Depending on your time zone, Valentine’s Day is either today or tomorrow. And on days such as Valentine’s Day, you tend to do something special for the people you love. In fact, I am jumping on that bandwagon with this week’s post and will write about a tune that has a special place in my heart, ”Fall In Love” by Carmen Gray, a song that is important to me for two reasons.
Firstly, even though I co-wrote Carmen Gray’s entire catalog with my brother Lappe Holopainen, the undisputed leader of the group, I have very fond memories of sitting down with him and writing this one. One thing that makes this particular session stand out for me is that with this tune we did something we didn’t usually do, we worked with Valentine’s Day in mind. Usually, we couldn’t give a toss about which time of the year it was. And I for one haven’t really ever been a holiday-tune person. However, for some strange reason, I saluted Lappe’s suggestion to write something for the special women in our lives. It sounded like the ultimate Valentine’s Day thing to do, so we got to work and had lots of laughs and quite a few cups of bad coffee. I’m sorry Lappe, that coffee maker at the rehearsal pad – I hated it. I always ended up drinking coffee grounds for some odd reason. It didn’t matter though. It was the moment and the company that mattered.
Secondly, this was one of the Carmen Gray songs that received tons of airplay and I remember hearing it on buses, trams and stores as well as in a cab once. I remember this older taxi driver (with a snake tattooed around his neck), unaware that I was one of the writers, saying “Not this song again! Love, love, love… isn’t it great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life!” He completely floored me with that one. I suppose there’s a grain of truth in that comment. Another thing about ”Fall In Love” was that although none of us knew it at the time, this song turned out to be the last single the group would release before folding. I guess every good thing has to come to an end one day.
As I already mentioned, my brother and I wrote this track very much with our special ladies in mind, so it felt awesome that radio stations began playing the song right before Valentine’s Day 2013. At the time, I was concerned we had gone a bit too far with the lyrics, particularly with lines such as ”I’m the center of her ecstasy” and ”she pours all over me” but listening to the track now, I like the words – a completely and utterly biased opinion, of course. Another concern was the fact that things had definitely fallen on the poppy side a bit. However, we were very fortunate to have the amazing voice of Nicklas Nyman at our disposal, which carried this track through incredibly well. Listen to the fullness of that voice. It still sends shivers down my spine – magic set of pipes!
This post is first and foremost a Valentine’s Day card for my lovely wife Elina. I am grateful to have met you. Each day with you and the kids is a gift. Years later, these words still ring true to me; we continue to be “two lovers in this gray new world.”
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my incredibly talented little brother Lappe (what an absolute treat it was to collaborate with you on all these songs) and the other guys in Carmen Gray (Nicklas, Pete, OJ and JJ) for some of the best moments in my life. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Carmen Gray’s manager, the one and only Peter Kokljuschkin, whose faith in the group never wavered.
Here’s one final piece of trivia before I close. I wanted to call the song “Tonight I’m Going To Fall In Love,” but the record company thought it was way too long a name for a single and insisted on the shortened “Fall In Love,” which to this day doesn’t make any sense to me, as by itself “Fall In Love” sounds more like a dictionary entry gone wrong than a song title. Well, life’s about compromises and in retrospect, this entire issue seems meaningless.
Finally, to all of you out there reading this: have a great Valentine’s Day. And remember, Valentine’s Day is about hugs and kisses. Don’t save them. As my grandmother used to say, “No use putting sugar in the bank; it doesn’t earn interest.”
You can learn more about Carmen Gray here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.