Friday, November 23, 2007

Kanssasi en pelkaa kaupungin pimeaa

There are some times that I am so very thankful (running theme) for music from outside the United States, or that I'm aware of music from outside the U.S. This latest song from Finland is one of such case. I've been captivated with it since the first time I heard it and had to find out more about the singer. Jenni Vartianen is a former member of girl group Gimmel (formed as a result of Popstars); the group apparently broke up back in 2004, but Jenni just released her debut solo album a few months ago. The lead single "Tunnoton" passed me by (or at least passed me by without making a lasting impression), but I'm very much in love with her new single. Listening to clips of the album, which takes its title from this second single, it sounds like a very good mature pop album--I'm not sure it's totally the music for me so I've held off on buying it so far, though I can possibly see myself eventually getting it and loving it in a very different sort of way--it doesn't sound very much like the sort of music I usually like. Don't let that throw you, though--at the very least, she's released an instantly accessible single in the following song.

Ihmisten edessaä--singer from a reality TV-created group goes solo, gets some artier photos, and seeks publicity and credibility with her new more mature music and "controversial" subject matter? It might seem like it at first glance, since one of the most frequently discussed aspects of this song is its lyrics--what tends to be emphasized is the fact that it's probably about a relationship with a woman--but I think Jenni or at least this song (Jenni herself is remaining mum, saying her private life is private) is too smart to brush off like that.

That's probably overstating the...hmm, subtlety isn't the right word, but really, the song--well, I like that it takes a special strength from the nature of the relationship it's describing, but still uses lyrics that are very much relatable to anyone. The song is given extra meaning and poignancy when you add the dimension of a lesbian relationship if you already know that the song means "In Front Of People" and that Jenni is singing about having the strength to walk in front of people now that she's with her partner, even if people are staring and talking (you can read a translation of the lyrics here if you want to, as well as some of Jenni's thoughts on the song), but really, the music speaks by itself for all of us who don't speak Finnish. There's one perfect word to describe it: haunting. You might want to add in "beautiful" for a more complete description, though, and "catchy," though not in the way you usually think of catchy, or at least that I usually think of it--here, the catchiness comes from a mix of instrumentation--though the piano jumps out--that feels designed to be both mysterious and powerful in a quiet confidence sort of way. It's a very musicianship-y sounding sort of song.

"Ihmisten edessaä" is written by Teemu Brunila, who has now officially intrigued me--apparently a member of a band called the Crash, he also wrote Anna Abreu's "End Of Love" from earlier this year, making "Ihmisten edessaä" the second non-traditional, interesting, and yet still accessible pop single he's created this year. I know he's done a little writing for at least one or two other pop singers and I may investigate those, but I'll be very interested to see what he does next (in terms of writing for other people)--could just be a fluke, but I'm hoping not.

To buy Jenni Vartianen's album Ihmisten edessaä, go here (physical).

Next up: maybe that American singer, who I've featured before.


kevin (ru) said...

Hey! Whether Brunila is genius or not, but The Crash's "Still Alive" is my favorite music video EVER!

Today I've just seen it for a billionth time.

Poster Girl said...

Oh, Kevin, I hadn't seen that video before and I LOVE it! It's everything I look for in a music video! And how was I not aware that the Crash used such brilliantly '80's keyboards/synths? Love it!

FiRe said...

Yeah, he is very talented. If you can, check out The Crash: "Sugared" from the band's first album. Beautiful song and a good video, too.

Poster Girl said...

I've just looked it up--ohh, yeah, another great video! I can kind of feel mini-obsession where I go out and buy a bunch of the group's back catalogue coming on...thanks for the recommendation!

fire said...

You're welcome. Just recently the am. video was chosen as "Finland's gayest music video" at a festival for gay films. As you can see, "flirting" with gay elements is not unfamiliar for Mr Brunila. He also made a song with Finnish DJ/producer Slow, called "I'm Over You, Pablo", where he did the vocals. Check it out if you can, nice disco song. The reason why I'm taking up this "gay" theme is because I think it contributes something distinctively different to the band's sound and songwriting. Very refreshing... Earlier this year the band signed a deal with Rykodisc/Warner, so it will be very interesting to hear the new material.