Monday, March 03, 2008

Se ainoo lääke on

Finland chose its Eurovision entry this weekend and, to be honest, I don't think much of it. I think that's why I've gone through a mini-Finnish music spree, though admittedly my Finnish music collection is vastly smaller than, say, my Swedish music collection. Though there we some real revelations for me last year from the Finnish music scene (Jenni Vartianen's "Ihmesten Edessä," which if I was giving out awards for achievement in music in 2007 would have easily snagged one for its still intoxicating beauty and aura of mystery melded with an unforgettable piano part and some of the best mature pop songwriting of the year; Ninja, though that was a year after her album came out), no one was able to take away the title of my Finnish singer of choice--in terms of the music created--from Antti Tuisku. His 2006 dance album New York is incredible, an album that works on the dual level of capturing the sound of nights of clubbing and being a showcase for sophisticated international-quality songs (the commercial side of dance, yes, but I wouldn't even call it pop-dance). "Levoton" is still my go-to song for testing new headphones (that intro gets me every time) and "Sekaisin" is still an incredibly catchy dance song, but those songs and the other singles are only the tip of the often fun, often dramatic, always exciting iceberg. He's come a long way from his days as a third place Idol finisher, and this album proved it--or should have at least proved to Finland that, at least in terms of making music, he's an artist worth paying real attention to (suffice to say, it didn't; if you're looking to seem cool, his name isn't one to start mentioning, to say the least).

I've sung New York's praises so often, though, that I thought I'd post an earlier song from Antti today, one from his first album. It's got a very different sound from what he's doing now (this song is more the giggly, young-sounding, arguably chintzy side of pop), though, so if you've missed my earlier posts on him, definitely give some of his more recent (though still years old) singles like "Sekaisin" a listen.

Yritä Ymmärtää--Antti's second single and, given that it comes from all the way back in 2004, it's probably no surprise that it finds him sounding sort of...boyish. That fits with the music of the song, though (even if not the lyrics; apparently the title means "Try To Understand," but that's all I know), which has an almost bouncy playful feel to it. The key to "Yritä Ymmärtää"'s appeal, though, and the reason it moves beyond a singsongy youth-oriented appeal (or deserves to), is the strings. Really, I can't overstate what a smart idea it was to include them; not only do too few "boy pop" songs (or, heck, pop songs in general) make use of them, these ones are particularly great, pretty, catchy, and lifting, and truly make what could have been an otherwise forgettable song one that'll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, even if only because you're trying to figure out what that string part reminds you of or how they can be sampled and incorporated to a new song immediately.

The lead single for his greatest hits, "Ei Aikaa," pointed to an interesting combination of his older pop sound with the dance sound he used on New York; I'll be very interested to see what he does next.

To buy Antti Tuisku's debut album, Ensimmäinen, go here (digital). I'd say New York is the album of his to get, though.

Next up: maybe a British singer.


Robpop said...

I like this!!!

Of course prefer Ninja and her amazing version Battlefield of Love. But vocally I wasn't sure of her performance. It seemed she couldnt sort out her vocals. I don't know. Maybe its me.

The chorus is good. But theres something not quite right about the vocals...the one on her myspace is amazing!

madforsadler said...

Oooh Antti! How wonderful :) I'm still trying to find New York and Rovanemi, but everything else is just fabulous of his. Why won't he come to the US?

Poster Girl said...

Ninja is fantastic! I'm forever in your debt for introducing me to her--"I Don't Play Guitar" is one of my anthems (if I could ever figure out blog formatting, I'd have a constantly switching sub-header under my blog's name, and "I don't wear pink and I don't wear guitar" would definitely get its time in the spotlight). I was so pleased to see her competing to go to Eurovision! But you're right, something wasn't quite right--still, I hope that means we get a new album from her! More "Hush Hush" and "I Don't Play Guitar" would be amazing.

I know! I'd see him! ...and, um, you'd see him. Surely that's enough people to justify a concert? I've never got all the tracks for Rovanemi (I keep meaning to), but if you ever want, since it's so insanely expensive to buy Finnish CDs, I could send you New York at some point.

Keira said...

Hey thanks for the quick education on some finnish tunes. I'm moving to Finland for a year in september, and thought it would be a great place for finding Sweedish and Russian stuff. Never thought about the fact that Finland might have some good pop of its own. I love the Yrita Ymmartaa song! For some reason violins in a pop song is always a great thing.

Poster Girl said...

Finland for a year! Lucky you! That sounds fantastic. And yes, I definitely agree on violins in pop songs--not enough people use them!