Nightwish’s Once from 2004 was hands down the best album of the 2000s. Whereas Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was the best album of the 1970s. Whereas Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance was the best album of the 1980s. And Radioheads’s OK Computer was the best album of the 1990s.
Tuomas Holopainen is one of the better composers today. He didn’t by any means invent Symphonic Metal. However, he made Symphonic Metal what it is today. I don’t think you’ll find too many experts disagree with me on this.
Nightwish’s previous albums were pretty good. They had wonderful songs. Plenty of filler, but the good songs were wonderful.
Enter Nightwish’s Once
2004, Nightwish releases Once. This one album changed everything. It got tons of other European bands to copy Nightwish. Not so much in the States. Why? I have no idea.
Unfortunately, I had no idea who Nightwish was until after the tour passed California and Tarja was about to be sacked. I would have loved to see Nightwish with Tarja. We saw them once – with Annette. Still good, but Annette isn’t as good a fit in Nightwish as Tarja was.
Dark Chest of Wonders and Wish I Had an Angel start off the album with a bang! Right away, great compositions, great production. Nemo follows them with pure Symphonic Metal. Creek Mary’s Blood and The Siren are spectacular songs.
The whole album is solid, but the highlight of the album is definitely Ghost Love Score, a ten-minute epic piece with a little bit of waltz in the middle. That’s how you write a song!
My guilty pleasure on the album is definitely the bonus track White Night Fantasy. As much as I don’t like living in snow, the song almost wants me to move to Northern Europe. No, I’m not joking. It romanticizes the snow better than any song I’ve ever heard, including the masterpiece White Christmas.
Well, once a band puts on their magnum opus, you know a decline is in order. Nightwish’s Once was their magnum opus. Luckily, they’re still good. They’ve just never done anything as good and more than likely, never will as they’ve become too commercial.
I did like Annette. I just didn’t think she was as good a fit. And I think Floor Jansen is a fantastic fit, but Nightwish is past their prime.
Popular music and Classical music couldn’t be farther apart. With Classical music, composers get better and better every year until they die. With popular music, you have a creative window. It gets exhausted. You can still put out good stuff, but there’s a big difference between good and great.
Brutal? Yes. But you know it’s true. Every band has its creative peak. Once past the peak, it’s over. Exceptions exist, but are very, very rare.
My thoughts on the split. Now, this is personal opinion. I may be 100% wrong, so don’t sue me.
I’m under the impression Tuomas was in love with Tarja but couldn’t properly express it and it became uncomfortable. The other band members sided with Tuomas because simply, he is the band. Always side with the band over the individual.
One of them had to go. The show must go on. Bummer, but on with the show.