It doesn’t take much to feel overjoyed these days, but Stay Forever got the palm for me on this fine Monday of March. Do you know… Poets of the Fall stunned me again! Stay Forever has come at the most opportune time once more. I’ve only just realized that, mind you, but I’ll say it again Stay, the oddest of cues. While some things I wrote four years ago don’t completely apply to yours truly today, I find that Marko‘s whispers continue to taunt me in the kindest of ways.
It’s the little things, little things, little things
That make the world.
From Stay to Stay Forever
As I understand it, Stay has always held a very special place in the hearts of our Poets. I am not privy to the whys, but I can certainly relate. Before, I could be without listening to Stay for weeks but when I expected it the least – though needed it the most – “the little things” came dancing in my head. Nudging me, even pushing at times until I went on ahead. This has not happened in a long time until recently (before the announcement of the video) I guess I was not really going in the right direction, or strayed a bit. It is freaky!
Soundtrack of my life
So, guess what… I asked Miika Hakala if he’d care to send me a few words about the making of Stay Forever… and a “few” words he did send, about Stay Forever and everything else.
Miika Hakala: “Signs of Life is one of my favourite albums out there so to be able to do something with it after sixteen years is a real treat. It’s also a quite daunting task. You know, I originally discovered Poets of the Fall in 2003 while playing Max Payne 2. Their beautiful single Late Goodbye played over the end credits of the game and I was totally hooked. It was a long wait of almost two years before the first album finally dropped. And it was everything I had hoped for and more. The album became an integral part of the soundtrack of my life and it’s still so important to me. That’s what made this project particularly scary. I didn’t wanna let down the band, fans or myself.”
Miika Hakala: “There were a couple of issues to think about. First of all I’m working with material that means a world to me. I didn’t want to make it a nostalgia trip but still recognize in some ways that this is an older song with history to go with it. I’m sure you already noticed but the color palette in the video is basically lent from Signs of Life album cover. I thought it was a subtle way to get people in the right mindset while experiencing it. I don’t want to say anything else about the actual content of the video because you do such a fantastic job analyzing these things and voicing your thoughts and opinions about them. 😊”
Thank you! 😊 No pressure though… and yes, I did notice the palette of colours. Clever touch!
Miika Hakala: “Second of all we’re having this pandemic which makes it more difficult to do certain types of things. So we had some constraints from the get-go but I don’t want to dwell too much on that. We just gotta do the best work we can in any given circumstance. ”
Stay Forever a love song
Back when I first wrote about Stay, I felt it was about “self-doubt”; maybe I was hearing what I wanted or needed to then. Now, although it still fits in the background – yeah I know I’m weird – I see and hear more. I have changed, of course, the words speak to me yet another way. There is more to Stay forever, I’m sure of it. Take only the title for example. Stay Forever instead of Stay. Why? Why change the title?
You’ve got to admit that with such a title, my first theory goes down the drain – unless you’re a masochist 😅.
Stay Forever is a love song… and before you say I’ve lost my marbles, there are many loves but the ultimate one is self-love. If you don’t have that how can you begin to love others? We all change; we all go through tough times; we all have to make tough decisions at some points. Heartbreak after heartbreak, how do we make it back to sunshine without losing it?
When I look at Poets of the Fall‘s work, there are some bright red-threads… some we explicitly find in The Child in Me from Clearview.
Who is it Marko is begging to stay forever? The video’s story by none other than Marko Saaresto & Miika Hakala will give you the biggest clue of what I mean. In our twenties, we are still “babies”, innocent – or at least we are supposed to be… in our thirties, we’re starting to question things, our choices, what we want our lives to be… the forties are usually tough, they are more like a crossroads; the fifties – though I’m halfway there – don’t really know but I could guess (yet I won’t); and after… sixty, seventy, eighty… in other words:
Time isn’t made for waiting
All these persons are different yet the same and they have one thing in common, the little person who is innocent and sees the world with wondrous eyes. Everything’s bright, vivid… possible. This is what the red kite in the video made me think of. If we manage to keep that kite up in the sky, tend to it, laugh and fly with it, we could go through almost anything. Don’t waste the time you’ve been given! Don’t follow the current… make your own!
Flaw with life down the drain
This is why Stay Forever is a love song to me. Love that little person with all your heart so that it can stay forever for every step in your life. It is the song that kicks me in the behind when I need it. The song that cuddles me when I want to scream at my face in the mirror. The song that makes everything bright and colorful. How can a song be that powerful? Don’t know… ask Marko!
The circle is complete
Miika Hakala: ” In retrospect, in some ways I was probably unconsciously making this video for my younger self. An aspiring filmmaker not knowing anything about anything yet, who had just discovered Signs of Life for the first time back in ’05. So for me this project was a very unexpected opportunity and I loved every second of it. From my point of view, I feel the circle is now complete in many ways.”
The way Miika went about the video well illustrates what Stay Forever is about.
Stay Forever music video
I love black & white photos and Miika Hakala has a way of filming landscapes that are leaving me in awe. The mood is set… monochrome tones with a speck of red: life! The first chords Jaska plays stay my hands and like a gentle gesture brings my head towards the music. It happens every single time. Stay Forever like now we get it:
It’s the little things… together we can go and take on the world
Did I miss this in the Signs of Life version or is this line “new”? Of course, replaced in the context back when Poets of the Fall made the song, that verse makes all the sense in the world… but even today, 16 years or so later, that feels like an incredible boost to me.
I don’t know if it is the switch between the story in monochrome/red and the subtle shades from Signs of Life album cover – as Miika mentioned earlier – or the song itself, or both but Stay Forever video really got to me. I had shivers from up my spine down to my toes all 5 minutes of the video. I guess the video suggested deeper meaning behind the lyrics, to which I responded with almost teary eyes sometimes.
At about 2:40 in the video, when Markus played his keyboard part I literally shuddered… yeah, miss sensitivity… it is I 😋 but it did not stop there, Olli got to me too.
You probably did not fail to notice how content they looked while playing – though seemingly freezing – Captain, I love it when you smile. It’s almost like, as they played, thus telling us the story, they – themselves – felt: we’ve made it, we’re living it, look-it! I don’t know, I am probably wrong… but it is what I felt while watching them play.
When the younger woman’s eye let its place to the older woman’s, I had some sort of epiphany. The end left me pondering though… Stay Forever “my child-self” yet the woman let go of the kite as Marko sings:
Don’t you ever leave me!
Still, she looks so serene as she let’s go…
When Stay Forever comes to a close, I end up dancing on my chair while finishing this up – quite impractical I must say, but uncontrollable I’m afraid.
Stay Forever is pure joy.
Credits: All photos are stills from Stay Forever official video and belong to Poets of the Fall.