We suppose the Finns did Nordic Noir long before those cheeky Danes started cutting corpses in half on the Øresund Brigde. Growing up in Norway back when we only had one TV-channel we’ve seen our fair share of bizarre Finnish TV-series where people solved their marriage problems with a chainsaw, had vodka for breakfast and sat their houses on fire on a regular basis. Heck, even Finnish children’s books are enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone. Like when The Groke comes to kill everyone in Moominvally, good thing Moominpappa has a gun!
Perhaps that’s why we didn’t raise an eyebrow when the Finns went ahead and chose Norma John as their Eurovision entry, which must be one of the darkest and most disquieting entries ever to have been introduced into this sequined studded universe of lighthearted family friendly entertainment. There’s something distinctly jarring about Blackbird and maybe it’s just us over interpreting the lyrics, but the promo video doesn’t exactly contribute to making the whole thing less unsettling. Watching Charon ferry the chick that just killed herself over the river Styx while we fetch another beer from the fridge and finish the last slice of pizza simply doesn’t sit so well with us.
But there’s beauty to be found in the grim and grotesque too. Angst, sorrow and weltschmertz often make great art, and it touches us in a more profound way than straightforward and uncomplicated happiness. And although we somehow can’t stand to listen to someone who’s so unhappy she’s telling the birds to stop singing, we won’t ask her to stop. Because it’s hauntingly beautiful, and because we all at some point can relate to that pain and take comfort in the fact that someone puts those feelings into words and adds a melody to it.
On a relatively ordinary Tuesday in May we think this one will strike a cord and resonate well enough across Europe to bring Finland back in the Grand Final.