets of the Fall throughout the album. There is, in my opinion, a renewed sense of unity in the music. Today, I cannot say that I was focusing more on Marko‘s voice and the lyrics because these were intricately entwined with the music and I felt strong emotions coming from the musicians’ performances (all six of them). Clearview has brought forth Poets of the Fall to the Center Stage as one unique musical entity. With this album, I believe that the band has reached a new stage in his carreer. I am not saying that the band wasn’t this or that before, I am just saying that there is new magic at work here.
#Update – Marko at his best
Although I have written above that I had an entire new focus while listening to Clearview, after more listening today (the album has been spinning since early this morning), I have to revise slightly my statement. Marko Saaresto is an exceptional singer, we all can agree on that. What I have realised today, however, was that on Clearview he sings in a way that feels gentler to his voice. Somehow, he has managed to find a new way of singing both to spare his voice from over exertion and at the same time, to put through as many – if not more – emotions as on previous albums. The way he sings the melodies, the phrasing and how he really uses his voice to express himself are just mind blowing to me. There is not a dull moment and Clearview shows Marko at his best, in my humble, yet enthusiastic, opinion.
Clearview – You like it, you buy it… you don’t steal!
Before I continue, let me be clear about something that is important to me. If you want to listen to the album before buying it, check it out on Spotify, but please DO NOT download their music illegally because that’s stealing and I have no tolerance for thieves. Respect the artists and their livelihood, it’s as simple as that.
iTunes: Buy Clearview on iTunes
Mad Supply: Buy Clearview on the Webshop
Buy Clearview on Amazon, CDON.com, Ginza.se or any music shop that you may think of.
Clearview – Track by track or something like that
I will not go into details, track by track. I do believe that I will get on the case of each and every song and write about most of them in the near future. The track by track part is a nice way to end this post, although it is not your traditional track by track. The production is beautiful and slightly different from the other albums, but the involvement of Stefan Boman brought another kind of balance to the music.
Drama for Life – Hmm… except that it is a great song, I have already written about it so you may read POTF – Drama for Life or Drama for Life – new potf official video.
The Game – The typical Poets of the Fall‘s spirit at work here… I cannot get the smile off my face. It does not say much about the song I know, but what can I say other than “love could be our crown”
The Child in Me – The intro of this song is so cool… the first phrase made me think of a song I could hardly place at first, but then it hit me… (Joey Tempest, Dreamless the first phrase is a bit similar)… as soon as I found that out though, the feeling disappeared to pull me into this kind of trance as Marko sang the chorus. Brilliant! This is so good…
Once Upon a Playground Rainy – fyi, I cannot stop smiling. A little more focus on the guitars and the bass, with a melody that makes me happy.
Children of the Sun – Now, you need to pay attention to this song… it is like a gentle and benevolent touch on your shoulder to guide you. It is difficult to write with my eyes closed, but as you can see, it goes quite well. This is such an uplifting song.
Shadow Play – There is definitely more digging to be done, especially with the lyrics. “Mark my words it’s not quite what you thought“. The bass just hit me on the head asking me “y’hello! Do you really mean to say that you did not hear me?” Yes, I did and am Jani… I always do and on the next song too!
Center Stage – Another typical Poets of the Fall‘s spirit at work here… it is difficult to say anything that I have not already said for other songs.
The Labyrinth – Soft guitar accompanied by an emotional gentle voice. Chills run through my body and just like Leeloo reacted in the Fifth Element as she watches the meaning of the word “War”, I went through a similar experience although my tears meant the complete opposite. The lyrics are very emotional and without getting out of hand, the music is reaching its climax to leave you in a state of wonder.
Crystalline – Uplifting lyrics… one of my favourites if I had one.
Moonlight Kissed – This song is Clearview‘s climax and the only way the album could have ended. It takes my breath away every time, the tears rolling freely down my cheeks and the chills along my spine freezing me in time for 4 minutes and 6 seconds of delight. It is powerful, beautiful and… I am in awe. Genius!
Overall, Clearview is like angel wings wrapping me in a cocoon of well-being where emotions are raw and true. I know that Clearview will continue to grow its roots in my heart and soul, as it is how Poets of the Fall talk to me. Meanwhile I can tell you this, Clearview is making me very happy and the 40 minutes and 20 seconds of music are like golden drops of time worth every minute of mine – and yours.