Sunday, June 1, 2014

A heavy metal artist has made an album of songs based on Don Rosa stories! Yes, really!

I don't remember why now, but a couple of weeks ago, I was Googling "Last Sled to Dawson", and as I typed it in, one of the "predictions" that came up was "Last Sled to Dawson lyrics". That gave me pause. There's a song with the same title as one of my favorite stories? I decided to pursue the matter ... after all, Google was inviting me to.

My first move was to pull up the lyrics. From the first two verses, it was apparent that the title wasn't a coincidence -- the song was definitely based on Rosa's first sequel to a Barks classic:

There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting
It's luring me as of old!
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting so much as finding the gold!
It's the great, big, broad land `way up yonder!
The great, broad land `way up yonder

Haunting him as of old
Yet, it ain't the gold itself
So much as finding the gold
Farewell, White Agony Creek
Farewell, the three long years
Can't leave behind what's in this sled

And besides the dead-giveaway mentions of "finding the gold", "Can't leave behind what's in this sled", and especially "White Agony Creek" -- and the sentiment of "It's the great, big, broad land `way up yonder", which evokes one of the flashbacks early in Rosa's story --  the lyrics to me immediately had an eerie, timeless air to them, that for me, was tapping into the emotional and mythic arc of Rosa's narrative.

Still, I was figuring that this was an obscure song by some folk and/or "adult contemporary" artist that had been released at some point years ago, and no one who's heard it was aware of what had inspired it.

I couldn't have been more wrong. It belongs to an album that in in its entirety is based exclusively and explicitly on Rosa's "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" ... and it was released just last month! And Don Rosa came out of retirement to draw and paint the cover! See:

It's a solo release by Tuomas Holopainen, of the Finnish "operatic power metal" band Nightwish, who back when I was into goth music I'd heard of, but wasn't familiar with. Holopainen is a self-proclaimed huge Don Rosa fan, and had the idea for this album back in the `90's, when he first read Rosa's 12-part odyssey.

As unlikely as Holopainen's admiration and his ultimate collaboration with Rosa may seem, it makes sense when you remember how popular duck comics, and Rosa in particular, are in Finland. Apparently, everyone there really does read them!

Music videos for two of the songs -- including "The Last Sled" -- can be found on YouTube:

"The Last Sled":

"A Lifetime of Adventure":

For me, this style of music is a little too synthetic and overwrought. However, I certainly appreciate and identify with where Holopainen is coming from, to say the least. I may even just order a copy of the cd.

-- Ryan

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