Here's something a little special for you - a bonus post. I don't usually ever do two posts in one day unless there happens to be two big news items, but since it's Nightwish, I feel I can make an exception.
The tracklist for Endless Forms Most Beautiful was announced today, and you may be wondering just what all those titles are referring to. Well wonder no further, because I've gone and Googled it all for you....
- Shudder Before The Beautiful - I’m assuming this is the one Nightwish's orchestrator Pip Williams was hinting at when he tweeted “a great rocking track that will make you shudder ;)” - so looks like we’re in line for another big opener, like Dark Chest of Wonders. The line features in a poem by Roy Fuller, which states "even scientists shudder before the beautiful".
- Weak Fantasy - Slightly strange title, this one, and a bit of a mystery. I wonder if it could be referring to believing in things without evidence?
- Élan - The lead single! Élan is a French word meaning spirit, zeal, momentum. Tuomas is probably referring to élan vital which was a term coined by philosopher Henri Bergson in his book Creative Evolution, to explain what he believed was the driving force behind evolution.
- Yours Is An Empty Hope - A reference to Dante’s Inferno. This line is part of a passage about priests and holy men who are doomed because they are guilty of avarice. Most likely a dark and heavy song.
- Our Decades In The Sun - Taken from a quote by Richard Dawkins - “The chances of each of us coming into existence are infinitesimally small, and even though we shall all die some day, we should count ourselves fantastically lucky to get our decades in the sun.” This is probably quite a positive track, given the quote.
- My Walden - Walden is a book by Henry David Thoreau about living in nature. The author spent two years living in a cabin by a lake and described his experiences. My guess is that this might be a ballad - we do know that it has no orchestration.
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful - The title track, it was already confirmed that this is a reference to a quote from Charles Darwin. “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” Pip mentioned that the “title track contender” was “a rousing affair, featuring the largest orchestra” but it’s not confirmed whether he was referring to this track.
- Edema Ruh - The Edema Ruh are a nomadic cultural group from Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle books. They are described as musicians and entertainers who travel around trading their art for hospitality. This could be a metaphor for the band themselves. Another one with no orchestration.
- Alpenglow - This is the name given to the red glow on mountains just before sunrise or after sunset. Perhaps this could be a softer song, or something with more folk influences.
- The Eyes of Sharbat Gula - Sharbat Gula is the name of the girl with piercing eyes in the famous National Geographic photo known as “Afghan Girl”.
- The Greatest Show on Earth - The title of a book by Richard Dawkins on evolution (itself a famous circus slogan and sometimes used to refer to the northern lights - so perfect for Nightwish). As the album closer it is almost certain that this is the epic 25 minute track, and most likely the one that Dawkins will speak on. According to Pip, it has 5 parts. Apparently Tuomas’s instructions were to “Make it the ultimate show stopper- beautiful, melancholic, even biblical”. This one is going to be big!