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Feral Hearts is a song performed by Kerli. The song premiered at Kiek in de Kök in the night of February 18. She debuted the single, as an independent artist, on February 19, 2016, but it was published nine days before, on SoundCloud.[1][2] The music video was released on February 25. On April 8, a remixes EP featuring three songs was released.[3] On April 26, Kerli uploaded the music video for a piano version of the song called The Sacred Forest Session, which was available as a free song on Hive. It was the first single of the original version of Kerli's third studio album, which was scrapped along with the original album art and the original fantasy theme as happened with Blossom, Diamond Hard and Spirit Animal, for the new darker album theme for the official released album, Shadow Works.

Background[]

In 2015, Kerli left Los Angeles where she had resided since 2008 and returned to her birthplace of Estonia. She sought solitude and the mythical tranquillity that could only circulate throughout the lush forested landscapes among the animals, plants, and energies under the Eastern European moon where she first found inspiration as a child. Kerli revealed the cover on social media on February 12.

She stated:

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I don’t just go into the forest for a photo shoot; I actually live here, and I make music here. Studying magic and shamanism of my ancestors is as important to me these days as making art
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After spending half of my life living and creating in different parts of the planet, I have found a deep appreciation and a way back to my ancient Estonian roots. The art you’re about to experience was made during a year in which I soaked in this magical land’s inspiration by practicing an extremely simple lifestyle by myself in a little forest temple, having not much else with me than my music making tools. I am humbled to share the first piece with the world as these are some of the most honest sounds and visuals I’ve ever created. It is my hope that they bring as much joy to the listener as they have to me while birthing them into reality

Composition[]

Feral Hearts is set at a 3/4 time signature, with a fast tempo of 180 beats per minute. The equivalent of this tempo in 4/4 signature is 120 beats per minute. Musically, Feral Hearts incorporates strings and atmospheric instrumentation, as well as background vocals accompanying Kerli's voice throughout the chorus.

Release and promotion[]

On February 18, Kerli premiered the song in the medieval tower of Kiek in de Kök in Tallinn, Estonia, where she performed Feral Hearts and a song in Estonian, and revealed the music video. On April 26, 2016, Kerli released for free a piano version of the track, Feral Hearts (The Forest Sessions), later renamed Feral Hearts (The Sacred Forest Session).

Audio commentary[]

Feral Hearts: to me, is a song about going back to the animal part of ourselves, wich is actually the biggest inspiration on all my new music. This specific song talks about trusting your instincts in the world that is mainly focused on thoughts. You know that got feeling we get about things, but often deny, because we're trying to do the right thing or the smart thing. I really do believe that our bodies are always telling us the truth. Just the voice of instinct is so suddle that it often gets lost and not heard, in all the noise of the world. And this noise is most of the time not uplifting or empowering, but quite the opposite: the society seems to be built upon insecurity and competition between human beings. So with the message of this song, I'm trying to remind my moon babies, that we are the carriers of our own torch, and the only ones that know what is true and good for us. "The whole world trying to tame the spark / but we've got fire burning bright, hidden". I've had a very difficult, but a really wonderful journey this year, that has lead me back to my roots and the nature of my homeland Estonia. I literally moved to live in the forest by myself, and did so for nine months. The noise, the expectation, and the false ideas of living have just taken over to the point where I felt like I had lost myself completely; I needed to let that version of myself die, in order to reconnect with the version of myself that truly believed in magic. Magic was the first thing, that got me making music - creating the community of Moon Children - and magic has always been the secret driving force behind every lyric that I write, and every vibration that I create. I needed to find that kid in myself again, that was awe of the night sky. I literally felt so wounded by the harsh urban ways, that, for the first month in my journey, I didn't do much else but sitting in the forest and talk to the land and the trees. I asked for them to heal me, to empower me, and to remind me of the purity of being: I want to be like them. The trees and the plants, who just grow towards the sunlight and don't have a skin, or a plan, or get approval from other plants to be complete and perfect in their peace. There's so much to learn from plants, and they're completely alive, each one having their own unique spirit, just like people. When it comes to this song, I wanted to lyrically recreate the feeling of wilderness, and not just of these beautiful human running wild in the untouched nature, but connecting with the raw, untouched part of themselves. I had a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with one of my favourite producers, Lester Mendez, who by the way produced Walking on Air as well, and creates some more nature-inspired art: I feel like all these micro beats in this track, are like insects flying around in the woods, and the deep almost ambient drums are reminiscent of the Earth's heartbeat. I couldn't do without the strings either, as nothing gives off in more epic feel, than a beautiful string part, in my opinion. "You are the vision I'm looking for / Make me remember all I forgot / Watch me become just an animal / Naked to nothing more than who we are". I'm wishing all of my moon babies lots of Integrity, Love and Unity and I love you so so so much.

