Review: “UMK 2023” (Finland)

Finland will choose an artist and a song for Eurovision 2023 via “UMK 2023”, which will be held on Saturday the 25th of February 2023.
7 artists will compete in the national selection.
The results will be determined by a combination of a 75% public vote and 25% international jury.

In this article, I will give my personal review of the songs.

#1. Robin Packalen – Girls Like You

  • It is a mid-tempo disco-pop song.
  • The song starts with a guitar playing and soft dance beat.
  • Robin opens the first verse with a mid-tone voice. The melody is quite simple and still relies on guitar stringing.
  • The pre-chorus is faster and the melody is more upbeat. However, his voice doesn’t sound the best here.
  • The chorus is more catchy. The production is more disco-danceable, and the melody combines more string elements. The second half of the chorus was less upbeat.
  • The second verse is faster, and this time it is bass guitar combined in the melody . This verse is shorter and immediately after we get the pre-chorus.
  • The second chorus, like the first one, is more melodical. Robin sings it effortlessly with some minimal manners. This time, we also have an outro which comes as a part that’s mainly instrumental. The last part of the song is in another chorus.
  • I must confess, the song disappointed me. Especially, due to the fact the song comes from Robin who created many successful hits in recent years.
  • Vocal wise, it is flat and effortless. The production leads it to a very predictable place.

#2. KUUMAA – Ylivoimainen (Eng: Overpowered / Above Everybody Else)

  • It is a pop rock song with influences from the 1980’s music.
  • The song starts with humming the first part of the chorus with string elements.
  • The first verse is based on a mid-tempo drum beat, the lead singer sings with high self-confidence. His voice has a descent of huskiness, but it is still not deep and low.
  • The pre-chorus is faster and more melodical as it relies on more instruments and backing vocals.
  • The chorus is catchy. It relies on keyboards playing and a dance pop beat that grows as the chorus continues. In this part, the song becomes a kind of “hymn”. The lead singer performs this part in a higher tone of voice. The chorus ends with backing vocals and the lead singer singing together.
  • The second verse is faster. The keyboard based beat is still strong and sets the tone. We get a different kind of signing from the lead singer, I would say a more mysterious one.
  • Thereafter, we get another pre-chorus and chorus. The chorus is catchy and melodical. We can hear backing vocals as well.
  • The outro of the chorus is more upbeat and has some electronic elements. The volume of the backing vocals increase and it elevates the song
  • Even though it is performed in Finnish, the song is easy to sing along to and it is catchy. For me, it looks like a good sign and says the song has virality potential.
  • A different song and therefore one that stands out to me. I like it a lot!

#3. Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha

  • It is a techno-rap song.
  • The song starts with a fast drum beat, that’s joined by techno beat.
  • Käärijä sings the first verse with a low and smokey tone of voice. The first verse is performed in a shape of dialogue between the singing and the melody. As between the singing parts, we can hear the trumpet like beat.
  • The melody is faster and kicking more aggressively, both on the melody side and both on the vocal side. The melody is based on heavy drums and an electric guitar.
  • The second verse is based on the same sound as the first one, but this time we can hear the electric guitar as part of the melody as well.
  • The chorus starts with drums, bass and electric guitar. The beat changes along this part, but it is still bold.
  • As the last third part of the song starts, Käärijä moves from rapping/speaking to something that sounds more like singing.
  • This part is more melodical and based on a calmer electric guitar and drums beat. The electronic beat is replaced with some effects over his singing.
  • The bridge focuses on metal-like voice effect, which sounds a little bit robotic.
  • The last chorus opens with a short solo of electric guitar. The melody is uniform and easier to listen to.
  • Towards the end, he shouts the “cha cha cha cha” again.
  • On one hand, the song is different and unique, there’s no chance any country will send an entry that sounds like this. I’m sure it will be a song that will appeal to some listeners.
  • On the other hand, it is a song that’s hard to swallow. Something in the interpretation sounds too aggressive, and at certain point it made me lose the momentum.
  • I do think that the last part of the song is much more accessible.

#4.Keira – No Business On The Dancefloor 

  • It is a mid-tempo dance pop song.
  • The song starts with a pre-recorded backing vocals singing the chorus with some echo effects.
  • The first verse is based on a guitar beat with a light drum element. Keira sings with some manners and influences of soul/R&B music.
  • The first verse is short, and very fast we get the pre-chorus. The pre-chorus is less rhythmic, but the guitar playing can be heard the melody. This time we have percussion elements in the melody, with light Latin/Caribbean influences.
  • The chorus is catchy. The melody is based on guitar beat, but the main element is oriental flute playing. From time to time, we can hear some backing vocals.
  • The second chorus starts with bass stringing. Her singing is a little bit more sassy in this part.
  • The second chorus comes right after, the tempo is higher and the melody breaks again into the instrumental flute playing.
  • The melody becomes more ethnic later on. She sings with some effects over her singing, while we can hear the backing vocalists.
  • The third chorus has the same shape, but this time the outro is more impressive. Vocal wise, she gives more between the different parts.
  • Overall, it ticks all the boxes of songs of this genre: catchy, memorable, the singing combines well in the melody. However, some parts of the lyrics are kind of questionable. What does “Harry Potter” have to do with this song? What’s the main topic of the song?
  • It can be a safe choice for Finland, but at the same time not the most effective one.

