Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Video of the week – Mere Stellar (Finland) – Naiivi (single)

Mere Stellar is Milja Inkeri Makela (I think) and she’s a new artist but only in the sense that she seems to have reinvented herself since last summer having made music for over 20 years already but sensing it was time to move on to a new persona. Reminds me of Sweden’s Stellar Explorer, I think she trod a similar path.

It’s rare that I make any attempt to review a song in the Finnish language. I can’t get a handle on it at all and it might as well be written in hieroglyphics. But to be fair it trips off the tongue and is very satisfying to the ear, unlike, say Icelandic, which sounds like Martian to me.

One artist that I do review when she’s singing in her native tongue is Stinako (Stina Koistinen) and Mere sounds remarkably like her (and with the same richness in her voice). She also possesses the same ability in her writing to switch between a gentle ballad and full on epic mode and then back again, which takes some doing.

‘Naiivi’ (‘naive’) she says is “a brutally realistic and literal story of betrayal, excuses, and setting boundaries. It’s about the beginning of a relationship where a man thrusts his own betrayal onto his partner. Some call such people narcissists.” Sounds like a bit of gaslighting, too.

She adds that it is a song for people who are realising their personal worth, perhaps through pain and injustices, but notes that the song is short because the relationship didn’t last long either.

So it urges us “to find our inner witch, magician, our power, and to channel the deep energy of pain into creation, making room for something better.”

But there is a downside as that necessitates becoming cynical and hardened; attitudes which facilitate that required setting of boundaries.

As we pass the 750 posts mark in Nordic Music Central I’m reminded that we have featured this sort of self-help generating, spirit reinvigorating but ex-partner assassinating song on several occasions, and quite recently too. But this is probably the most powerful statement I’ve heard.

It starts off so gently, almost like a lullaby, and with an acoustic guitar accompaniment that could have been provided by Steve Hackett on an early Genesis album.

Then halfway through it changes into a bloodbath literally as the lake becomes the Red Sea at the drop of – well, blood – and she rips the lovey dovey photo of her and him apart to an electronic crescendo.

But then calm returns as she acknowledges “I won’t be fooled, ever again”. Even then though the last word is literally “Naive”, as if she realises that her steadfastness may not last forever.

The lyricism is sparse but choice. I was especially drawn to “That woman you **cked in Iceland/Even though you found her ugly” (Iceland is really copping for it today, isn’t it?) Ouch!

She reveals that Mere Stellar emerged out of Milja Inkeri gradually “as a result of dating cynicism” and that Mere Stellar “represents the part that no longer wants to turn bad experiences into poetic tales but rather writes them as they are.”

Again I sense a Fiona Apple moment coming on here and that future releases may well follow a similar pattern of ex-partner abuse. I can’t wait.

I made the song Video of the Week by way at least partly because it could be an advert for the Finnish Tourist Board. The blueness of that lake, and the way it matches her eyes…it’s breathtaking.

(The video was directed and edited by Jukka Salo).

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