Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Some Food For Thought: Nightwish - 10 years later [time to move on]

This morning I saw a link from the Finnish metal band Nightwish about their upcoming new album Endless Forms Most Beautiful. As someone who likes a good train wreck, I couldn't resist and read some of the comments on the band's Facebook page. Most people like myself are excited about the album, of course there were a few people who somehow hasn't gotten over the fact that Nightwish has moved on from the firing of Tarja Turunen. I thought for tonight's blog I would write about Nightwish and the drama surrounding the band. After ten years, it seems like people still can't get over the fact the band has a different singer.

I have been a fan of the band Nightwish for just over 10 years. I first got into the band when I saw an advertisement for their album album Wishmaster which may have been a year after its release, I can't remember ;).

I was intrigued by the description female operatic vocals and immediately ordered a copy online. That album opened my eyes to another world of heavy metal music I did not know it existed. Wishmaster immediately made me a Nightwish fan. What drew me to the music was Tarja's powerful vocals. Her voice completely blew me away. At the time, I never heard anyone in heavy metal sing like she did. After Wishmaster, I made it a point to buy as much of their music as I could. I thought this line up would last forever. I was wrong.

Like every other fan, I was completely shocked to have found out that Tarja was fired for the band (and it wasn't on good terms either from what I had read). I didn't know who could fill the huge shoes that Tarja left. I didn't think anyone could. When the band announced that they chose Anette Olzon, I admit I was a bit excited but sad at the same time, after all no one could sing like Tarja but still I was excited for new music from the band. When the band released 2007's Dark Passion Play I liked the album but lets face it Anette Olzon was no Tarja. Anette sounded so different from Tarja. I felt she was an odd pick to replace Tarja. My overall thoughts on the album was meh. I liked a few songs but in general the album was no match with the body of work that Tarja did with the band. I did get to see the band with Anette perform live in 2007 (I think). I will say this about Anette as a live performer. She was far more engaging with the audience than Tarja was when I saw her in 2004 or 2005. 2011's Imaginaerum was definite improvement. I liked that the band was venturing out beyond the confines of their symphonic metal sound and I was starting to warm up to Anette's singing style. I admit there was a brief time when I thought of giving up on them. Briefly. Once again, the band surprises me with an announcement that Anette had left the band during their tour behind Imaginaerum and asked ex-After Forever singer Floor Jansen to finish the tour with them. Not long after the tour ended, Floor was asked to become their lead singer on a full time singer. This had me intrigued. Of course I had to start listening to her former band's music. I really liked what I had heard.

But it was not until I heard Floor perform "Storytime" did I really get excited about Nightwish again.

I think with Floor, her voice falls inbetween Tarja and Anette. After listening to Floor's work with Revamp and her former band After Forever, I knew Floor was the right pick for the band. I liked Anette but her voice and Tuomas' compositions just didn't click with me for 98% of the time. I love Anette's solo album Shine which for me is grossly underrated and underappreciated and I do look forward to hearing more music from her in the future. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what Floor has to offer with the band. I will be making a trip to Chicago in April to see the band perform at the Concord Music Hall since they aren't coming to Minneapolis.

Over the years, I have found myself a lot less bitter and resentful towards the band (after the departure of Tarja). I  have come to realize that Nightwish was and is Tuomas Holopainen's baby and he has the right to see how the band functions as a whole and to see his musical vision come to fruition. Do I miss Tarja? Sure but I have the albums she sang on to listen to . She has given several years of listening pleasure for music lovers.  As I see it with each of the singers in the band, it is like different chapters in a book. Floor just happens to be the next chapter for the band.  I wish those who continually insult the band or put down Floor Jansen as a singer would just learn to let things go. It has been ten years since Tarja has been out of the band. Time for the haters to stop following the band and move on. I do that with bands I stop liking for various reasons, trolling their pages just seems pointless. 

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