03 March 2015

Review: Finland: Eurovision 2015 | Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät

Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät to represent Finland

Finland's national Eurovision final came to its climax last weekend and it was with a foregone inevitability that the punk band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät was declared the victor and will progress to the semi-finals in Vienna.

A lot has already been said and written about PKN - the fact that the members suffer with developmental disabilities; that they will perform the first punk song in Eurovision; at 1:30, it's possibly the shortest entry at the Contest - but in the realms of a SONG contest, judgement should always be made about just that: the song.

Unfortunately, I feel that's not how it's going to be. As we've witnessed already, the focus will be the band's disabilities. In and of itself, that's not a bad thing - promoting equality and inclusiveness in all things is always a plus - but blatantly voting for an average song because of its performer(s) is reprehensible. Conchita Wurst, Russia's Buranovskiye Babushki (the grannies) and Dana International are obvious examples.

The difference with those three acts was their "accessibility". Punk rock in Finnish is not going to draw in your average Eurovision viewer and not many of us are going to be humming or singing along to Aina mun pitää (Always I Have to) after its performance. Unfortunately, unlike the Russian grannies, PKN do not have the 'cuteness factor' to help them along either.

The same could be said for the song. In my review of  Latvia's entry, I mentioned that the boundaries of the competition should be pushed further and Finland have certainly accomplished that. Punk rock has always been about rebellion - initially against the mediocre offerings of mid-70s pop - and PKN have achieved their own unique form of defiance and dissent. I applaud their commentary on the drabness of their regime within their daily routine, but that doesn't mean that it translates to a good song.

I'm not a lover of punk rock - never have been. Aina mun pitää hasn't changed my mind and neither have PKN. Personally, if I was able vote for it in the semi-final, I wouldn't. Connoisseurs of the genre may see it otherwise, but on the (lack of) strength of the song, I won't be joining any performer bandwagon.

All of that will be eagerly embraced by the media over the next couple of months. As a result, look for Finland in the Top 3.

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