Song of the Day: The Islander by Nightwish

The Islander” is the tenth track on symphonic metal band Nightwish’s Dark Passion Play album. It was confirmed to be the album’s fifth single on the website Nightwish-World on 23 February 2008, only a week after the fourth single, “Bye Bye Beautiful”, was released. It was released on 21 May 2008, and the video itself premiered on 14 April 2008.

Lyrics:

An old man by a seashore
At the end of day
Gazes the horizon
With seawinds in his face
Tempest-tossed island
Seasons all the same
Anchorage unpainted
And a ship without a name

Sea without a shore for the banished one unheard
He lightens the beacon, light at the end of world
Showing the way lighting hope in their hearts
The ones on their travels homeward from afar

This is for long-forgotten
Light at the end of the world
Horizon crying
The tears he left behind long ago

The albatross is flying
Making him daydream
The time before he became
One of the world’s unseen
Princess in the tower
Children in the fields
Life gave him it all:
An island of the universe

Now his love’s a memory
A ghost in the fog
He sets the sails one last time
Saying farewell to the world
Anchor to the water
Seabed far below
Grass still in his feet
And a smile beneath his brow

This is for long-forgotten
Light at the end of the world
Horizon crying
The tears he left behind so long ago

——

As some of Nightwish’ other songs (including for example “Creek Mary’s Blood” from Once), the song is highly influenced by folk music rather than the symphonic power metal they usually play, and uses only acoustic guitars, rather than electric. It is fully acoustic, except the use of some keyboard effects and drums, though folk-inspired. Marco Hietala sings the whole song with backing vocals from Anette Olzon and Tuomas Holopainen. He also wrote most of the music for the song, unlike most others, which were written by Tuomas Holopainen. The song used guest musician Troy Donockley who is featured on several instruments.

The music video was filmed in Rovaniemi, in Finnish Lapland, in October 2007, and Holopainen commented that they at first didn’t plan to make a third video for the album, but when they were offered Finnish beauty, they couldn’t resist it. He has also said that for once the lyrics actually fits with the video, which is “a sort of Lapp wilderness combined with the surrealism of Salvador Dalí”. The video features guest musician Troy Donockley.

The video was directed by Stobe Harju and produced by Ilkka Immonen of Lapland Studio Oy. It has a steampunk theme with airships, and features the old sailor (the Islander of the title) walking along a beach through the fog dragging a boat behind him and haunted by ghosts of his past. Later we see him in a flashback as a young man playing the uilleann pipes (portrayed by Troy Donockley) with trees blossoming after he ends his life by dropping anchor and being relieved of his burdens.

Nightwish

Origin Kitee, Finland
Genres Gothic Rock, Symphonic Metal,Alternative Metal
Years active 1996–present
Labels Spinefarm, Nuclear Blast,Roadrunner, Century Media,Drakkar Entertainment
Associated acts Barilari, Pain, Sethian
Website http://www.nightwish.com
Members Tuomas Holopainen
Emppu Vuorinen
Jukka Nevalainen
Marco Hietala
Past members Tarja Turunen
Sami Vänskä
Anette Olzon

image by ~leopardsnow

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