That’s a MiniDisc: 14 Finnish music videos that will make you feel old

Screenshot from Darude's Sandstorm video

Do you know that sinking feeling of realizing that time flies and you’re older than you think? Yeah, we do too, and honeslty, it’s like a fun roller coaster ride. In light of this universal feeling, we’ve collected a bunch of Finnish pop tunes you might remember from the past two decades (!).

If you’ve grown up in Finland as a millennial, you might have associated these tracks with everything slick and international. See, there was a time when convincing Finnish pop in English was a shiny new thing. Chances are you will remember these tunes like yesterday. But once you look closer at their accompanying videos, they will feel as dated as you secretly know you are yourself.

 

   

 

 
 

1. Bomfunk MC’s – Freestyler (1999)

A while back, we did an entire article ripping apart the original Bomfunk MC’s piece, so go and read that. But suffice to say that this, while it dates itself with the MiniDisc and PlayStation product placements, it holds up surprisingly well thanks to its tight pacing. It kinda makes you forget that the visual effects were supposed to look good on CRT TVs. Also, a video editor on the iPad probably has enough power to pull off the same shtick… in HD.

 
 

2. Darude – Sandstorm (1999)

Sandstorm’s video saves itself with a fast paced, reasonably well edited chase scene that pulls off suspension of disbelief. You hardly notice how over the top the no doubt expensive color correction is, because you probably remember this video somehow making sense when you watched it on a clunky 90’s TV. If you’re Finnish, you were probably also secretly amazed by how pleasant and warm Helsinki looks here.

 
 

3. Kwan – Shine (2003)

This band has a lot going for them. First: They’re not HIM, or anything else you’d expect to come out of Finland at the time.

 
 

4. Giant Robot – Helsinki Rock City (1999)

Giant Robot is another example of refreshingly non-Finnish sounding music from an age when Finns regularly got annoyed at the world at large for assuming that Nokia is the Japanese word for Wireless. But the only giant thing this in this video is a joint. It fits in with the low-key suburban scenery, without looking overproduced, like, ahem, the first two videos above.

 
 

5. Kemopetrol – Child is My Name (1999)

Imagine this scenario: you’re making a TV commercial for a perfume with a sensual scent. Problem: you can’t afford to license Massive Attack’s Angel as the obvious timeless trip hop riff to make your local Don Draper smile. Solution: use Kemopetrol’s ’00 masterpiece and let it become the global hit it always deserved to be.

The lyrics may not be as suitably erotic and the overall vibe is colder than Angel. But Child Is My Name song is catchy as shit, to the degree that I remember first hearing it on the radio as a kid while blowing tiny pixelated soldiers to pieces in a game of Command & Conquer.

 

   

 

 
 

6. HIM – Join Me (In Death) (1999)

This is one of the few HIM tunes I like. Why? Well it’s a great pop tune for starters. The lyrics were also upsetting to some people, and that’s all good fun.

Video link for our US readers.

 
 

7. The Crash – Lauren Caught My Eye (2001)

The Crash was always so good and slick. One could easily assume the band was Swedish. Anyway, I think I did and the music video might be partially to blame. The rest of the world must have been confused too, al well The Crash received some degree of attention internationally. We can only assume that those hipster neckbeards who write reviews at Pitchfork would approve. This would perhaps not be the case with Studio Killers, The Crash front man Teemu Brunila’s later project.

 
 

8. Emmi – Crashing Down (2001)

Crashing Down is a perfectly reasonable pop tune of the Pro Tools age. It’s not sufficiently stuck in my head to produce any feeling of guilty pleasure. However, the music video is an unintentionally semi-humorous potpourri of aesthetics leaning on The Matrix, The Cardigans and David Lynch’s favorite shot of headlights on a dark road. Bonus for non-ironic inclusion of a Nokia Communicator smartphone.

 
 

9. Don Johnson Big Band – One MC, One Delay (2003)

I’m not an expert, but I think Finnish hip hop that includes a banjo riff represents globalization at its best.

 
 

10. Stratovarius – Hunting High and Low (2000)

If you want to discuss commercially successful Finnish metal, you can’t leave out Stratovarius’ Hunting High and Low. First, the title makes you expect an A-ha cover. Second, in terms of visuals, the video mirrors the 2000 movie adaptation of American Psycho: A businessman having “an episode”, although in a more benign fashion.

The twist is one of chronology: Hunting High and Low debuted as a single a couple of months before American Psycho appeared in Finnish movie theaters in June 2000. So, when was this video shot and released? My mind is blown. Please let me know how much this analysis sucks in the comments.

 
 

11. Beats and Styles – Invitation To The Dance Floor (2005)

Things are in excellent order when you don’t know if it’s Groove Armada or The Doobie Brothers getting ripped off. I also like how this mixes the colors of the Swedish flag with presumably Finnish folk costumes. It’s bound to make some people angry. Nothing better than that.

 

   

 

 
 

12. Mighty44 – Push It (2003)

Ok so, take the video for Darude’s Sandstorm, add a Humvee in the same saturated orange color as the Helsinki Metro in the video for Freestyler. Throw in five big spoons each of upskirt shots, a helicopter and car chases. Bake with cheesy video processing. You get this. Bonus points for the impression that this video may have been shot with cheap, consumer-grade level DV-gear despite the fancy cars. Or is it Youtube’s encoding playing tricks here?

 
 

13. London MC – What Is My Name (2005)

Here’s everything Mighty44 doesn’t have in the video above: Honest, unpretentious amateurish kitsch that manages to be funny. Bonus points for getting the intro sequence’s dialogue soundtrack stuck in only the right stereo channel.

 
 

14. Lordi – Would you love a monsterman (2006 US version)

It would be unfair to leave out Lordi from a list of Finnish visual music marketing. Most known for their victory at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, the spectacle of a band puts Alice Cooper and Kiss to shame in the makeup department. This video is well produced and the song fits well within the group’s shtick.

Throughout Lordi’s catalog of similarly well produced videos, the critical consumer might notice a repetitive note in the vintage American horror movie aesthetics, with not so subtle hints at sexual bondage and mostly female objectification as main motifs.

 
 
There! Surprisingly old Finnish music in English. If you don’t feel ancient yet, post the thing that would date you in the comments below. Shoutout to JaramirJagermeister on Reddit for inspiring this article.

 

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3 replies
  1. MelB
    MelB says:

    Crazy, when you realize, that there’s Helsinki in a Video, you’ve watched 1000 times, years ago… And now, I’m learning Finnish?

    Reply
  2. Ruzgar
    Ruzgar says:

    Folks, check out B-boys Fly girls video! All the high tech there (audi tt, sony camcorder, mini disc player, make up of the ladies, and nokia 83828191 (whatver it was…) everything is ridiculously old now 😀 feels like ancient rome 😀

    Reply

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