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The Awakening – When Someone Turned On Actual Music

The torture was over

I grew up in Vähäkyrö, Finland. It is a small town, mainly rural, but we lived in a suburban area, without the town attached…

I had no cousins, no older siblings, no older kids that could have shown me much about anything. My parents were completely unmusical. Their grades in music, at school, was 5 (out of 10) and ungraded, because the artistic subjects didn’t need to be graded if the grade would have significantly lowered the average score of the student.

The radio was of no help

My parents only ever listened to one channel on the Radio and didn’t like me messing with the channel selection. TV was equally unhelpful. You would browse through the 3 radio channels available and you’d be delighted to hear the Finnish version of Delilah. You simply do not understand the musical depression before you hear it. I’ve put together a little playlist to give you an idea. It’s aptly titled “Hell On Earth“. If you can’t find anything good on that playlist, don’t worry, I’m not surprised. Some of that stuff, to me… Sounds good. And that’s freaking scary.

Not all Finnish music was that bad, but anything that Radio Yle would play at the time… It pretty much was. After I moved out of Finland I found a new appreciation to Finnish rock, but Yle wouldn’t touch that stuff with a six-foot pole at the time.

My friends were into disco and pop

My friends somehow got their hands on some tracks from abroad, Kylie Minogue, A-ha, Herrey’s, Meatloaf even, but they did nothing for me. I understood it was normal not liking the stuff your parents listen to, but I couldn’t really explain why I also didn’t like my friend’s choices of music. Sure, it was a thousand times better than the stuff my parents listened to, but still, I wouldn’t get excited. There would be few highlights here and there, but they were the odd ones out with no consistency. I did own Skid Row’s debut album though. Life wasn’t all doom and gloom.

This gave me the impression that I didn’t really like music. I sang in a choir and took private singing lessons, I often sang for an audience, but despite that, I didn’t think of myself much of a music lover.


In the early 90’s, probably 1990, the cable came to town. SWEET FUCKING JESUS! We had a one-month free trial on it, and I remember begging for dad to keep the cable channels. Luckily, as Euro Sport was also on the menu, I got my wish. Without Euro Sport, I think they would have deemed my lifeline obsolete and canceled the subscription.

Preparing for, what to me seemed inevitable cancellation of the service, I recorded everything that was on for a month. From Clash to Paula Abdul, anything, anything ANYTHING at all to save me from listening to an endless range of Matti and Teppo. (These guys actually have a fucking following. They’re actually professional freaking tour musicians, although it looks like bad karaoke.) I recorded it all as I had no idea what I’d like, I just knew it was going to be on soon enough.

When I had a bit more time once dad paid for the subscription *thank God*, between fighting for turns from the grainy Euro Sport channel and Mtv, I settled for Chesney Hawkes for about a year. Absolute teen pop for naive dumb girls just like me, but compared to what I was used to, this was freaking God with vocal chords and 6 strings. Listen to that track I linked to, the echoy, shallow, class barrel sound and then… Imagine my ears being hit with something quite different.


They came in after I had sworn allegiance and loyalty to Chesney Forever. The soft, classy, sophisticated, deeply feeling, impeccable… The everything that makes that song so amazing, More Than Words soothed everything that was wrong in my world. It was simply beautiful, perfect… And I went and bought the album II Pornograffitti, which I thought was a surprising name for an album containing such a beautiful song.

To my luck, our stereo system, mainly used for torturing me with Matti Esko and Juice Leskinen wasn’t a bad stereo. This wasn’t a custom build or anything, but my mom was an elitist who had no idea. She wanted everything from the top of the range because She Had No Idea what was good and what wasn’t so just in case, she always bought what was the Most Expensive. Luckily for me, at times.

So I put the record on.

What the hell is this?!

I remember the first few moments of shock when I realize the name of the album actually had something to do with the contents of it. I felt SO STUPID having bought into it. Half of me wanted to prove to myself that I hadn’t been wrong buying the album, but by the third track my brain had gotten used to the new sound.

Before, all music had been half-assed bullshit created to make a joke out of something, (quite honestly,) or to create some kind of a beat with lyrics so that the kids born in the 50’s wouldn’t have to die out without some kind of a song to dance to. It was empty, boring, dumb, even, this stuff… It required every cell of my brain to tune in. It filled the vacant spots and kept my attention on it. It was GREAT. To understand it, you had to actually listen. Without the brain power, people would stumble over the notes unable to process them at that fast rate – I would later analyze but at that age… I simply felt the heavens opened. I could breathe. Something finally hit home.



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