Part 1: The Flower King to Stardust we are
The Flower kings is a swedish progressive rock band from Uppsala, Sweden. I started listening to them after being given a concert ticket as a birthday present for their gig in our hometown.
As one of the most positive and uplifting music I have ever listened to in my life. I recommend you following my playlist down here on Spotify.
I have now for about a year and a half listened to this amazing band and found a heavy spiritual streak.
The Flower King
It all starts on Roines solo album The Flower King and it’s title track “The Flower King”. The sort of chorus goes
”Don’t deny, just verify the genius of it all. It’s the cycle of all living thing, hear the children. Hear the children call!
We believe in the light, we believe in love, every precious little thing.
We believe you can still surrender you can serve the Flower King”The Flower King Lyrics by Roine Stolt (C) 1994 InsideOut Music
It is a streak of Intelligent design as I interpret it from my religious, baptist background. That there must be something bigger as so many other prog artists have written over the years. Roine is a secular swedish person, but still so religious.
The band it self was formed after this solo album. It can also be interpreted as an hommage to Carl Linneaus, who actually was called the Flower king.
At the same time i can see the metaphor of God as the Flower King.
Back in the World of Adventures
Go West Judas
First we dive into the mind of a famous biblical character, the disciple of Jesus named Judas Iskariot but in a modern context as a betrayer but also the image of duality in the human nature.
”I’m not perfect, I’m no saintGo West Judas – Roine Stolt (C) 1995 Foxtrot Music
But you can’t fool me, so wipe off that paint
You may think that I’m your stepping stone
But in this game you’re all alone”
In christianity we often talk about the humans divided and i think Roine in some way portrays this. But that is just my interpretation and my world. False images, fake news is so well described in the text above.
The Big Puzzle
It is clear that we have a mystical, divine intervention in this song. As someone who read St John of the Cross and Therese of Avila, this fits quite well into the mindset of both these spanish carmelitic mystics.
The question of where are you God in a difficult time is so central to them and to Roine in the big puzzle.
He said, ”Son of mine, whom I idolizeVerse from ”The Big Puzzle” Text: (C)Roine Stolt 1995
Very first smile touched my heart
I’ll stand by your side in the darkest of nights
When this nightmare hold a grip on your heart”
When we continue a few stanzas down in the refrain that I in Sheet music describe as part ”F”:
Every night when I’m watching the skyVerse from ”The Big Puzzle” Text: (C)Roine Stolt 1995
Look for big ships passing by
I’m out on my own, you may say that I’m alone
But wish that someone would take me home, take me home
This is one of the questions i can find that is most central to the Christian mystics.
At the same time the phrase ”But wish that someone would take me home” is a longing for a pilgrims goal, home at rest with God.
I think personally that the general imagery in The Big Puzzle is so beautiful and that the images of two birds that flies over the sky is so strong for me. It helped me through the black hole that last autumn was for me.
There is more to this world
Of course there is. We start with the metaphor of the classic image of the Medicine man in verse one.
Take these words from the medicine manThere is more to this world (C) Roine Stolt 1996
I saw the sign of men with cold hearts
With a heart of stone, unholy rolling stone
At the same time for me a famous end time bible passage comes to mind from Matthew 24:9-12:
”At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. ”Matthew 24:10-13 https://my.bible.com/bible/111/MAT.24.10-13
This is just my annotation. That Roine describes the culture of the world growing colder of lack of love whom fits well inside the scripture passage above. And if you put them side by side i can see what is happening in the world right now.
At the same time i think that the description in what is technically used as refrain describes the spirit as a free roaming nature
See how we run the fieldsThere is more to this world (C) Roine Stolt 1996 Foxtrot Music
Ride the wild horse again
Run with your open heart
See with your open eyes
It is a description that fits also in the mindset of Roine and his generation. Roine was a teenager when the whole swedish leftwing political vein was at it’s peak height. The young adults that him and his band Kaipa met at Uppsala Musikforum where the hippies used to hang out in a former clothing factory.
