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My 25th birthday passed recently so I figured I’d steal the idea from Pitchfork’s excellent article series and go through my life and the music I listened to at the time in five-year intervals. These are the acts and songs that have defined these particular times of my life.



I didn’t really have a musical upbringing. When I was a young child, I mainly listened to children’s songs rather than ‘real music’. My dad’s always had a slight musical side to him but it never leaped over to me and he never made much of a fuss about it; in general, all my family members enjoyed music a fair bit but they did it largely in privacy due to mismatching music tastes and my toddler self didn’t find it all that important anyway.

Katri Helena is a somewhat legendary Finnish schlager/adult contemporary pop singer who’s been topping the charts ever since the 60s. She’s also my mom’s favourite singer. This song was the huge hit single off her early 90s comeback album and my mom owned a cassette of the album that she used to play in the car. She’d always put it on whenever she drove me to my kindergarten and because it was such a short journey and this was track 1 of the album, I’d always end up hearing this song during those journeys. It’s a really massively nostalgic tune for me and probably one of the dearest songs in my life for me simply because of the sheer sentimentality and memories of my early life that it carries. My mom has often said that it’s my and her song and as corny as that is, I do agree.



I started to somewhat get into music in the early 90s – hardly a music nerd but one in the making as I very often had music playing in my room and regularly asked for CDs as presents. My tastes were hardly refined, TV and radio were the only places I found new music from and I mainly just listened to hit songs. I also had a huge soft spot for cheesy eurodance (still do!) and at this stage of my life, E-Type was probably my favourite artist. Former metalhead turned into an eurodance superstar, his third album Last Man Standing featured a couple of colossal hits in 1998, which I fell in love with, and I played the album endlessly after receiving it as a christmas present, singing and dancing along to it in my room and imagining and playing out elaborate music videos to all its songs. It still kinda kicks ass, in a cheesy 90s eurodancey kind of way, though these days I prefer listening to E-Type via the 1999 Greatest Hits which is a brilliant piece of eurodance I can’t recommend enough.



A lot happened musically between 1998 and 2003. There was a period where I listened to barely anything but Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks. There was a period when I had my first ever band obsession (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and learned that discographies, b-sides etc are things worth digging through, turning me into the completionist twit I am today. And then came Manic Street Preachers, my first ever favourite band of my own. While I adored RHCP, it was something I had found through my friends circle and we all loved them together. Manics I bumped into on my own, fell in love with on my own and always felt like they were my thing and no one elses. Exactly what a teenager music nerd needs. I’ve documented the role Manics have played in my life several times on this very website, through tl;dr reviews and even more tl;dr lists, and there’s even the blog where I go through every single one of their songs. I find it quite frankly a scary idea to go through it all again in detail. Suffice to say, they were a huge influence in my life would shape from then on.

2003 was a pretty big year for me in terms of Manics. I had started buying around their singles, I completed my albums collection, saw them live, found online communities I began to follow, etc. I don’t think any other act could even begin to nutshell my musical life at this stage more than Manics. And the song linked below, “4 Ever Delayed”, was one of my most played tracks in 2003 – a criminally underrated rarity.



I moved out of Finland in 2008 and discovered Finnish music afterwards. Go figure.

I never particularly cared for Finnish music for a long period of time – the occasional band made its way into my music shelf now and then but mostly I was too set in my ways and didn’t really appreciate it. It was only after I moved into the UK that I really got into a lot of Finnish music and in particular Finnish-language music, discovering so many new acts to love and developing an even greater appreciation for those I had liked before. I think a part of it was because of homesickness – after moving into a country where no one spoke the language I had grown up with, I found a whole new appreciation for the language and how it could be used in music. Finnish music acted as a little home away from home.

I discovered a lot of music that I really adore right now during the 2008-2010 period, but CMX had a particularly massive impact. To use a nerdy statistic, they shot up in my charts from barely anything to the top 5 in the space of a few months. I can’t really point out why exactly this was either – a logical guess is that it’s probably got something to do with their large discography with very varied albums, so no matter what mood I was in there was something CMXy I felt like listening to. I’ve always had a thing for large discographies and CMX are an act that once again allowed me to endulge in that little love, picking up new albums now and then and constantly having another chapter to discover. Plus, there’s the Finnishness of it all, going beyond the language and the sound. Throughout my life I had heard people namedropping the band, they were always talked about in music discussions and tv shows and they seemed like such a vital part of the Finnish musical soundscape; when I got into them, it felt like I was connecting into some roots I should have been in touch with a long time ago.

 5-10-15-20_25THE MOUNTAIN GOATS

Most people define me as an indie rock fan and I tend to use that as a shorthand myself for describing my tastes, even though I’ve never really felt it was entirely correct. That said, while composing this list and thinking what to put here on this latest entry, I realised just how true that statement is at the moment. My past year has been more or less musically defined by American indie rock. I readily state The National as one of my all-time favourite bands these days, I’ve gotten really into Modest Mouse, Lambchop and The Mountain Goats, I’ve dug a little into Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists and got excited about what I’ve heard and I constantly feel pangs of guilt over not buying more American Music Club albums (they’re stupidly hard to find in record stores here). I’ve gotten so obsessed about all these acts in the recent times that I actually feel like the indie rock nerd people describe me as.

The Mountain Goats have had the most impact for me out of all the discoveries I’ve had during the past year, at least judging by how much time I’ve spent with John Darnielle’s music. I downloaded a fan-made mixtape out of sheer curiosity and boredom and that ended up having far more effect than I expected it to. Ever since I’ve been listening to Darnielle’s stuff on a constant, steady basis – somehow Darnielle’s voice and stylistics seem to fit in any mood and situation I’m in, upbeat or melancholy, energetic or tired. I really can’t get enough of that voice, in all honesty – he’s not someone who makes an instant impression with his vocal cords but it’s such a warm, friendly sound that manages to pull off everything between manic ranting and calm melancholy in a wonderfully personal way. He’s a fantastic songwriter and lyricist as well, and thanks to that one of those artists I get more obsessed the more I listen to them thanks to discovering all the intrinsic little details and tiny tidbits in his work. He’s probably the artist who most defines where I sit musically right now.

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