Monday, June 14, 2010

over-thinking every little thing

i had fully intended to write my review on will grayson will grayson today, as well as finish revising my opening chapters, but i got seriously sidetracked by this song:

some of you might have read my post explaining how upset i am my favorite group will be disbanding after december 5th.

this song is their last single and written especially for their fans. it world premiered last night and i've listened to it on a continuous loop.
of course, any of you who know me probably already figured i was reduced to tears upon first hearing their last ever song.
and i was.

one of the reasons i've always loved a-ha is because of the stories their lyrics tell. being a writer, i'm often moved by songs that take me on a journey and are filled with emotion. usually, the words (i've always preferred the french word paroles) speak to me the first time i hear a song, but this time it took me several listens to decipher the meaning.

Butterfly, butterfly
Flying into the wind
You can be sure of it
That's no place to begin

Over-thinking every little thing
Acknowledge the bell you can't un-ring

Tomorrow you don't have to say what you're thinking
You don't have to mean what you say

Butterfly, Butterfly
Flutter in to the skies
Butterfly, Butterfly
Their molecular cries

Chrysalis dreams waiting on the fifth instar
These stained glass wings could only take you so far

Tomorrow you don't have to say that it matters
You don't have to turn something in
Stay with it through thick and thin
Butterfly, begin

Tomorrow you don't have to mean what you say
Left without a reason to stay
Comes the last hurrah
Here's our last hurrah

Butterfly, butterfly
You can be sure of it

i've heard several interpretations of these lyrics. some people think the butterfly is supposed to represent a-ha. others think the song is about the fans.
personally, i think there's a mix of both.

for instance, the acknowledge the bell you can't un-ring seems to be directed at people like me. the ones who don't want to think of them ending their career.

but these lyrics seem to be clearly written from the band's point of view:

Tomorrow you don't have to say what you're thinking
You don't have to mean what you say

Tomorrow you don't have to say that it matters
You don't have to turn something in
Stay with it through thick and thin
Butterfly, begin

Tomorrow you don't have to mean what you say
Left without a reason to stay

as much as i want to believe their 25 year career has been nothing but the best of times for them, these words show there was limited freedom in being known worldwide as a-ha. that after december 5th they'll no longer have to say "the right things" or constantly be pressured to deliver a new album. they won't have to be chained to their identity as a norwegian trio.
to me, it seems obvious a-ha is the butterfly. that they have spent the last 25 years going through a metamorphosis, and in december they can begin the next phase of their lives.

but, as all great songwriters do, they've left us with a bit of a mystery.
to me, this line Left without a reason to stay can be interpreted two different ways:
1. at the end of 25 years, they no longer had a reason to continue as a group
2. they chose, individually, to leave each other and disband. they didn't want to be talked into recording another album or doing another tour. and they didn't want to hear any reasons to stay.

i'd love to hear what you think - if this song sounds like someone yearning for freedom, or if it's a gentle reminder to adoring fans that life does go on.


SkippyMom said...

I go with the latter - life goes on, but I have to agree that it is sad they are disbanding. One of my favorites when I was young and newly married.

It is a beautiful song. I am glad they are going out on their choice and not hanging around long past their prime [ala' the Stones and Diana Ross - don't hate people - they are OLD] I like to remember them now and before - not be sad that they became cariactures of themselves. [make sense?]

I was a huge fan of the Go-Gos back in the early/mid eighties but I have to say even Belinda is starting to get on my nerves - she is beyond prime to be singing "Vacation" y'know?

Btw - speaking of the Stones - how is Keith Richards STILL alive?

KarenG said...

Sorry I'm not a music person but I am so confused by all the new looks of my favorite blogs! I don't know where I am half the time! This looks very cool!

mi said...

skippymom - i always love the perspective you bring.
and i agree, it's better to go out while your still doing amazing work as opposed to becoming those sad caricatures of themselves.

kareng - haha, i'm sure it must be confusing when half your blog list changed their designs overnight!

Janet Johnson said...