Music video[]

Release and promotion[]

On December 30, 2015, through an Instagram post, Kerli revealed that a new music video was in the making.[4] In the following months several pictures and clips from the video were teased. On February 18, 2016 Kerli premiered it at Kiek in de Kök to a small crowd, and then it was publicy released on February 25 via Kerli's Yputube Channel. The music video for Feral Hearts can be downloaded with the Racing Time bundles. The video reached 1 million views on August 17, 2016 and 2 million on March 6, 2017. A "Director's Cut" version was released on Widescreen Studios' Vimeo Channel on February 22, 2016.[5] It contains a few unused shots and an alternative editing.

Synopsis[]

The video begins with an aerial view of the Estonian forest, over which Kerli's logo and the Estonian translation of Feral Hearts, Metsikud Südamed, are displayed (using the font Aeronaut). A zoom into the Mirror, which doesn't reflect the camera, but rather the sorrounding forest, is followed by a shot of a blue-dressed girl who, by entering the Portal, made out of woods, starts levitating over the ground. As Valge Hirv, the White Stag, watches behind a tree, intrigued by the entrance of the girl, the camera pans over the forest's flora. A beautiful timelapse of a starred night sky and a shot of the moon are paired with the lyrics "[Catch the shimmer] of showering stars / The sky gets dimmer". Then the girl, holding a lantern and still levitating, approaches Puu Vaim, the Tree Spirit, who is presented in all of its glory. After some shots of Kerli singing directly into the camera and of the girl exploring the forest, she arrives at the lake where Näkk, the Mermaid, reside. Both under-water and on-land shots are used to present the magical water-creature singing the enchanting Feral Hearts chorus melody. As the day approaches, the girl arrives at the wetlands, where she meets Amblik Jumalanna, the Spider Deity, exhibited both up-close and far away while weaving a web. Finally, the last encounter is with Valge Hirv, who stands tall sorrounded by mirrors and trees. The video ends with the girls' the girl leaving this mystical world and a backward tracking shot of the Mirror shown at the beginning.

Symbolism[]

Feral Hearts is filled with metaphors and symbolism. As Kerli herself has said, "there's no element in this video that isn't a symbol for something". Both the song and the video are an ode to Estonian and are deeply influenced by her return to her Estonian roots in 2015, after the experience of an "extreme burnout" in the United States.[6][7] As she stated, she wanted to leave "the land of hamburgers" to escape "the harsh urban ways", filled with anxiety and money-oriented thinking.

The blue-dressed girl is that "kid in awe of the night sky" and represents innocence, perhaps the same innocence that marked Kerli's early career in Estonia and the United States and that she found again by reconnecting with her homeland. The associated tarot card is The Fool, and its placement in the tarot set is often debated: since its number is 0, it is placed both at the beginning (before 1) and at the end (after 22) of the set. Innocence is, therefore, both "something [one] begin[s] with" and "something [one] end[s] with", after going through life's journey.

The forest is the magical place where the girl can "clense herself" and discover with a deeper truth thanks to the reconnection with nature and its forces. It symbolizes the unknown, just like, in ancient times, people wouldn't dare to go to the forest in absence of light. The Portal is the girl's passage from one world to the other.

The forces of nature are symbolized by the four elements, which are inspired by Estonian traditional folklore: Puu Vaim, the Tree Spirit, is a butterfly, and therefore symbolizes the air; the Mermaid, Näkk, of course, is the water; Amblik Jumalanna, the red-dressed spider, is the fire; the White Stag, Valge Hirv, is the earth.

The Mirror metaphor was explained in an Instagram post when the video reached 222k views:

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The Mirror symbolizes spiritual reflection - fearlessly looking at oneself. As I spent 9 months living in the forest contemplating my past choices and the different paths I could be taking in the future, deep self examination became the key word for my life. Look at the video closely again. It starts and ends with looking at oneself. And once the little girl catches the white stag/her vision, it is surrounded by nothing else but mirrors. Meaning, to achieve your highest potential, one needs to achieve complete and unapologetic self acceptance. The gold is not further outside. It is deeper inside.[8]

On 11 March, she explained the symbolism behind the Owl too:

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The owl is a symbol of deep knowledge and intuition. When the spirit of this animal guides you, you can see through illusion and deceit as the owl can see in the dark. Owls are also symbolic of death in many traditions. In most cases however, it should not be taken literally, but rather viewed as a symbolic death - transitioning from one phase of life to another.[9]

Gallery[]

Credits:

  • Character: Valge Hirv (White Stag)
  • Shot on October 21, 2015 at Mäealuse, Viimsi
  • Dress by Liina Stein

Credits:

  • Character: Puu Vaim (Tree Spirit)
  • Shot at Tädu Kuusk, Viimsi
  • Dress by Aldo Järvsoo

Credits:

  • Character: Näkk (Mermaid)
  • Shot at Nõmmeveski, Kuusalu
  • Mermaid tail: Mertailor

Credits:

  • Character: Amblik Jumalanna (Spider Goddess)
  • Shot at Viru Raba, Kuusalu
  • Spider goddess gown: Triinu Pungits
  • Spider goddess accessories: Tanel Veenre

Lyrics[]

