Lyrical Analysis: Finland

It shouldn’t be a surprise that my favorite of 2014 is Finland. And in saying that, I try to defend the song as often as possible. Most of the criticism heaped at “Something Better” concerns its lyrics. So, in my true style, I’ve tried to analyze and explain the lyrics in my traditionally overblown way. Enjoy and feel free to comment!

 

“‘Even human bound, people rolling dice.

Image on the ground, such a novel life.’ he thought,

While knowing nothing at all.”

So we’re starting out with this guy who thinks he has the world figured out, that taking any risk is a superhuman trait and that everyone’s life path is set out. He has a poor attitude toward everything and has probably had his dreams crushed, either by himself or other people.

 

“‘Every option noted or tendency made,

They will carry on until the perfect date.’ she said,

While knowing nothing at all.”

Know what Topi has said about the song, this is the daughter of the elderly couple (the guy is the brother) talking about her mother. She’s clearly more optimistic and patient and has observed her husband’s negative traits and has tried (and will fail) to convince him to look on the brighter side.

 

“All the rules well-known, they mean nothing to me.

Everything I’m used to seems to be

Fine misshapen made-up fantasy.

Should let go, we should let go.”

Now we’ve transitioned to the elderly man who’s demonstrating a part of his negative attitude here. He’s obviously unsure of what his life’s purpose is and if this is what’s meant for him. His envisioned life appeals to him more but…

 

“But we found something better,

plain answer, however,

for I’ll not surrender.

We found something better.”

…the life that’s played out for him has been better than he imagined. And despite his cynicism, he wouldn’t trade it for anything, because he knows that he has it and has had it good.

 

“‘Vis-à-vis estranged and we too got close.

Trust full of lies, sure how it goes,’ they told,

While knowing nothing at all.”

Back to the kids, who have been under the impression that their parents weren’t as in love as they actually were. It’s evident at this point that the children have inherited their father’s nasty outlook on life, assuming the worst of any situation that hasn’t made itself obviously excellent.

 

“Talking loud’ bout future in our hands,

Exchanging dreams and how they’ll last, no no,

Still knowing nothing at all.”

Now the father’s sort of mocking his ignorant kids, as they make plans about what will happen when their parents “inevitably” split. Their lack of inhibitions make it clear that these siblings are close to one another but not to their parents.

-Chorus-

“All these words, reflected back to me.

All these words I’m buying. Why?

All these words, the life’s grand mystery.

All these words, a sweet white lie.”

Here’s the best part of the song, IMO, the revelation. The kids are reminding the father of himself and he flashes between his past and present selves. Like any actual revelation, it’s quick and bracing, hitting someone without warning. As such, the pounding music syncs up perfectly with this lyrical development.

 

“All these words, she meant to say to me.

All these words against my faith.

All these words, before she passed away.

All these words, will never ever ever change.”

Now we’re talking about different words, from the man’s late wife. The positive attitude that she tried to instil in her husband was, in fact, a futile attempt, but her efforts were not forgotten. It turns out that her passing brought about this realization in her bone-headed husband.

 

-Chorus-

“We found x8”

This is important because it brings the whole story of the song full circle.

 

Basically, the song is a warning from a life-hardened father to his children to let go of their preconceived notions of the world and seek “something better” for themselves. Because that’s not what the father did. He didn’t value his wife when she was there. He didn’t take her advice. He didn’t enjoy life with her, as he was too busy fantatsizing about what could’ve been. He only realized it in her death, when it was too late to get what could’ve been. It’s also, on a more personal level, a revelation about the actual relationship between him and his wife, which wasn’t too bad.

Now on a meta level, here’s why the lyrics make perfect sense (and are the best of the year, IMO). The relationship between parents is complicated in the eyes of children. It’s somewhat confusing and unclear. What else about this song is unclear? Taking that into account, the cryptic lyrics are actually a reflection of what it’s like for parents to explain things to children. And how when you search for what’s underneath, you’ll find “something better.” And after reading this, I hope you were inspired to see “something better” in this song.

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