“Aina Mun Pitaa”, by Finnish band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN), is the first punk song to be performed at Eurovision – and that’s causing some tension in the Eurovision fan community. This gnarly punk track has entered the bright shiny world of ESC fans and the results haven’t been pretty. But is the song really all that terrible? Or is it just a good punk track? Let’s delve into some musical history.

Punk vs Eurovision

Punk has been around for 40 years, but it has largely kept away from Eurovison. There have been rock songs, angry songs, metal songs, political songs, punk-pop songs, but never a straight-up punk song. Until now.

The genre of punk rock developed in the mid 1970s, with groups like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols leading the charge on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s said that punk was a reaction to the increasingly bland pop that was filling the charts – some of which could also be found at Eurovision. Punk shook things up and changed the sound of popular music.

But its revolutionary influence never directly reached Eurovision. In 1977, when the Sex Pistols unleashed the angry “God Save the Queen” during the silver jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s Eurovision entry was the quirky but inoffensive duet “Rock Bottom” by Lynsey De Paul and Mike Moran. And punk stayed well away from the ESC for the next four decades.

“It’s meant to be like that”

There has been criticism about the way “Aina Mun Pitaa” sounds: it’s shouty, it’s not melodic, the singer can’t sing, it’s too short. The response is this: it’s meant to be like that. That’s what punk is and that’s what the people of Finland voted for. Complaining that “Aina Mun Pitaa” is short and shouty is like complaining that “Rise Like a Phoenix” doesn’t have a banjo solo in the middle.

Punk is the genre of music that ripped up the rule book of what “real” music had to be. Can’t sing? Can’t play an instrument? Doesn’t matter. Grab a guitar, figure out three chords and you’re good to go. Something bothering you in life? Shout about it and those are the lyrics. It’s brutal, it’s raw. It’s not supposed to be pleasant and melodious.

While the EBU puts the maximum song length at three minutes, there’s no minimum. The record for the shortest song is currently held by the UK’s 1957 entry, “All” by Patricia Bredin which clocked in at 1:52. “Aina mun pitaa” beats that by 27 seconds. And hey, if you can say what you need to say in 85 seconds, why make the song any longer?

http://youtu.be/XaWzmcdpvBs

Punk comes to Eurovision

Live at the grand final of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2015
Live at the grand final of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2015

While rock bands have long been part of Eurovision, the closest there’s been to a punk entry is Andorra’s Anonymous, whose punk-pop song “Salvem el món” gave the microstate its best ever score in 2007.

But then along comes this group of middle-aged men with learning disabilities, who go right back to basics with raw punk that’s packed with attitude and energy. The fact that they’re getting push-back from some ESC fans is a sign that they’re doing something right. Suburban parents of the 1970s, Eurovision fans of the ’10s – punk isn’t punk if someone isn’t bothered by it.

So, 40 years after the advent of punk, it has finally made its way to the Eurovision Song Contest. If you’re not used to the style of this music, it can be a challenging genre to embrace. And if it’s really not your thing, there are plenty of ballad-warbling ladies in lovely gowns to choose from.

But in few weeks’ time, those crusty punks Kari, Pertti, Sami and Toni will be on stage in Vienna performing an in-your-face song about the annoyances in their lives. Whether you’re hiding under a throw cushion or rocking out along with PKN, one thing’s for sure – the Finnish foursome will be having a blast.

26 Comments
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Kaz
Kaz
5 years ago

The only thing more cringeworthy than people moaning about punk are snobbish, pretentious hipsters sneering at the fact this is “mainstream” punk instead of some obscure 46 second song only released in Los Angeles during 1976.

Certain comments on this page prove it.

cx
cx
5 years ago

There’s two types of people, those who hate this song, and those who are just pretentious.

NoYesNoMaybe?
NoYesNoMaybe?
5 years ago

[email protected] jr esc nl
I am in if you need a new band member. Now, who will start writing the song?

Donna
Donna
5 years ago

This has got to be the best article explaining Punk in the Eurovision, ever! I mean come on, the Eurovision used to be all ballads and at some point, someone didn’t like pop acts in the contest but eventually warmed up to it. Same goes to the “joke entries”. I believe there’s really nothing wrong with a Punk entry in the Eurovision because the EBU allows for any genre in the contest as long as the song follows their rules and I think PKN did that well. I wish the best for PKN in the Eurovision because they really kicked… Read more »

Frozen Green sunray junior
Frozen Green sunray junior
5 years ago

Bravo! The best article i have read here…ever!

And i simply love the song! Esc really needs more punk rock

Some good comments here. Like the one from Oostenrijk for instance

Good Luck Finland – a great coragous entry and band. I think they will qualify

blondboybc
blondboybc
5 years ago

There’s a reason PKN is last or nearly last on most everyone’s ESC top 40. Sorry, but it’s just awful. Period.

