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Welcome to Music Friday when we bring your great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we present the hypnotic harmonies of First Aid Kit’s Klara and Johanna Söderberg performing “Stay Gold,” a song that uses the precious metal as a metaphor for the vitality of youth — when the world is your oyster and anything is possible.
Klara Söderberg, who co-wrote the song with her sister, Johanna, told The Oregonian that “Stay Gold” was inspired by Robert Frost’s eight-line poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”
In that poem, which was originally published in 1923, Frost begins with these two lines, “Nature’s first green is gold / Her hardest hue to hold” and ends with these, “So dawn goes down to day / Nothing gold can stay.”
In “Stay Gold,” the Swedish sisters’ take on the Frost poem goes like this, “The sun shone high those few summer days / Left us in a soft, wide-eyed haze / It shone like gold / It shone like gold / But just as the moon it shines straight / So dawn goes down today / No gold can stay / No gold can stay.”
Essentially, the sisters are saying that a young person’s idyllic view of life — and likely their own — is often short-lived.
In the The Oregonian interview, Klara described how she encountered Frost’s famous work.
“I had this collection of poetry, and I thought, ‘I’ll open this and see if there’s anything in here that inspires me,’ and I came upon the line ‘Nothing gold can stay.’ That was literally the first thing I saw, and it was perfect,” she said.
“Stay Gold” is the title song from First Aid Kit’s third studio album, which was released in June 2014 and peaked at #23 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. It won the Swedish Grammis award in 2014 for “Album of the Year,” and was listed sixth in Paste magazine’s list of the 40 best folk albums of the 2010s.
Despite the sisters’ humble beginnings as a MySpace/YouTube indie folk phenomenon in 2007-2008, First Aid Kit has amassed a body of work that includes four albums, four EPs and several singles. In 2015, and again in 2019, they were nominated for a Brit Award as one of the five best international groups.
Trivia: Klara wrote her first song, “Femton mil i min Barbiebil” (Fifteen miles in my Barbie car], when she was six.
Please check out the video of First Aid Kit’s performance of “Stay Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
“Stay Gold”Written by Klara and Johanna Söderberg. Performed by First Aid Kit.
The sun shone high those few summer daysLeft us in a soft, wide-eyed hazeIt shone like goldIt shone like gold
But just as the moon it shines straightSo dawn goes down todayNo gold can stayNo gold can stay
What if our hard work ends in despair?What if the road won’t take me there?Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold
What if to love and be loved’s not enough?What if I fall and can’t bear to get up?Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay goldWe could stay gold
We’re on our way through rugged landTop of that mountain we wanted to standWith hearts of goldWith hearts of gold
But there is only forward, no other wayTomorrow was your hope at the end of the dayAnd gold turns grayAnd gold turns gray
All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridgeOf memories where I can get backAll of my dreams, they fall and form a bridgeOf memories where I can’t get back to you
Could stay goldStay gold
Credit: Photo by Christian Düringer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.