Poets of the Fall, Angel – UV

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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…

Symbolism

The hummingbird in Cologne

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
Breaking up into a million specks of light
Take the shape of an angel in the night

© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel

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
And in the world I’ve within
All I have is my love for you

© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel

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
I just want you by my side

© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel

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
Send me one more kiss
On the whispering wind

© 2018 Poets of the Fall – Ultraviolet, Angel

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!


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3 thoughts on “Poets of the Fall, Angel – UV

  1. 100% agree that this song would be epic live! I’d love to hear it in April!

  2. Hey,
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now with great interest. Love your thoughts about the individual songs and of course I have my own and I feel like I have to share them with you, now that we seem to have a pretty similar idea about this song. But for me it’s not just this song that sounds like a goodbye. You can find those little pieces everywhere on the album. I really love Ultraviolet but it always leaves a sad feeling and I don’t know if that’s the story Marko wanted to tell or just my own that I read into it.

    As Marko said, we all experience the world through our own filter. And that’s what happens with his lyrics, too. That’s what makes you feel that they always match your own life. Cause everyone reads their own story into it. That’s what makes it so special and at the same time so hard to really find out what he actually wrote about. That’s how he likes to write. He wants it that way. He doesn’t really want to tell his privat story but to share feelings we all know from our own lifes.
    I mean, give the lyrics of one song to a few people and let them pick out the lines that speak to them and everyone will pick different lines and create their own story out of them. When I read your blog posts I’ve noticed that you picked different lines from songs than I would have. Each of us found our own stories. That’s what makes it interesting and that’s also the reason why I came here… to see other possibilities of how to understand his words. What story am I missing with my filter?
    And since I’ve got no one to talk about those things I’m so happy I found your blog. Cause you know how that feels. You’ve got those lyrics in your head and you have to think about them, what they might mean and how they can be understood and at some point you wish to talk to someone about them, ask for another opinion. But I don’t know anyone who listens to Poets so all I have are my own stories.

    But back to the story of death oder losing someone: To me the whole album seems to tell a story. There are a few pictures that show up over and over again. There is some kind of loss and longing, sadness, the struggle with what’s left, with the colorless reality, the need to get up again and live because life doesn’t last forever and you need to make the best of your time. And there are also those moments of escaping into the perfect world you created in your dreams when reality becomes too painful to stay in it. And the moments when grief hits you again… Here is what I see:

    Dancing on broken glass:
    “I want you to know I still love you when I walk down that memory lane…”

    Standstill:
    Here it’s the whole text… It’s like: we wasted our time. “You always thought there was tomorrow…” But for you, there was no tomorrow…

    “First step after the fall. So many more to take till I’m done with ’em all…”
    It’s like with grief you have to take baby steps from day to day and you know you’re going to fall and struggle over and over again on your way.

    Moments before the storm:
    “I will close my eyes to see your face again. Let the love I feel rebuild my faith through pain… I remain…”

    Why does he have to close his eyes to see the person in question again? Because they’re not there anymore. That’s what you do when you miss someone you’ll never meet again. You close your eyes and imagine. And maybe at that point there’s faith in some kind of afterlife that you might see them again? Not really willing to believe but it seems like the only thing to do. And then “I remain”. You’re gone and I remain… without you.

    “I still hear your voice, calling my name…”
    Same here. You captured their voice in your memory. Reminds me of a friend that passed away and how I still hear her voice in my memory when I think of her. Those are the things that remain when someone is gone.

    “And down to the beach I’ll trail your footprints in the sand, overland. Till I’ll kiss your brow again…”
    It’s like visiting places you’ve been together, looking for traces of those happy times, traces of that loved one. Till maybe one day we’ll meet again somewhere in another world or another life… whatever kind of faith I build myself to deal with the loss.

    Angel:
    Sounds like: I’m not running away from the pain anymore. I give myself to it, feel it and go through it and it feels like I’m crossing a line. Like something’s happening in my sorrow. The tears actually help. And yet it happens again that I lose myself in it, cause it sometimes hits me by surprise. (“It’s playing out every note in the score. I surrender once more”)

    “Carry you to peaceful fields…”
    It’s okay, I’ll let you go. I’ll cry when it hurts and let myself feel the pain, I’ll go through it and learn to live with it as a part of me. But now I let you rest in peace. I have to go on living.

    “All I have is my love for you…”
    Like everything is gone and the only thing that’s left is the love I still feel for you and that’s what’s going to stay with me forever.

    “Am I giving life to phantom pain?”
    What is phantom pain? Something that isn’t there anymore but still hurts, right?

    “Grant me one wish. Send me one more kiss, on the whispering wind…”
    To me this sounds pretty obvious. All I wish for is one last kiss. And why does it have to be sent on the whispering wind? Because the person isn’t physically there anymore. It’s this thought we all have when we lost someone: I just wish for one more kiss, one more day, one more whatever… ignoring that it won’t change a thing. It wouldn’t be enough. This one kiss would pass and then we’d only wish for one more. But still there is this wish for that one last time…

    Choir of cicadas:
    “Oh lord, won’t you hear your children cry? Singing their praise and their hallelujahs. I have no more words to describe, an empty sky of hollow blue, yeah…”
    So, here’s the question to a God he didn’t find: Why don’t you do anything against all the pain in the world? Why did you let this happen? For me there’s just the sky, no heaven above us.

    Sorry, that got pretty long but I love your long articles and it seems like you think about the lyrics as much as I do, so… those are my thoughts. A few of them… 😉
    I would love to hear what you think about them.

    Have a nice day 🙂
    Carry

    1. Hi Carry,

      It seems that no matter the lines you pick, whether they’d be the same as mine or not, in the end we both feel the sense of loss throughout Ultraviolet. Your thoughts are very interesting because they push further this idea, and you make it more concrete – while I am rather abstract. You talk about the missing one, the one who’s departed that no one will see again. I was close to figuring out the missing piece about Choir of Cicadas, but you nailed it for me: “for me there’s just the sky, no heaven above us”.

      I will not write a long answer since I have a post to write about the last gig I went to, but I do want to say this: welcome to Misfit at Heart 🙂
      Stop by whenever and don’t hesitate to write about Poets of the Fall in your comments, I will read them all! 😉

      Have a very nice day and Happy Easter 🙂
      /Claire

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