Daw
Daw
5 years ago

There are good punk songs but this is really really bad

Daniel_2015
Daniel_2015
5 years ago

I don’t see any great divide, and it is certainly not about punk! An overwhelming majority hates the Finnish entry, and it’s only because it’s a crap song (if you can call it a song…)

mawnck
mawnck
5 years ago

>All I can say is that if you compare the Finnish entry to other punk songs by bands like Ramones, Patti Smith, Sum 41, Green Day, All American Rejects or the French band Bérurier Noir, …

Then you’ve clearly missed the point. That’s the polished, corporate, major label version of punk.

Green Day? Seriously?

Thank you Wiwibloggs and Robyn for telling it like it is. Thank you haters for confirming it.

Green Day. Snrk. How about Culture Club? Now THAT was a kick-ass punk band …

Huh
Huh
5 years ago

I only like how the band members smile. Nothing else.

Igor
Igor
5 years ago

what is it with you guys at wiwibloggs and this entry. It’s great that you love it but for the 90% of us this is just crap not even worth mentioning. I’d rather read about San Marino 3 days in a row than this total nonsence .

Oostenrijk
Oostenrijk
5 years ago

Our Goddess of Respect, Love and Tolerance, Conchita, preached that everything is allowed in Eurovision, when critics criticized for her uncommercial, non-instantly catchy choice of song last year. Yet she won.

So will PKN, they will rock the scoreboard and teach all critics and OGAE “experts” a lesson.

jr esc nl
jr esc nl
5 years ago

[email protected], omg best idea ever! and if people are annoyed of us it means we are doing the punk thing right!!

Thiefo
5 years ago

“It’s not supposed to be pleasant and melodious” – exactly, and in that category Aina Mun Pitaa is a true masterpiece. Art is personal, the discussion of what is art and what should be considered art as been going on since forever and will continue to be, but at least I know something: art should cause a reaction on the receiver, ANY reaction, that includes negative ones. Many people think art is art only if it’s pretty, if it’s armonic, looks good and makes you feel good… but that’s not true, sometimes the intention of the artist is exactly the… Read more »

Fatima
Fatima
5 years ago

I like what I like regardless of genre labels. I wish we didn’t have them.

Deniz@TurkNL
5 years ago

jr esc nl

Bahahah let’s do that together.
The Netherlands douze points!

Diane
Diane
5 years ago

Finally wiwibloggs!!!! Yeah, this may not be everyone’s taste and punk is not even a genre. It’s an attitude. Their song is a kind of resistence, which is what punk should be. I admit that I won’t put this song in my iPod, but this is what music should be. They are there to express, not to impress.

ESCaddict
ESCaddict
5 years ago

Robyn, you are so, so right. Aina Mun Pitaa is supposed to be like that. It is fast, it is angry and if you don’t like it, too bad. I roll my eyes every time I hear “I like punk music but…..”. This song is pure punk. It is so good to see PKN getting up the nose of so many people including those who say they like punk. In Aina Mun Pitaa, PKN complains that there is an expectation that they do things in a certain way. Well they give you the finger & say “f**k you!” They are… Read more »

LAWL
LAWL
5 years ago

PUNK MUST BE FORBIDDEN

Mikko Suhonen
5 years ago

It is funny to see how angry people can get over a Eurovision entry. Some people like, some don’t, there’s nothing new in it. “Bad” songs have done well in Eurovision, some of them have even won the contest. Every year “good” songs have been treated badly in the results, and God knows how many potential winners and international hits have crashed and burned in the local selections because some “bad” song got chosen for the international final. So what’s the fuss?

Mikko Suhonen
5 years ago

Great article.

Timselvision
Timselvision
5 years ago

The only thing I hate about this song is that it might even qualify from a very strong semi and that while that would only be because they’re handicapted. Sounds rude, but it’s nevertheless true. I would much rather prefer the Swiss & Slovak rock songs from 2012, those were in my top 15.

Racal
Racal
5 years ago

I’m not gonna pretend I’m an expert in punk music, cause I’m not and it’s true that it’s not the musical genre I tend to listen to. All I can say is that if you compare the Finnish entry to other punk songs by bands like Ramones, Patti Smith, Sum 41, Green Day, All American Rejects or the French band Bérurier Noir, you can clearly notice a massive difference in quality compared to the poor entry that PKN is offering. So to me, the argument “You don’t like PKN because it’s punk music, and you don’t like punk music anyway”… Read more »

D
D
5 years ago

It’s not that Eurovision fans hate punk music. It’s that Eurovision fans just don’t like this song. I like punk music, doesn’t mean I have to like every punk song ever released.

Dar
Dar
5 years ago

punk music isn’t the problem .. this song is the problem .. its just crap … just noise , horrible disgusting noise ..
i hate the pure crap with a passion

jr esc nl
jr esc nl
5 years ago

So altough i totally can’t sing there is still hope for me to enter esc one day with a punk song… Good to know