I will sound sheltered, but I don't know the group at all. I'll hope for the latter . . . 25 years is a long time. Maybe wanting to expand?

Interesting post!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Maybe they want to start their own bands or go solo? It'd be interesting if they were each to create their own music, because then they might come up with something entirely different than what they've spent the last 25 years doing.

Christine Fletcher said...

I was intrigued by the line "stained glass wings could only take you so far..."

Makes me think it was wonderful while it lasted, but there's not enough left to go forward.

Beautiful song.

mi said...

janet - yes, it's true. 25 years is a long time. i'm pretty sure you've heard their one hit 'take on me' in a grocery store, haha!

neurotic workaholic - they have all done side and solo projects already, which is why it's so frustrating to me. it's not like they can't do both, right? haha. i'm still going to buy whatever they put out, no matter how different it might sound from their collaborative work.

christine - it is a beautiful song, and the more i listen to it, the more i think the lyrics are so deep and meaningful. and i think there is truth to your interpretation.

4emkaa said...

I'm their big Polish fan, and believe me you are right. This song is written from A-ha point of view. I adore all three. I can't tell that I'm happy that they will split, but for me it will be definitely THE END OF ERA OF MY BELOVED BAND - LAST TEN YEARS!!! I have some other favorite bands but this was unique ...and I'm afraid that there won't next so good...
Solaris 4emkaa

Lola Sharp said...

I'll just say this again--I'm sorry for your loss.


NOW GET BACK TO WRITING...finish that sucka.

Dawn said...

Awww Mi. Your analysis of this song is so touching. I love how committed you are and while I know it's sad, I hope it brings you some peace and inspiration. Xo

mi said...

4emkaa - you are right, they are unique and very special, and i don't think i will ever have the same experiences with any other musicians. are you going to any of their farewell performances?

lola - thank you for the hugs. and for the swift kick in the tush! haha! i will be back on track tonight, i promise.

dawn - it does bring some peace, but i think a part of me will be sad forever. it's like i'm losing a member of my family. seriously.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I love the style. It manages to stay modern while still havin that 1980's cult classic feel to it. I'm sorry they're disbanding but at least you'll always have their music!

4emkaa said...

Yes it was totally crazy. My friends and family thought that I lost my mind, but I bought a ticket for 2nd of December this year for one of Aha's three last concerts in OSLO. One of my friends said that Oslo will be the saddest place on Earth from 2nd to 4 th of Dec.
Last 10 years was for me very important because of their music. They had concerts in Poland twice, I wish they play this one and last time for Polish fans, but I think that this won't happen :(((

mi said...

creepy query girl - yes, i am a huge fan of the 80s. and i agree that it has a retro feel, but still with a modern edge.

4emkaa - i agree with your friend! i'm lucky i got to see their last american performance, but i have to be honest, i am REALLY trying to figure a way to see them in europe before the end of the year!

Random Thinker said...

I think it's the first. "Left" without a reason to stay implies this is the natural progression of things. The end. I admire them for letting go and also for the heartfelt farewell to their fans.

alishadyanna said...

I left a comment, but I guess it got eaten! And now I can't remember what I said. Something about ... uh .... it being like a reverse metamorphosis (butterfly/instar/chrysalis) and how they're going back to being individuals or something. :)

4emkaa said...

I will tell you this ... Try to buy tickets for gig in PARIS or in Spain :)))

mi said...

random thinker - i also admire them for giving their fans a "parting gift" of sorts. it really wasn't necessary in the grand scheme of things, but it is so great to have.

alishadyanna - i hate when blogger gets hungry! and yes, that paul is amazing with lyrics.

4emkaa - i am SO tempted...

alishadyanna said...

But we might also be "overthinking every little thing" -- he could've just been making pretty rhymes! :) I've been so down already today because of the job stuff that I haven't even listened to it, I know it would set me off again!

4emkaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
4emkaa said...

So I will be still tempting you ...
You got gigs in Spain in Madrid and in Barcelona, you can go to Paris or to Norway in September :)))) The choice is yours :)))