Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Hits

Summer is a very important time of the year in Finland. The sun is shining, at least now and then, and people have their holidays. Because of the relaxation and fun times, we seem to have special hit songs for the summer. They are very catching, played a lot in the radio and finally you can't get rid of the melody. It just keeps repeating in your head.

Finnish Wikipedia has even an article about summer hits in Finland years 1996 - 2009. The last three years The Voice (local radio station/Tv/net radio) has chosen the official summer hit. This year the competition was in June and the chosen one was Aste: Poikkeus sääntöön which you can listen here. The melody is very catching but I think summer hits are partly surprising. They can't be predicted; some songs just become popular. I like the song but there are others that exceeded it.

Wikipedia has also listed some foreign songs in addition to the Finnish favourite. Year 2007 it was Rihanna's Umbrella and I can agree with that one. Last year does not have any suggestions in the article.

This summer two songs have grown over the others as summer songs, at least for me. The curious thing is that even though these songs are very different, they have one thing in common. Both performances make fun of their own nationalities.

As for the foreign summer hit I declare a Swedish song Promoe: Svennebanan. The video has been shooted on a boat between Sweden and Finland. One of the tags in YouTube is Finlandsfärja, we call them Sweden's boats. The video and the song are making fun of Swedes drinking on the boat. The same film could be done about Finns also. People sometimes go to those boats just to party and get drunk. I don't even try to translate the words. It is like the usual rap lyrics. No full sentences, words cover all the activities you do on the boat.

My Finnish summer song is very different. The melody is actually very sad and it is a parody about the neighbours of a man who comes out of the closet and comes back from holiday with a lover, another man. To my surprise this song has got very controversial opinions. When I tried to find the lyrics to this song, I stumbled into many forum discussions about this. Some people thought it was against gay people, the others didn't and some people were just singing the song without realizing it has a message.

It certainly is not against gay people. It is making fun of the neighbours who obviously have never seen gay people and have all the possible prejudices against them. I know these people exist and I am not even sure if I should laugh or cry. The melody suggests the latter.

One of the things people were angry about was that the man is named as Timo Hokkanen. There are 88 people named Timo Hokkanen in Finland and the idea is not pointing at anyone of them. It just shows that the hero in the song is just an average guy and that makes the situation even more intolerable to the neighbours.

My Finnish summer hit: Vesterinen Yhtyeineen - Mitä Tapahtui Hokkasen Timolle?

The words to the song translated by me without trying to fit them into the melody:

What happened to Timo Hokkanen?

Did you heard, neighbours Timo came back from holiday
with a Lover from Berlin

Exactly what happened to Timo Hokkanen?
Gave in to the lust of life
This can't happen among us
Not here, but elsewhere

No one of us is allowed to smile at them
They will not stand up very long, in the middle of us
Here in the middle of Us.


After all, it is always easier
When the same language is spoken
Do not need anyone to watch
What will happen on Saturday evening, in the men's sauna

This can't happen among us

What happened to Timo Hokkanen?
Gave in to the lust of life
This can't happen among us
Not here, but elsewhere.

Not here, but elsewhere.

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