It’s another quality Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu in Finland after last year’s superlative edition that saw Blind Channel win with Dark Side. Just like in 2021, UMK 2022 is a single night affair of 7 songs, all excellent in their own ways, with an exciting competition expected. In ranking them, it’s been quite difficult, especially given the varied styles and artists. Five of them are in the beautiful Finnish language, which adds further to the complexity.
7 Isaac Sene – Kuuma jäbä
I’ll only say this once than repeat it for every song ranked lower: there is nothing wrong with this entry. In fact, it’s great! Isaac brings a charismatic dance song with excellent production, and it’s enhanced furthered by remaining in Finnish. It’s just that others are better.
6 Tommi Läntinen – Elämä kantaa mua
Veteran Tommi Läntinen (a classic Finnish name), doesn’t miss with this high energy, pop song about doing something like Harley and Davidson. Hopefully it’s simply riding motorcycles.
5 Olivera – Thank God I’m An Atheist
While the subject matter could be problematic for some, and some of the specific lyrics are quite difficult if you’ve lost someone recently, there’s no denying this has a spellbinding charm. It’s a “journey” song that’s more a story than a basic song, and has all those hallmarks of a slow build up into a dramatic bridge, before releasing you with a soft finale.
4 The Rasmus – Jezebel
Around for over 25 years, The Rasmus are hugely popular in Finland and are clearly the highest profile act in UMK 2022. There’s nothing wrong with this rocking, infectious rock song, except to say, perhaps, I wouldn’t mind a bit more to the chorus. Overall it follows a reasonably standard formula, and I’m looking for something more unique in my top three.
3 Younghearted – Sun numero
From a trio of high school friends, this is the most captivating song for me. It’s similar to Olivera’s song in style, except it has much more mystique, which is no doubt helped further by remaining in Finnish. Often all you need is the music and vocal expression to tell the story, and that’s exactly the case here. Lyrics can be distraction.
2 Cyan Kicks – Hurricane
The second of the rock songs, Cyan Kicks kicks ass with its whirlwind of energy and power. Once it lifts off it doesn’t want to shut up. The variation of a female vocalist and a more electronic feel is why I’ve placed it ahead of The Rasmus.
1 Bess – Ram Pam Pam
Rapid pop, as I should start calling this style, Ram Pam Pam is bam bam bam unrelenting in its power and intensity. Bess has a lovely rock strain to her voice that gives the whole song a rock feel. It’s almost a melding of the genres. Finns struggle to send songs in their own language (only need recall Erika Vikman in 2020), so that it being in Finnish, while boosting the song for me, could ultimately work against it.
1 The Rasmus – Jezebel
2 Isaac Sene – Kuuma jäbä
3 Olivera – Thank God I’m An Atheist
4 Bess – Ram pam pam
5 Younghearted – Sun Numero
6 Cyan Kicks – Hurricane
7 Tommi Läntinen – Elämä kantaa mua
Online polls and the betting markets have concluded that The Rasmus, Bess and Cyan Kicks are the strongest chances, and that’s how I see it, with Bess or Cyan Kicks my preferred option to win. These are three most powerful and appealing songs, and will have broad appeal. Softer, more artistic songs typically struggle without some really special quality in them. While I’d like to see Younghearted do well, Olivera is more likely to excel out of those two. UMK 2022 will be decided by 75% from the public and 25% from an international jury, and that will no doubt play into the hands of The Rasmus taking the crown.
UMK 2022 will be held on 26 February 2022, from 8pm CET.