I’ve noticed lately a bunch of people checking out the blog are from Finland. I have no idea why. I can’t even tell you much about Finland other than they’ve been taking shit from Russia and Germany for hundreds of years and they are not, in fact Sweden. I think my dad once hooked up with a girl from Finland during his first midlife crisis, but that’s about the closest connection I have.
Still, thanks! And now, I have something to give you back. My snarky commentary on a Finnish video I’m a big fan of, and mistakenly thought for a long while, was from Sweden. I apologize for that. But come on, how the hell is a dumb-ass American like myself supposed to tell the difference? It’s probably akin to the way a lot of Canadians are mistaken for Americans when they travel abroad. Does it piss you guys off being mistaken for Swedes? I bet it does.
Anyway, Tahdon olla sulle hellä, or “I wanna Love you Tender” is a hella good time. And it’s about all the cultural relativism a guy like myself has on Finland. That’s pretty unfair I realize, not to mention the video is from 1978. Still, I think this video’s main mistake was trying to sell to an American audience. There’s definitely some attempt to capture some Saturday Night Fever, combined with all logic-defying dancing with people clad in what look like parochial school cheerleading outfits. Let’s walk through the dance moves first.
The choreography starts with an uncomfortable close-up of the dancers from the right of the stage, desperately trying to remember just how many first pumps and Tourettes-like karate sky-chops come before the umpire safe-sign move, then the Saturday Night Fever thrusting hip gyrations. It’s already enough to give a normal human being permanent injuries, and we’re only about 10 seconds in.
Next we have a move called the Ron Artest Dunk Celebration Elbow, and the ever famous Slosh to the right, then left. Now look, for all I know, these were the hottest dance moves of the day in Finland, or in Akron, circa 1978. But I’m calling them like I see them.
Then we have some point to the sky then the ground moves, then the old slosh the hell out of the way and make way for the blonde space man. Oh yea, I forgot to mention, this all takes place in…. SPACE! WHY SPACE FINNISH SONG AND DANCE MAN???
Then our Finnish David Cassidy has a few words for the ladies, and at the end of the first verse he sure looks like he forgot what the hell to sing and is just guessing. In fact, at the 0:55 mark, he seems to be lip synching a line that isn’t there. That or he’s just mouthing the word “hot,” because… whew… let’s face it, it’s getting pretty hot in here.
Next we have the very, very lovely (although not as lovely as Danny) Armi Aavikko. Armi has a much better grasp on the lyrics, and muses “How can I be sure you’re not pretender?” Armi doesn’t have time for linking verbs. But you know what, these people are singing in pretty damn good English. Let’s see the Bee Gees sing Stayin Alive in Finnish.
Anyway, poor Armi pours her heart out to Danny and the jerk won’t even look at her. Next they do some kind of vibrating dance in place thing, then the dancers come marching back into the shot from either side, doing something that combines a conga line with yanking a car’s hood open lever.
The conga line finally converges and marches between our star-crossed lovers, getting us all a good close-up of each member of Dance Team Bravo. Then we get something that looks like it might have inspired Toni Basil, but isn’t all that exciting.
That is until the 1:49 mark when our Finnish Travolta analog raises the temperature another 20 degrees with some hip moves that have since been outlawed by the UN. Ahhhhh yea boiiii… If there were Swedes anywhere nearby, I’m pretty sure at this point they had just. been. served.
Then… stillness for a sec, followed by a one-legged Brian Setzer air guitar backwards hop thing. Forget about being able to actually pull off these dance moves with style, there’s no way I could have even remembered them all, or had my brain convince my body these movements made any sense at all in my dimension of spacetime.
Keep in mind we’re only one verse and chorus in to this video, and I already feel like I’m tripping balls. I don’t think someone actually on acid should ever be allowed to watch this video. It would just explain too much. And no one should bear the burden of that kind of knowledge.
By the 2:00 minute mark, I’m pretty sure the choreographer is just fucking with us, trying to see how much we’ll watch and still attempt to take seriously. Two girls strut in from the right side doing what looks like trying to make shadow puppets, someone follows them from the other side with what looks like a sheet of tin foil being pantomimed like it’s a boom-box, more shadow puppets, then a couple walks across the screen just flat-out dry humping for our amusement, the girl waving happily, ostensibly to her mom and dad.
I could try to describe the rest from here but I’d probably give myself an aneurism. It’s just a mess of 70s madness and Finnish sexual space-disco indulgence. I’m pretty sure this is what passes for porn in most Arab countries, and keep in mind, alien civilizations would have received this signal long before Star Trek the Next Generation or the Discovery Channel.
I don’t want to give away the big ending either, but it will probably look very familiar to something else from 1978.
So without further jäähyväiset, I bring you: I Wanna Love you Tender, by “Danny”