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Anssi Kela – 1972 – Meistä tuli muurareita – Song Analysis

If you like music and translating Finnish song lyrics, then you might like this article. I will be analyzing the song 1972 (Meistä tuli muurareita) by Anssi Kela. Listen to it here on YouTube.

1. About the Song

Anssi Kela was born in the year 1972. He has expressed regret about giving this song the title 1972. It’s just not something that sticks to the fans’ minds. Perhaps Meistä tuli muurareita would have been a more memorable title.

The song tells about a class reunion of the singer and people from his high school graduation class. During the song, you get a peek at the people that attended the reunion, some of which appear in the song with their first name (Kristian, Susanna, Jasmin, Roope) and others with their last name (Nummelin, Nurminen, Vuorinen). I’m not sure if these were his actual classmates, as I haven’t been able to find any additional information about this online.

The song looks both at what the singer remembers of his classmates and what has become of them now, which brings up some stark contrasts. The song’s main theme is that the singer’s generation lived with the expectations of changing the world and becoming something. They did become something – some of their professions appear in the song – but it stays unclear if any of them did anything that actually changed the world.

2. Song Lyrics – Anssi Kela – Meistä tuli Muurareita

♬ Finnish song lyrics ♬ English translated lyrics
Kristian: kerran teki Jumalan
Luokan kattoon nuuskallaan
Se näköjään yrittää vieläkin viiksiä kasvattaa
Kristian: once made a God
On the ceiling of the classroom with his snuff
Looks like he’s still trying to grow a mustache
Susannaa taisin joskus rakastaa
Mut se ei halunnut olla mun kaa
Ajoi kaljuksi päänsä
Naisen kanssa asustaa
I probably loved Susanna at one point
But she didn’t want to be with me
(She) shaved her head bald
Lives with a woman
Nummelin: poika etupulpetin
Nuo samat rillit vieläkin
Istuu nurkassa yksin
Ihan niin kuin ennenkin
Nummelin: the front row’s boy
Still with the same glasses
Sits in a corner alone
Just like before
Ihailin – silloin Roopea kadehdin
Hänen elämänsä halusin
Tanssilattialla sen housut putoo nilkkoihin
I admired – envied Roope back then
His life I wanted
On the dance floor his pants fall to his ankles
Refrain:
Meidän piti muuttaa maailma
Meistä tuli muurareita
Taksikuskeja, suutareita
Yksinhuoltajaäitejä, autokauppiaita
Meistä tuli lääkäreitä
Virkamiehiä, vääpeleitä
Ja tänään voidaan hetki olla kuninkaita
Refrain:
We had to change the world
We became bricklayers,
taxi drivers, cobblers
Single mothers, car salesmen
We became doctors,
officials, sergeant majors
And today we can be kings for a moment
Nurminen – pallon kosketus kultainen
Olisi ammattilainen
Jos ei ois kännipäissään pudonnut louhokseen
Nurminen – golden touch of the ball
Would be a professional
If he wouldn’t have fallen drunk into the quarry
Kaunis Jasmin
Se aikoi malliksi Pariisiin
Hyvältä näyttää vieläkin
Taas kertoo kuinka pääsi
Miss Lohja -finaaliin
Beautiful Jasmin
She planned to become a model in Paris
Still looks good
Once again tells how she made it
to the Miss Lohja finals
Refrain Refrain
Kun lakit päähän vedettiin
Kaikesta kaikki tiedettiin
Mitä vanhemmiksi vartutaan
Sitä tyhmemmiksi muututaan
Enkä minä ainakaan
Mistään tiedä paskaakaan
Eilen kun kotiin palasin
Avain ei sovi lukkoihin
Ikkunasta vaatteitani lentää
When we pulled the caps on our head
We knew everything about everything
The older we grow,
The more stupid we become
Nor do I, at least,
Know shit about anything
Yesterday when I returned home,
The key doesn’t fit in the locks
From the window my clothes fly
Refrain Refrain
Vuorinen: ystävä takaa vuosien
Ennen meni tunteja jutellen
“Oli kiva nähdä”,
N
yt muuta sanoa osaa en
Vuorinen: friend from years back
In the past, hours passed chatting
“It was nice to see you”
I can’t say anything else now

3. Glossary

The following grammar terms have been abbreviated.

  • sg1: first person singular
  • sg2: second person singular
  • pl1: first person plural
  • pl3: third person plural
  • sg.part: singular partitive
  • pl.part: plural partitive
  • sg.gen: singular genetive
  • adv.: adverb
  • poss.suff.: possessive suffix

I have marked different elements of the analysis using the following symbols.

  • in italics: base word
  • (in brackets): translation
  • ‘in single quotation marks’: literal meaning
  • “in double quotation marks”: intended meaning
  • [square brackets]: saying, idiom, fixed phrase; rection
  • <symbol: derived from, based on

4. 1972 – Anssi KelaFinnish Song Analyzed

Kristian kerran teki Jumalan luokan kattoon nuuskallaan
Kristian Kristian (boy’s name)
kerran kerta (time), sg.gen “once”
teki tehdä (to make), sg3 imperfect “made”
Jumalan Jumala (God), sg.gen, total object of tehdä
luokan luokka (classroom), sg.gen “of the class room”
kattoon katto (ceiling), mihin form ‘to the roof’
nuuskallaan nuuska (snuff), lla + –an poss.suff. “with his snuff”
Kristian once made God on the ceiling of the classroom with his snuff

Nuuska is “snuff, dipping tobacco“. I’m not sure how you draw/paint a God figure on the ceiling with it, but apparently that’s what Anssi Kela is describing.

