The most difficult… or rather interesting part… with Poets of the Fall lyrics is probably reading between the lines. Someone asked on a Facebook group dedicated to the band, “what are Poets of the Fall’s songs that talk about death?” It is a tough question, and in my opinion, the answers that this person received were rather inaccurate. When I read the question, I immediately thought of Angel, however, I am not entirely sure that death is the theme of the song. Therefore, I thought I’d try my luck and go through the lyrics to see if I could make heads and tail of it all.
The title… subjective
Aside from the lyrics, and whether you believe in Heaven & Hell, God, the Devil, Angels or Demons… you might suspect that Angel treats of the infamous subject of death. It is probably done intentionally, of course, Poets of the Fall being who they are… and yet, the song could have been called Hummbingbird… or Peaceful fields… you can see how the impact could have been different though. Angel it is then…
The hotel I stayed at in Cologne – October 2018 – for the concert at “Die Kantine”, had this beautiful painting… which, when I and my friend Susan saw it, said: “this is a sign“. It was pretty spooky how we thought the same thing when we saw it… and look at the colours! Some “ultraviolet” there for sure…
As far as we know, Ultraviolet deals with the invisible… the things, thoughts and other abstracts notions that influence us despite ourselves… what could only be seen – as Marko Saaresto would put it – through ultraviolet light. The term Angel is abstract enough to pick our interest no matter our beliefs, right?! Have any of you seen an Angel, I mean apart from religious representations, on pictures or movies… You may call your true friends, those with a golden heart, angels… but we are not talking about those here, are we.
The picture, from the song, is quite beautiful though… I mean, just close your eyes and try to see, really see, what Marko is singing:
Kiss the feathers of a hummingbird in flight© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel
Breaking up into a million specks of light
Take the shape of an angel in the night
It is one of the most beautiful metaphores I have come across… But, I wonder, why did Marko chose specifically the hummingbird for that song? Because if the song talks about death, then their is a big contradiction within as – if you check the symbolism of the hummingbird – it stands among other things for the enjoyment of life. We are all aware though that without death there can be no life… still…
This being said, I chose just one aspect of the symbolism… Digging deeper, it would seem that the Aztecs believed that the “hummingbird was the reincarnated form of the warriors that lost their life in a battle.” [source: https://birdeden.com/what-does-hummingbird-symbolize] Knowing that Marko Saaresto is very well-read in many a thing, it is no stretch to imagine that the choice of the hummingbird in this song is well thought out and no coincidence.
Another source states that the hummingbird “express love more fully in their daily endeavours.“[source: http://www.spiritanimal.info/hummingbird-spirit-animal/] and thus Marko sings – my favourite verses, and motto:
My home is my skin© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel
And in the world I’ve within
All I have is my love for you
Love transcending death
When I first heard Dancing on Broken Glass, I never imagined what Miika Hakala did with his video… but with the video, he showed how love could transcend death. The same way, when Marko sings:
I’m not running from hurt© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel
I just want you by my side
What does him mean really? It almost feels like he is saying goodbye, or that the person he is singing to is terminally-ill and maybe wants to leave Marko to protect him from hurting as he watches his loved one fade away. It is one dramatic interpretation of course… but I don’t think it is far fetched considering other songs on this album, like In a Perfect World or – as I already mentioned – Dancing on Broken Glass. At the same time, I feel like there is a struggle within Marko (again, I am not saying that this song is precisely Marko‘s experience in any way… you’d have to ask him… and he probably won’t answer). I feel strangely connected to the words he sings though for having been through a challenging time recently… yet, nothing to do with death, and everything to do with love… with a big L.
Love with a big L
Remember what Marko asks at the end of Daze (from the album Jealous Gods)?
Did you ever feel your love eclipsing the sun© 2014 Poets of the Fall – Jealous Gods, Daze
So, when I say love with a big L, this is what I mean. It does not mean that it is all neat and ideal… it is not all cloudless. We all question ourselves through life and do our best to become the best version of ourselves… not only as a selfish endeavour, but to be able to be and care for our loved one – whether it be our spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or children. Sometimes, we even might have to come to take tough decisions in order to protect ourselves… and them by extension. It feels like Angel is about coming to term with such decisions. Decisions made out of Love. Or at least, it could be partly about that… because the end of the song kind of throws everything I just said to the trash-can:
Grant me one wish© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel
Send me one more kiss
On the whispering wind
Is it goodbye to a loved one who passed away?
Is it goodbye to a loved one leaving him for another life?
Is it a common decision, or is it the need to move on after an unbearable loss?
Or is it goodbye to a way of life to save his love…
Something new begins© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel
Marko said in an interview, some years back, that love and death were kind of closely entangled. Death is not always used literally, as the end of a life per say; but the end of a love… sad and tragic, I know, but it does make for really good songs too.
Angel is probably my second favourite song from Ultraviolet (the first one being My Dark Disquiet and the third being The Sweet Escape). I wish they could play it, at least at one of the concerts I am going to in March and April… I think it would be fantastic live.
I don’t pretend I got it right, and I haven’t explore all avenues of what Angel could be about… but it would be a rather long post (if it is not already).
Hope you enjoyed it and please let me know you were here, drop a line in the comments.
Until next time!