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"When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire."
— "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead"
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Stars is an indie-rock/pop band from Montreal, Canada. They became active in 2000 with their first album Nightsongs and have released seven more since.

They are comprised of Torquil Campbell (co-lead singer, synth, melodica), Amy Millan (co-lead singer, guitar), Evan Cranley (bassist), Chris Seligman (keyboard, French horn), Patrick McGee (drums), and Chris Mc Carron (guitar). Their music is known for haunting, narrative lyrics about love, conflict, and relationships, and often feature soft vocals from Campbell and/or Millan against sonical instrumentals.

Discography

  1. Nightsongs (2001)
  2. Heart (2003)
  3. Set Yourself on Fire (2004)
  4. In Our Bedroom After the War (2007)
  5. The Five Ghosts (2010)
  6. The North (2012)
  7. No One Is Lost (2014)
  8. There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light (2017)
  9. From Capelton Hill (2022)
Not to be confused with the Australian band of the same name, or with the 1991 album by
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Simply Red.

Tropes:

  • Cross-Referenced Titles: Two songs from Set Yourself On Fire are titled "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" and "One More Night (Your Ex-Lover Is Still Dead)". Both songs are about an ended relationship, though it is ambiguous if they are about the same couple.
  • Former Teen Rebel: "Barricade" is about two young hooligans in an unstable relationship. Years later the love interest seems to have cleaned up her act:
    Years later on, I saw your face
    In line to catch the morning train
    You looked like you'd been softened
    Like you never really loved the pain
  • Ghostly Chill: "I Died So I Can Haunt You" describes the air growing cold as the man in the song encounters what is implied to be the ghost of his ex-girlfriend.
    Knock, knock on the door of the house that he knew
    The air grows cold around me and you, and it's cold
    You know that he's there
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  • Haunted Heroine: The female singer and implicit heroine of "Dead Hearts" describes what seems to be a ghostly encounter of "kids that [she] once knew", alluding to past pain they bring up.
    Man: Did you touch them, did you hold them? / Did they follow you to town?
    Woman: They make me feel I'm falling down / They make me feel I'm falling down
  • Love Hurts: "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" describes a chance encounter between two exes who cannot help but reminisce on the pain and regret of the relationship all the while.
  • Mid-Suicide Regret: Metaphorically done in "Calendar Girl" — the depressed and possibly suicidal protagonist dreamed of their death and realized when they awoke (thinking they were still dying) that they wanted to live.
    I dreamed I was dying, as I so often do
    And when I awoke I was sure it was true
    I ran to the window; threw my head to the sky
    And said "Whoever is up there, please don't let me die"
  • Saved by the Church Bell: Ringing church bells are part of the melancholy, but hopeful imagery in "In Our Bedroom After The War".
    Listen, the birds sing
    Listen, the bells ring
    All the living are dead, and the dead are all living
    The war is over and we are beginning"
  • Shout-Out: The music video for "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" homages Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (with the band members lying on ice and staring at the sky), another work about a relationship that has come to an end.
  • Title Track: The albums "Heart", "Set Yourself On Fire", "In Our Bedroom After The War", "The North", and "No One Is Lost" all share their names with one of the songs.
  • War Is Glorious: Deconstructed in "Celebration Guns". A conflict (implied to be the Iraq War) has ended, hence drums, laughter, and the titular "celebration guns" commemorating the victory, but the narrator can't help but think of the personal cost — soldiers reduced to numbers, a neverending stream of bad news, and blood on the nation's hands as they search for the next target.
    And then the next day, how will you know your enemy
    By their colour or your fear
    One by one you can cage them in your freedom
    Make them all disappear

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