I remember watching a Canadian TV series called Black Harbor about twenty years ago. It's a show about a couple moving to Nova Scotia from LA with their two children and ultimately getting divorced. In one of the episodes, Nick, the father of the family, says to his kids, upon reminiscing on how he met their mother, that he doesn't know which hurts more falling in love or falling out of love. I was too young at the time to fully appreciate that comment. It was only when I was in the middle of my own divorce that I began understanding what Nick was talking about. When we are falling in love with someone, it hurts to be away from them and when we are falling out of love with someone, it hurts to be with them. So ironically, there’s pain involved in both but obviously, the pain of falling in love is very different from the pain of falling out of love. Watching not just your relationship but your whole life being torn apart in front of you is something I do not wish on anyone. It’s also something one doesn’t really ever fully recover from. You lose half of your extended family and quite a few friends in the process. And in most cases, whether you want to admit it or not, you end up hurting your children. Fortunately for me, I have also experienced the pain and thrill of falling in love since my divorce and it's this sentiment that brings us to our track of the week, "The World Stopped Turning" by the Oho.
The Oho rose out of the ashes of another Finnish pop-rock band Carmen Gray in 2012. The story of Oho is rather simple. Carmen Gray broke up and three of its members (Lappe, JJ and Pete) wanted to continue playing together. Ever since, members have come and gone but the nucleus of the three musicians that formed the group has stayed the same, as has the songwriting team of Lappe Holopainen and yours truly.
”The World Stopped Turning” does not continue exactly where Carmen Gray left off. This song is a lot more in your face than most Carmen Gray tracks. Lappe and I set out to write a track that injects its listener with such energy that it’s next to impossible to sit still when listening to it. I think we did a pretty good job on this one (biased opinion, of course). The group then came up with an amazing arrangement, which I love. From the moment I heard the finished version, I knew we were onto something very special. I was completely blown away by the flamenco-styled acoustic guitar intro, the bagpipes that kick off the song, the driving bass, the frenetic Keith Moonish drums and the guitars that basically spit fire.
I also like the lyrics on this one. Just like the melody, Lappe and I wrote them eye-ball-to-eye-ball. There are a few lines that are more significant and meaningful to me than others. These are: “Last I heard I made your best friend sad” and “Nowhere people watching nowhere dreams.” The first one deals with how strange it sounds to most men that women need to get their friends to sign off on a guy they are dating. I at least always found this odd. If I like someone, I like them. Nothing’s going to change that, least of all my friends – hence the sarcasm in the line. The latter is inspired by a group of people I once spotted downstairs Holiday Inn drinking wine and watching morning soap operas – they had The Bold And The Beautiful on. They were waiting for a bus to come take them to the airport. The whole incident just reminded me of why we all love TV shows and movies so much. They are filled with people that do things and live lives most of us can only dream about. These shows might inject our conscious with “nowhere dreams” but they sure are fun to watch and give us the much needed escape from the boredom of our realities.
I asked Lappe to email me a special memory he has of recording “The World Stopped Turning” and this is what I got from him:
We recorded half of the “Shakespeares And Waterfalls” album in a weekend-long session in Hämeenlinna. This was in the summer of 2016. I have great memories of that. We took a few days off from our families and jobs to be able to focus on recording and drove an hour north of Helsinki. Hämeenlinna is what most Americans would refer to as a small town. It’s not exactly a one-horse town but it comes close. Anyway, it’s a town that provides very few distractions, if you will. And I think you can hear this in the end result. If you listen to “The World Stopped Turning” for instance, you’ll hear that the band is very focused and tight. We were well-rehearsed and wanted to make a great record. Nobody was in a hurry to go anywhere. Another thing that was nice about being away from home was that it gave the band an opportunity to bond a little and talk about where we were musically and as individuals. It brought us all closer. I will always think back to that time fondly. Oddly enough, I think you can hear that “The World Stopped Turning” was recorded in the summer. It’s got a summer vibe. I read somewhere once that wooden instruments react to seasons and sound slightly different in the summer than they would, for instance, in the winter. I’m not sure that’s true. In fact, it’s probably more a legend than a scientific fact. Be that as it may, “The World Stopped Turning” will always be a summer track for me.
Speaking of summer, a month or so ago, we at Music to began toying around with the idea of a quarterly playlist that would include contributions from each curator. Well, this write-up and track are mine. And since the first quarterly playlist goes live in July, in the middle of the summer, I wanted my contribution to be something that’s energetic, positive, fun and full of life – the Oho’s “The World Stopped Turning” seemed to fit the bill perfectly. And I agree with Lappe that the song has summer written all over it.
This week, I will leave you with the words of Leo Tolstoy. Whether you are newly in love and your world has just “stopped turning” or an elderly couple “keeping your fire burning,” the following quote from Anna Karenina will most likely resonate with you: “He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking."
Check out the official music video of “The World Stopped Turning”:
And also the official music video of “Lazy Afternoon”:
You can learn more about The Oho 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.