We are back in the biblical imagery of Judas. Now even more after the crucifiction and his inner battle. The shame of the betrayal. At the same time you can see Judas being dragged down a street by a mob. The bible does not give us any real clue.
Time running out, and the wolves getting closerJudas Kiss (C) Roine Stolt 1996
Judas kissing, the world is a loser
Curtains are down for the Nazarean
He’ll carry the cross and the world will go free
It paints a picture of the scapegoat. They have existed in all eras and ages. It also talks about the veil in the temple of Jerusalem
Stardust we are
In the eyes of the world
This track is multifaceted and has many depths. In verse one i feel there is a reference to Mozarts The Magic flute. A piece many people in Roines generation saw on the telly in Ingemar Bergmans cast (No not Ingemar Bergman from KAIPA).
I can also find references to the story of Adam and Eve, another conceptalbum they did.
In one way it also describes the view of the artist as a clown. An imagery often found in medieval comedic plays. The pied piper has been depictured alot in progressive rock over the years and probably comes from the story Pied Piper of Hamelin.
”I’m just a clown in the eyes of the worldIn the eyes of the world Text: Roine Stolt 1997 (C) Foxtrot Music
Guess I’m a clown in the eyes of the world”
It is a warning for the false prophets, seeing the false tounges of media trying to affect society. The duality between sinner/saviour is a motif that comes back in the albums.
Just this once
It is all about the river of life and how little we understand. The exploration of mankinds spirituality and how we inherit certain things from our parents.
”You’re a child and I’m a manJust This Once – Roine Stolt 1997 (C) Foxtrot Music
There’s so much you don’t understand
I’m a little wiser, see
I got this taste of eternity”
Still God is there. There is a strength hidden in the verse that alludes to the throne of angels or the book of Ester in the bible. Seeking audience.
”I’ve got this feeling insideJust This Once – Roine Stolt 1997 (C) Foxtrot Music
Go talk to the king, he’s got nothing to hide
Just once you’re on top of it all”
Go talk to the king i believe is a seekers prayer to the unknown God. The unknown God in the darkness that i personally call Jesus.
Church of your heart
Spiritual freedom. To follow your inner mind, being true to your self. I find parallels in the lyrics to Andrew Petersons You’ll find your way.
”Don’t believe in matter, so please don’t fence me inChurch of your Heart (C) 1997 Foxtrot Music
Do believe in freedom, you’ve seen the shape I’m in”
The text also can be read with the bible passage quoted below:
“Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.”Proverbs 5:4 NIV https://www.bible.com/sv/bible/111/PRO.4.NIV
It is still a song about being true to your self and true to what you believe in. Also looking in wonder at the creation.
This is a song that was played as encore in the concert i was in and feels extra important in this age.
It is a song of the importance of compassion in a world growing colder and colder. The song is about how we need it. There is also a reference to the passage from the sermon on the mount saying Thou shall forgive 70*77.
Kingdom of Lies
Adam and Eve. We will come back to them later in another episode of these blogposts. But it portrays how easily power goes to peoples heads and the effect of that.
”Lizards and snakes in the garden of EdenKingdom of lies(C) Stolt/Bodin 1997
Whipping the weeds, made the flowers die
Down to the waters the holy lamb
Barely alive, and the shepherd cries”
Stardust we are
The magnum opus of this record. 25 minutes of prog joy and a concert staple. A search of is there something more than we can grasp out there. The longing for something more.
See me, touch me, feel me, will I live forever?Stardust We Are (C) Roine Stolt 1997
Hold me, thrill me, in your love forever
The longing of something more. The search is something so prevalent in the music of progressive rock.
The cosmic and extra terrestrial is so fascinating. Are we alone in space is a question TFK asks us quite a lot.
I found the view thou presented in the lyrics as problematic.
”Stardust we areStardust We Are (C) Roine Stolt 1997
Close to divine
Stardust we are
See how we shine”
The problem is that are we just dust, nothing more? I do not believe that. There must be more.
Final thoughts on part one
That is all for now. I will come back on this topic. The Next album is the mastodont ”Garden of dreams”. 2 hrs to plough through.
I will also try to compile all my notes in a more printer friendly format as this article series will be long.