Ahead of the final of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) 2017 on January 28, the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — are listening to and reviewing all the competing entries. First up is the only song in Finnish, “Helppo elämä” by Lauri Yrjölä. Are we loving the funky sound or does the song get lost in translation? Here’s what we think.
Lauri Yrjölä with “Helppo elämä”
About Lauri Yrjölä
Lauri Yrjölä is best known for touring with Finnish pop star Isac Elliot. Besides playing guitar in Isac’s live band, Lauri also has his own band Ottilia. Now Lauri is ready to launch his solo career. His song tells the story of someone who is fleeing from responsibility and trying to lead an “easy life”.
“Helppo elämä” reviews
William: The opening channels Måns Zelmerlöw’s “Heroes” and the chorus oozes Justs’ “Heartbeat”. Yet Lauri still manages to take us somewhere fresh and novel. The Nordic production is sexy and sleek, the pop-drop chorus is funky and memorable, and the use of Finnish is somehow enchanting and mysterious. Best of all Lauri has built in hills and valleys, and even introduces animalistic howling at 1:40. From the club to the game reserve, he gets it. This could win — and I wouldn’t mind it at all.
Antranig: After a solid start, this song gives us the cheapest chorus you could hope for. I’ve heard this three thousand times before and Lauri’s entry comes across as highly unoriginal. The song is trying to be very 2017 but it ends up being swallowed in the masses of 2016. As much as I love hearing non-English songs at Eurovision, Finland would do well to stick with one of their English options.
Robyn: Everything works. The production is edgy and modern, combining guitar with electronic sounds. Lauri has so much attitude in his vocals that it doesn’t matter he’s singing in a language most Eurovision viewers wouldn’t understand. The chorus is ridiculously catchy and is what keeps sending me back to the replay button. This is UMK at its best.
Bernardo: It was going all according to plan… and then the chorus came along. Loungy — far from what I expected. I was hoping for an explosion but I got bass-y drumbeat realness. But the Finnish lyrics give this entry a unique opportunity to stand out among the English bangers and Lauri’s voice helps it achieve that purpose. It’s good, just not good enough.
Patrick: It’s so great to have this in the national selection. I don’t know what that guy is singing about but it sounds so damn cool and the language makes this feel so special. This sound is a bit overused lately, but what he does he does well. I don’t think this would do well at Eurovision, but I’m happy Lauri is trying his luck.
Kristin: Oooooh this is smooth. A friend of mine is completely obsessed with this song, and I understand why, ’cause I’m almost there as well. It’s modern and cool, and the Finnish language (which is like THE coolest) gives it an edge and makes it stand out. Lauri himself is charming and cheeky at the same time, and is the perfect icing on this cake. Me like. Me like very much.
Sami: Thanks to Lauri there is at least one song in the Finnish language this year. And what a song it is! I love everything about this, from its lyrics to the production to Lauri himself. His vocals are on point and his voice is very pleasant. The song doesn’t get boring at any point, and you just want to listen it over and over again. This song would be a great representative to celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence.
Forrest: “Helppo elämä” brings a nice mix of contemporary pop and EDM sounds to UMK this year. The electric guitar intro and post-chorus give me some Måns Zelmerlöw “Heroes” vibes and, remarkably, the pop-drop actually seems to provide the song some with some drive rather than stalling a promising pre-chorus. There’s no wow factor here, but this is a song I see myself coming back to on a regular basis after UMK ends.
In the UMK Wiwi Jury, we have 19 jurors but only room for 8 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 9.