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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Insert "Finnish" Pun Here

When it comes to music, I'm stuck in the past (and by the past I mean the mid-90s). I have a knack for amazing some people by not knowing of popular songs from before 1987, and an almost equally impressive gift for catching on to newer songs about three months too late.

But this time I am so far ahead of the next big thing that by the time it is the current big thing, I just might be sick of it already. If you thought the only good things that come from Finland are Teemu Selanne and Absolut, then you need to check out The Rasmus.

Nobody knows it on this side of the Pond - that's the Atlantic Ocean, not where Selanne played when he was on the Mighty Ducks - but The Rasmus are crazy popular in Europe. The only reason I know of them is because I'm really freakin' cool. Okay, that's not true. Actually, the real reason I've heard of them is that I saw the video for their song "In The Shadows" on MTV Europe when I was in Italy several months ago. The song is good enough that it stuck with me until I got home and downloaded it.

I can't tell whether the name "The Rasmus" is singular or plural, because my command of Finnish has slipped a little lately. But I can tell you that they kick ass.

The four-piece set has been together for a little over nine years now, having started when the members were in high school. They've already been raking in awards at European shows for years now, and their latest album, Dead Letters, is supposedly going to be released in the U.S. sometime this spring.

If you watch any prime-time shows on FOX, you've probably heard "In The Shadows." It's the background music for their recent promos for "Tru Calling," a show whose best feature is probably that song. (I haven't seen the show, but it's just a hunch.)

Their style is kind of like Linkin Park, but dialed back a little, so there's not so much rap-style singing. The songs have good beats, and choruses that are really infectious. Their songs are in English, too, and for a bunch of 20-something Finns, the lyrics aren't too bad. I recommend "Guilty," which was bouncing around in my head for a while after I first heard it.

The Rasmus have exactly the kind of sound that modern rock today goes for, but it's more genuine than say, Nickelback. There's no pained sound to the lead singer's voice. Visit their website (some of the translation is kind of funny, but it is in English) and check out their audio clips, or find their songs on your preferred file-sharing program.

Then, when "In The Shadows" or "In My Life," their other single from their album, hits the airwaves, you can say you got in on the ground floor.

***

A couple of other things:

A few columns ago, I mentioned that the blow-dryer victim in the Hungry Man commercial looked like Steve from "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." Well, it turns out that they are one and the same. It's an actor named Steve Bailey, who, by the way, is married. I wonder what his wife thinks about the show.

In another previous column, I wrote about Matt Rogers, a former Washington offensive lineman who was a contestant on American Idol. The big guy made it to Hollywood and survived the first cut of 30 or so people. Now he just has to satisfy the judges enough to make it to the final 32 before the public begins to decide his fate.

Rogers, who competed in the Rose Bowl, said on the show yesterday that the four-day audition in Hollywood was the toughest thing he ever did, because he has to rely solely on himself, as opposed to football, where there are 10 other guys on your team.

Maybe so, but Justin Guarini isn't going to stop a 275-pound nose tackle from killing quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo. So which is harder, playing offensive guard against the top D-linemen in college football, or singing well enough to reach the final 32 in Idol?

I can't sing, and I definitely can't play O-line, but I do know one thing - the only injuries on American Idol are bruised egos.

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