It has been a long time since I wrote a post first in my mother tongue instead of starting it in English. I do not know why, but the idea came from Poets of the Fall themselves. If someone can explain, then please be my guest.
After spending a whole morning on writing a draft of this post – which wasn’t one to begin with, I realised two things despite myself. First, I was utterly dissatisfied with the result, therefore – and as you can notice yourselves – I am starting over. Second, I did not chose the easiest song from Clearview to interpret. I set the bar a little high, but I accept the questionning and reset my mind to do justice to this little gem that Moonlight Kissed is.
Poets of the Fall take a cunning pleasure to speak in riddles, which makes them genuine poets. It is, of course and coming from me, a witticism coated with honey. Marko Saaresto writes the lyrics – “The lyrics are Marko’s ball game” from interview on VK.com – and despite the fact that Clearview was born from a common work, collaboration and jam together, strictly speaking the poet remains Marko. But just to split hairs, and because Moonlight Kissed‘s music made me think of that, in my world you can be a poet using only notes, melodies, colours, forms and shapes, and not only words… why should we limit poetry to the literary world only because others have decided so? Poetry is a state of mind… Anyway, bringing the digression to an end…
The first times I listened to Moonlight Kissed I was kind of stunned. The music had bewitched me somehow, but when I started to listen and to read the lyrics, I remember saying to myself: this is true and rebellious poetry, from which I almost cannot make heads or tails and yet it manages to keep me on my toes for any nuances that I would have missed. This song is more enigmatic than any song from Poets of the Fall repertoire and I have not found the key yet. Moonlight Kissed is hiding behind a choice of strange words giving way to some rather stranger metaphors, which is not of a nature to displease me, quite the opposite in fact. So, I take up the challenge with great pleasure and enthusiasm.
Moonlight Kissed – A nostalgic and gloomy song
How do I define this song?
It is nostalgic to perfection, both musically and textually. Its atmosphere is rather gloomy, but also uplifting in the sense that the music combined with the phrasing carry us towards the climax of the song where the light of hope sneaks in. Do I need to clarify that Moonlight Kissed is one of Clearview‘s songs that gives me chills from start to finish (and I can tell you that it is not the only song having such an effect)… and when it is thus the case, I have noticed that I tend to breathe with Marko as he sings… the result is rather pathetic, for I need a few seconds (read minutes) to catch my breath – indeed compose myself.
It is a twilight song wrapped with mist, pain and I am almost tempted to say despair. Yet, I cannot consider it like a sad and depressing song since the climax, like I said, is full of hope.
But summer’s scent still lingers in your hair,
Despite the ache there’s magic everywhere
© Poets of the Fall – 2016 – Clearview
In order to write this post, and all the more so as I wanted to start with the French version, I had to make a translation of Moonlight Kissed. Nonetheless, I will not insult Poets of the Fall by publishing my rather clumsy translation (but I will post some parts of it to illustrate what I am saying in the French post)… besides this is the English post, it would not help you if I posted a French translation, now would it. Be that as it may, the translation helped me define the red thread if you will, however subjective it might turn out to be, but also get even more lost in this mysterious painting that Moonlight Kissed is.
I still have to talk about that translation, for without it, I would not have been able to write this post. My first problem was the title: Moonlight Kissed. Although, it is a very romantic image, you know, being kissed in the moonlight or rather being kissed by the moonlight – very Twilight meets Never been kissed or something like that, I had troubles reconciling it with the rest of the text, for some reasons… because as I see it now, it kinda fits perfectly. Anyway, I looked therefore for some variations before I realised the truth of what I just said. The verb moonlight can mean work a second job, so if I extrapolated this idea, I came to (in French of course) stolen kiss; yet again, I thought it did not really fit. So I kept the first romantic idea and applied it to my translation with some slight alterations based on the verses’ idea… and now it works fine.
I see shadow and light stroking the mist
and I hear voices take flight and send out our wish
of peaceful dreams on a night moonlight kissed
What is this if not some witchcraft
wrapped up widdershins to lead us all astray,
hook in mouth, on through such webs of lies
truth’s a distant star in our eyes moonlight kissed
Out the window run rebellion
rapt with all you find for seeking something new
Play in the ponds like summer’s wind
Dance with the trees melding with mist
beyond their flower field like you’re moonlight kissed
© Poets of the Fall – 2016 – Clearview
Whether one is sensitive to it or not, Marko Saaresto is a wordsmith with a slightly crazy quill. He plays with words by transposing them in contexts where one would not usually find them… which suits me fine. Poets of the Fall have this gift for creating songs with double meanings, and it is particularly true for Moonlight Kissed.
My second problem was the message behind the words. Maybe, the album’s theme might help me untangle myself from this ambitious project of understanding the lyrics beyond the words.
Clearview – The theme
Eight weeks before the release of the album, Marko and Olli were holding a Facebook live session to present Drama for Life – the first single from Clearview – and talk a little bit about Clearview and the upcoming tour. So, they try to explain, without revealing too much of the mystery, that Clearview is this dark horse, the dark knight, the thing that will surprise you coming out of nowhere. They were right, Clearview surprised many and not always in a positive way. As far as I am concerned, the surprise was complete and uplifting, I cannot get enough of it. “Clearview is about seeing very clearly where you want to go and moving strategically to get to the point where you are and sort of the higher and higher as you fly it’s easier to see the terrain you are in.” To me , it is an allegorical theme that tends to highlight life’s challenges and our inclinations to run or confront them.
Moonlight Kissed – Almost unfathomable lyrics
It is difficult to explain what I see and feel when I read the lyrics. Besides, the more I listen to the song – and beyond the chills running through my body for its 4 minutes and 06 seconds – the more it feels like I am watching a bunch of artists create a painting. In the end, one gets this ambiguous canvas that leaves me in awe and a bit confused. What I get from the song… and these are just the outlines…
Life is an ocean of pain in which either one choses to dive without air tank, or one just observes while enduring all that’s hurting and without doing anything about it… or, in a burst of dignity and hope, one holds on to the essential so that life would look more like a mountain lake in harmony with everything else. Is this what the song is talking about? I am not sure…
I’ve said this before, Poets of the Fall are talking to my soul and sometimes with a language based on the unsaid and my own perception of the words blended with the notes and the melodies.
Moonlight Kissed – A bewitching music
Moonlight Kissed music is bewitching. Piano, keyboards, cello (?), chime (?), xylophone (?) and an exceptionnal voice give to this song a somewhat surreal and fantasy like dimension… magical. My questions would be, who plays what and did I guess the instruments right? Is it really a cello? Did I hear violins too? Actually, there is a violin played by none other than Marko Saaresto… and I guess that it is on this song too that Jani plays some string bass and cello parts… See interview translation on vk.com… The Captain said that he was most proud of that song… I don’t need him to explain why.
In the article Poets of the Fall – Clearview I say that Moonlight Kissed is Clearview‘s climax and he only way the album could have ended and well, I still think it to be the case.
Moonlight Kissed gave me the run-around but it is what I particularly enjoy with Poets of the Fall‘s songs. First, there’s the meaning intended by the author and then, there is the meaning we are all free to put behind the words depending on our personal history.
The best way to listen to Moonlight Kissed is with a pair of great headphones, crank up the volume, close your eyes and enjoy…