Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Music on My Mind

I try to avoid bunching up Music on My Mind posts, but this one has also been very much on my mind.

Jenni Vartiainen, "Minä sinua vaan". I like Vartiainen -- I mean, for additional reasons other than the fact that she is a Finnish-speaking brunette with blue eyes who can sing, and thus by that alone at least eighty percent of the way to Approximately Perfect Woman -- but it's always hit-or-miss whether I like any particular song. This one is very definitely hit.

The song itself is quite clever, since it is set up like a riddle: the most important word is the one that is never said. The main sentences are missing their verb, and the title means literally something like "I Just You": minä is the nominative case first person pronoun, sinua is the partitive case second person pronoun (partitive case is, among other things, used for the object of verbs expressing emotions or states of mind, which is what is in view here), and vaan is a conjunction usually translated as 'but' but here probably better translated as 'only' or 'just', as in 'none but'.

In the first stanza the riddle is set up: it says, paraphrasing a bit to avoid getting mired down beyond my limited Finnish, that people keep repeating it like a mantra, but what if that weakens its force -- she wouldn't want to wear the word out, not by speaking it or even writing it down. And then we get the chorus:

Like a she-bear her cubs and the Creator his creatures,
so I just you;
if we had no more bread, or water too, one thing would remain even then:
I just you.

From which the word she will not say should be obvious enough.

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