Usually, when I listen to music, I’m doing something else while I’m listening but sometimes I hear a song which makes me stop what I’m doing and just listen. Goodnight, Mr. Moon by Karolina Rose is one of those.
It’s a mid-tempo electro-pop ballad which, on first listen, is captivating. I’ve now heard it several times and it just gets better and better with every listen.
At the beginning, there are simple keyboard notes with an echoed vocal part. It’s wonderfully understated and the lyrics in the first verse are poetic and beautiful: ‘Look at the moon shining on the water. It’s coming down for you. To snatch you up into the blue sky. I’m holding on for you.’
Despite the beauty of the lyrics, the arrangement feels dark and sparse and gives the impression that this song will offer something more than ‘beautiful.’ This is definitely the case: Goodnight, Mr. Moon offers so much in terms of taking the listener on a journey and really making you feel something deeper than most songs manage to achieve.
The lyrics touched me, although I wasn’t exactly sure why. There’s a sense of anguish in lines like ‘Violent dreams, they haunt me. Waking up to a moonlit night’ and ‘You say we are the moon. We are two stars in the night. You say we’ll be there soon. Please don’t give up the fight.’ The ethereal music and Karolina’s vocals work with the lyrics to build up that sense of loss and grief, which are clear themes in the song.
Like good songs do, I found myself attaching my own emotions and experiences to the song and becoming involved in it – giving it my own meaning. Music should be about the listener’s interpretation to some extent but I found myself craving more context in terms of Karolina’s vision for the song: I’d become intoxicated by the song, wanting to find out more about it and the story behind it.
After some research online, I found that the song was just as meaningful and fascinating as I thought it had been:
Goodnight, Mr. Moon was initially born when an artist friend of Karolina’s asked her to write a song about death to play at her showcase. The project was one she’d made to deal with the death of her father and how she’d do anything to bring him back.
The song took on the form of someone hallucinating in the middle of the night; trying to bring their loved one back by talking to the moon. This was based on Karolina’s own experiences of hallucinating in the middle of the night and of one specific nightmare, where it looked like the moon had projected a spotlight onto her wall.
There’s something desperately sad about this image when listening to the song: the idea of this grieving person, desperately trying to cling on to their lost loved one and the song takes you along with that feeling (and who doesn’t love a sad song?). However, towards the end, the song picks up at the end and the person has a realisation that it’s time to say goodbye and the tone changes. Karolina has taken us on this journey with her and we’re left with that feeling of closure and almost a cross between relief and euphoria.
The reason that music exists is because sometimes words just aren’t enough to convey a feeling or an emotion. Despite my best efforts, I can’t convey with my words just how moving a song Goodnight, Mr. Moon is. My advice to you would be to turn down the lights, get rid of all distractions, sit, and just listen to the song… then listen again: it really is that good!
About Karolina Rose
Karolina Rose is a Polish-American artist, singer, songwriter, performer making art pop / avant-rock / indie electropop / alternative synth / new romantic music. She is based in Brooklyn, New York. Influences include Kate Bush, Debbie Harry, Florence Welch, David Bowie and Madonna.
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Iain Wheeler was born in the Wirral, England and now lives in Bedfordshire (after a short detour to Lincoln) with his wife and 2 children. Iain grew up listening to his parents’ record collection, including things like Little Angels and Bon Jovi. He has since moved on to an eclectic collection ranging from The Wonder Years and Mayday Parade to Bright Eyes and Mojave 3. Currently, he is a school teacher who plays tenor sax for ‘Codename Colin,’ a ska-punk band who released their first EP ‘Outgunned’ in 2017.