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Marko Hietala (Finland) – Left On Mars (ft. Tarja Turunen) (single)

Funny isn’t it how things have a way of coming around? We had a ‘Greatest Ever Live Performances’ post only last week, which was of Nightwish’s ‘End of an Era’ final tour performance in October 2005 in Helsinki, with Marko Hietala as ‘The Phantom’ to Tarja Turunen’s ‘Christine’ in their version of the theme to The Phantom of the Opera.

Turunen’s expulsion from the band immediately after that show and its many consequences is the stuff of legend now. She went on to a successful solo career and I saw her last year in Manchester where she excelled as ever. (There is a review if you want to check it out).

Hietala left Nightwish in January 2021 as a result of seemingly complex personal circumstances that had built up over time, dabbling since then in various other bands, including one he had long worked with, playing solo and winning the Finnish version of ‘The Masked Singer’.

I think it’s fair to say that many fans have long suspected that of all the band members he was probably the one to show sympathy for the predicament Tarja Turunen had found herself in and I said in that previous post (quote) “The bridge building that has gone on, and over some years now, is individually between Turunen and Hietala, who have since performed the Phantom together as a slower more formally operatic-style piece.”

Anyway, they are ‘formally’ back together again now, after almost 20 years, with a new collaborative song, ‘Left on Mars’. Thanks to YouTube for alerting me to this by the way, by dint of the little thumbnail videos down the right hand side of the screen. I suppose ‘AI’ is responsible, so it does have its uses.

I don’t think for a second that a shared interest in astronomy or films starring Matt Damon influenced the writing of this song. If anything its Hietala’s version of ‘Solsbury Hill’ after Peter Gabriel left Genesis, and in which he intoned,

Today I don’t need a replacement/I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant

“Hey”, I said, “You can keep my things, they’ve come to take me home,”

and in some ways perhaps even a counterpoint to Tuomas Holopainen’s ‘The Poet & the Pendulum’.

A song in which being ‘Left on Mars’ is a metaphor for being dumped.

“Do you know (Do you know?)/That my heart still holds the rage, no

And I’ve turned page after page/I never chose (Never chose) to be an Alien, no

I’m just looking for a home (I’m just looking for a home)/I’m just looking for a home

I know I’m better left on Mars.”

Then later,

“But you still believe in me/And I choose (And I choose) the mercy of your Heart

I’m just looking for a home (I’m just looking for a home)/There together we’ll find home”

There is no bitterness here, just acceptance that que sera, sera, and in my humble opinion they’ve found home in each other’s company. I don’t know if they’ll ever choose to perform as Hietala and Turunen or vice versa (neither has a ring to it, does it?) but if they do they have a waiting list running to millions of fans.

Musically, I get a vibe which draws me towards ‘Endlessness’, which Hietala, soloing on it on Nightwish’s last album ‘Human :II: Nature’, never got to sing live.

And there’s simple but killing two chord progression which will slay you.

To cap it all the accompanying video is directed by Ville Lipiäinen, who has been responsible for most of Nightwish’s classic live show videos.

It doesn’t get much better than this, but it will do if they produce an album.

In the meantime there is some touring going on right now in Brazil, on Turunen’s ‘Living the Dream: The Hits Tour 2024’ although it appears to have been impacted by health problems. Check out their social websites for details.

Find them on:

(Marko Hietala)




(Tarja Turunen)





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