On a minor note

Yesterday a friend came over to my place, we invented cocktails, had a laugh and decided to continue the night in town.

We went to a pub. It was a fairly typical fare, one you might find almost anywhere in the world. The bar teeming with intoxicated people, the music loud and the screens showing a sport of some kind.

We sat down by the bar and started chatting. After being there for half an hour, we started paying attention to the music. It was incredibly depressing. Not as in a judgement on the quality of the songs, but literally songs about death, loss etc. All in minor, with no uplifting qualities. The kind of songs you listen to if you’re sad and want to wallow in it.

It struck to me as something typically Finnish. I’ve written about our obsession with melancholic music before, but this was unique in that a bar would deliberately play depressing songs. If I were a business owner, I wouldn’t combine melancholic music with alcohol. To me it would seem like asking for trouble.

Most people didn’t seem to mind though. But after a while, I noticed most women had escaped and the bar was full of men wanting to wallow in their misery.

It was when Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah started to play that we asked the bartenders to change the music. She rolled her eyes at us.

Now if I would own a bar, I’d only play Eurovision songs.

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Finnish rap

That’s right. We have rap music in Finland, sung in Finnish.

In the beginning I thought it was a bit of a joke. When a bunch of white kids from Finland try to be all gangsta it just seems so intrinsically wrong.

Also the tendency to rhyme doesn’t work well in Finnish – it just sounds rather childish.

So having these well-off middle-class kids rapping about their hard life in what sounds like stanza from an alphabet book, it isn’t really a stairway to heaven.

But here are a few snippets of Finnish hip hop that actually work. Do they work for people who don’t speak Finnish? Me knows not, you tell me.