The whole world trying to tame the spark
But we've got fire burning bright, hidden
Catch the shimmer of showering stars
The sky gets dimmer, and your light shows

You are the vision I'm looking for
Make me remember all I forgot
Watch me become just an animal
Naked to nothing more than who we are

Feral hearts in the night
Loving like we've been kept captive
Freed to wild
Feral hearts come alive
Loving like we've been kept captive
Freed to—

Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Feral, feral, feral hearts
Feral, feral, feral hearts

Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Feral, feral, feral hearts
Feral, feral, feral hearts

The whole world trying to blind the way home
But we've shelter deep inside, secret
Tame the whispers of winds as they blow
Feel my shivers in your arms stop

You are the vision I'm looking for
Make me remember all I forgot
Watch me become just an animal
Naked to nothing more than who we are

Feral hearts in the night
Loving like we've been kept captive
Freed to wild
Feral hearts come alive
Loving like we've been kept captive
Freed to—

Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Feral, feral, feral hearts
Feral, feral, feral hearts

Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Ooh, ooh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Feral, feral, feral hearts
Feral, feral, feral hearts

Track listing[]

  1. Feral Hearts - 4:38

The Sacred Forest Session[]

  1. Feral Hearts (The Sacred Forest Session) - 5:03

PledgeMusic exclusive[]

  1. Feral Hearts - 4:38
  2. Feral Hearts (Sacred Forest Session) - 5:03
  3. Feral Hearts (Audio Commentary) – 4:40
  4. Journey Thorugh the Elven Kingdom - 11:00

Remixes EP[]

  1. Feral Hearts (Melvv Remix) - 5:04
  2. Feral Hearts (Fatum Remix) - 3:59
  3. Feral Hearts (Varien Remix) – 4:31
While the piano version of the track is titled Feral Hearts (The Sacred Forest Session) on the EP, it is still listed as Feral Hearts (The Forest Sessions) on digital music stores.
The song Journey Thorugh the Elven Kingdom can be downloaded for free with the Racing Time bundles.

Credits[]

Song[]

  • Written by Kerli and Lester Mendez
  • Produced by Lester Mendez
  • Vocals and vocal production: Kerli
  • Piano, keyboards and programming: Lester Mendez
  • Engineer: Lester Mendez
  • Mixing: Robert Orton
  • Publishing: Tiny Cute Monster / Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) / Metasongs Inc. / Kobalt Music Services America (BMI)

Music video[]

Credits adapted from the music video.[10]

  • Creative director: Kerli
  • Director / DOP: CJ Kask
  • Technical director / gaffer: Sven-Erik Mändmaa
  • Editor: Ethan Chancer
  • Production: Widescreen Studios
  • Producer: Anneli Lepp
  • Production manager: Matilde Matvere
  • Location manager: Laura Lisete Roosar
  • Ac: Fil Vinokurov
  • Grip assistants: Magnus Niinemets, Siim-Martin Kaasik
  • Set design: Armin Kohlman, Kristen Raudkats, Joonas Hirv
  • Vfx: Frost Fx
  • Sfx: Rauno Linnamäe
  • Stunts: Enar Tarmo
  • Drone footage: Sander Allikmäe
  • Little girl: Amelie Kubi
  • Mermaid: Celine Kubi
  • Hair: Intersalon (Liina Heck, Maarja Roots, Kaja Seppel)
  • Make-up: Liisa-Chrislin Saleh
  • Nails: Marina Ohotina
  • Character design / styling: Kerli
  • White stag gown: Liina Stein
  • Spider goddess gown: Triinu Pungits
  • Spider goddess accessories: Tanel Veenre
  • Mermaid tail: Mertailor
  • Flowers and mirrors: Shishi

Special thanks[]

Special thanks from the music video.[10]

  • Piret Kõiv
  • Gaida Talu
  • Kalev Spa Hotel & Water Park
  • Julia Guljajeva
  • Mart Vares
  • Tallink Hotels
  • Egert Kamenik

References[]

  1. Feral Hearts - Single by Kerli. February 19, 2016. Apple Music.
  2. Feral Hearts by kerlimusic. February 10, 2016. Soundcloud.
  3. Feral Hearts Remixes - Single. April 8, 2016. Apple Music. Retrieved on September 6, 2017.
  4. Transformation. #elvenprincess #magic #newvideo ✨🌙. kerlimusic. December 30, 2015. Instagram. Retrieved on September 6, 2021.
  5. Kerli “Feral Hearts” Director’s Cut on Vimeo. Widescreen Studios. February 22, 2016. Vimeo. Retrieved on September 6, 2021.
  6. The real reason I've been in hiding.. OfficialKerli. December 21, 2018. YouTube. Retrieved on September 6, 2021.
  7. Confession Throne. March 1, 2016. OfficialKerli. March 1, 2016. YouTube. Retrieved on September 6, 2021.
  8. Post by kerlimusic. March 3, 2016. Instagram.
  9. Post by kerlimusic. March 11, 2016. Instagram.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Kerli - Feral Hearts (Official Music Vídeo). February 25, 2016. YouTube.
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