#5. Benjamin Peltonen – Hoida mut 

  • It is a dance-club pop song with wide influences of the 1980’s music.
  • The song opens with fast keyboards playing and drum beats. This instrumental part captivates you from the very beginning.
  • The first verse is performed in a mid-high tone of voice with fast singing. The dance beat can be heard i the background, as the melody is based on keyboard playing.
  • The pre-chorus is darker, and the beat is gone. He lengthens some of the syllables. At this point, the production starts to be more electronic.
  • The chorus is catchy and performed in Finnish and English. The dance beat has a higher tempo, and the melody is catchy. Some words are sung with a higher pitch.
  • The second chorus comes after, and the singing is faster. In some parts, it is even more of speaking. We can hear some backing vocals as well.
  • The pre-chorus opens a whistle/alert sounds.
  • The second chorus has the same structure, and he showcases his vocals.
  • The production is more electronic and ornate. At a specific point, his voice and the melody are sampled into a lot of effects, and we even can hear some string elements.
  • The bridge opens with a very thin, simple and effective melody, where the focus is on his singing and it definitely pours some excitement.
  • The last chorus relies on more effects and a greater presence of the keyboard playing and echo effect.
  • Overall, a very effective song. The Finnish language is an advantage. The song wasn’t boring even for a second. There’s always something happening, and the melody isn’t flat even though it is repetitive.
  • This is how you make a sassy song, of an A class. Well done!

#6. Lxandra – Something To Lose

  • It is an indie ballad with soft electronic production
  • The song begins with instrumental piano section.
  • The first verse relies on the mentioned piano playing, alongside classic string instruments (cello). Lxandra sings with her soft and stable voice. She sings in a mid-high tone of voice.
  • The emotions are reflected through her singing. When she admits “I can’t move”, I actually believe it.
  • As the first verse comes to an end, the string elements become more dominant.
  • The chorus relies on a different tempo. The melody is still based on piano and string instruments. However, the production steps into another direction, with light electronic influences. She lengthens some syllables.
  • The second verse is a direct continuation of the chorus. The electronic production, based on a percussion beat gets stronger. This time, the melody is also based on guitar stringing. She sings emotionally.
  • This is one of the songs with the best production I’ve heard in the last year, and especially in national selections.
  • The chorus is richer. First of all, we get singing in higher volume from her, with the support of backing vocals. The electronic beat, mixed with percussion elements and piano playing, takes over the melody.
  • The bridge comes after this chorus. It starts with another electronic loop of string and electric keyboards. The production is airier, and something about the melody is lighter and hopeful. This goes hand by hand with the optimistic light that can be seen in the lyrics.
  • The power of the song is its fragility. You don’t have to shout or use massive drum playing, in order to be present, raise your voice and make yourself “protest”.
  • The lyrics are meaningful. The spokesperson tell us about her not finding her place in the word. She has even thought about leaving this world. However, she realized how important she is to other people in the world, and this where she takes her power from.
  • On one side it is a ballad, but the production and the electronic elements are complex (in a good way). The development in the melody is almost endless, and maybe that’s what we should call art.

#7. Portion Boys – Samaa taivasta katsotaan

  • It is an entertaining schlager song, with some influences of 1980’s rock music.
  • The song start with choir singing and later on we get an instrumental part composed of electric guitar and drums.
  • The first verse is performed with a smokey voice. Around half of this part, is performed in speaking/rap. The melody is based on electric guitar drum beat and electric keyboards. The rate is quite high.
  • The chorus opens with higher tempo. The choir singing of the backing vocals gives it a vibe of stadium-hymn. The singing is faster. and the emphasis is definitely not on the vocal qualify.
  • The second verse is performed in singing-speaking. The melody is quite repetitive, where from time to time, we can hear electric guitar playing.
  • The chorus arrives again, with the same structure. This time it is finalized with a solo of electric guitar and “na na na” singing.
  • The last part of the song starts with a modulation, and therefore the lead singer sings with a higher tone of voice.
  • The lyrics are quite random, with mentioning some places and countries over the world: Greece, Spain, Romania, Hungary and etc.
  • The general vibe is of a “joke entry”. It showcases in their costumes, lyrics and even some parts of the melody. I guess that some people will find a magic in their lack awareness. I’m not one of these poeple.

My Personal Ranking

Before, I will give my full ranking, I would like to say that the first 3 places are much better for me. With the win if each one of them, I will be happy.

  1. Lxandra – Something To Lose
  2. KUUMAA – Ylivoimainen
  3. Benjamin Peltonen – Hoida mut 
  4. Keira – No Business On The Dancefloor 
  5. Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha
  6. Robin Packalen – Girls Like You
  7. Portion Boys – Samaa taivasta katsotaan

My Prediction

It seems like the Finnish people will crown Käärijä or KUUMAA. However, we still gave to see the remaining 25% of the vote to be determined by the international jury.

Finland will compete in the second half of semi-final 1 at Eurovision 2023.
Don’t forget to visit our full guide to Eurovision 2023: Our Eurovision 2023 homepage

Doron Lahav is 30-year-old, who lives in Israel. Doron has been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and shows interest in singing and writing.

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