Se näköjään yrittää vieläkin viiksiä kasvattaa
Se <hän: spoken language pronoun
näköjään apparently, looks like
yrittää yrittää (to try), 3sg present tense “is trying”
vieläkin still, even now <fossilized: vielä + kin
viiksiä viikset (mustache), pl.part object, because it’s a process
kasvattaa to grow
Looks like he’s still trying to grow a mustache

Neutral word order: Näköjään hän yrittää vieläkin kasvattaa viiksiä.

Young men often try to grow mustaches (yrittää kasvattaa viiksiä), with varying success. Based on the song, in the case of Kristian, the attempt still hasn’t had any success.

Susannaa taisin joskus rakastaa
Susannaa Susanna (girl’s name), sg.part because rakastaa
taisin taitaa (probably), sg1 imperfect “I probably”
joskus sometimes
rakastaa to love, partitive verb: [rakastaa + partitive]
I probably loved Susanna at one point

Neutral word order: Taisin joskus rakastaa Susannaa.

Taitaa is a verb that means the same as the adverb “probably” (ehkä, varmaan). There is no such verb in English. It’s used as a modal verb, which will be conjugated, after which the main verb of the sentence will appear in its basic form. Read more about taitaa here.

  • Taidan rakastaa Susannaa. “I probably love Susanna.”
  • En taida rakastaa Susannaa. “I probably don’t love Susanna.”
  • Taisin rakastaa Susannaa. “I probably loved Susanna.”
  • En tainnut rakastaa Susannaa. “I probably didn’t love Susanna.”
Mut se ei halunnut olla mun kaa
Mut <mutta: spoken language, “but”
se <hän: spoken language pronoun, “she”
ei halunnut haluta (to want), sg3 negative imperfect, “didn’t want”
olla to be, basic form of verb used after haluta
mun <minun: spoken language, sg.gen because kanssa, “me”
kaa <kanssa: spoken language, postposition: [genetive + kanssa], “with”
But she didn’t want to be with me

Four spoken language elements in that one sentence!

Ajoi kaljuksi päänsä, naisen kanssa asustaa
Ajoi ajaa (to shave), 3sg imperfect tense “she shaved”
kaljuksi kalju (bald), translative case because a change is happening
päänsä pää (head) + -nsa 3sg poss.suff “her head”
naisen nainen (woman), sg.gen because kanssa “with a woman”
kanssa with, postposition: [genetive + kanssa]
asustaa asustaa (to live, lodge), 3sg present tense
(She) shaved her head bald, lives with a woman

Neutral word order: (Hän) ajoi päänsä kaljuksi (ja) asustaa naisen kanssa.

The verb ajaa generally means “to drive”, but it can also mean “to shave” (eg. ajaa parta, ajaa viikset, ajaa pää). The word kalju (bald) appears in the translative case here because there’s a change happening: first she has hair > then she’s bald. This is a classical use of the translative case.

The most common verb used to express living somewhere is asua. In this song, Anssi Kela has opts for the verb asustaa (to stay, lodge somehwere) probably mostly because of the number of syllables fits better in the song.

Recap: The singer explains that he might have loved Susanna at some point, but she wasn’t interested. Now she has shaven her head and lives with a woman.

Nummelin: poika etupulpetin, nuo samat rillit vieläkin
Nummelin Finnish last name
poika boy
etupulpetin etupulpetti (front row desk) sg.gen “of the front desk”
nuo those (plural of tuo)
samat sama (same), T-plural because rillit
rillit <silmälasit: spoken language, T-plural “glasses”
vieläkin still, even now <fossilized: vielä + kin
Nummelin: the front row’s boy, still with the same glasses

This phrase in the song doesn’t form a full sentence. It just consists of floating elements. The full sentence, if we were to make one, would be something like: Nummelin oli etupulpetin poika. Hänellä on vieläkin nuo samat rillit.

Referring to people by their last name is pretty common in Finland.

Istuu nurkassa yksin ihan niin kuin ennenkin
Istuu istua (to sit), sg3 present tense “sits”
nurkassa nurkka (corner), missä-form “in a corner”
yksin alone
ihan just
niin kuin like
ennenkin <ennen “before” + –kin “too”, “before as well”
Sits in a corner alone just like before
Ihailin – silloin Roopea kadehdin
Ihailin ihailla (to admire), sg1 imperfect, partitive verb “I admired”
silloin back then, at the time
Roopea Roope (male name), sg.part (object of ihailla and kadehtia)
kahdehdin kadehtia (to envy), sg1 imperfect, partitive verb “I envied”
I admired – envied Roope back then

Neutral word order: Ihailin (ja) kadehdin Roopea silloin.

Another section of the song that fits nicely in a song, but doesn’t form a neat sentence. We have two verbs here: to admire and to envy. Both of these verbs have the same object: Roope, and both of them require the partitive case, so we get Roopea.

Hänen elämänsä halusin
Hänen his, sg3 personal pronoun
elämänsä elämä (life) + –nsa poss.suff. “his life” (object of haluta)
halusin haluta (to want), sg1 imperfect “I wanted”
His life I wanted
Tanssilattialla sen housut putoo nilkkoihin
Tanssilattialla tanssilattia (dance floor), millä-form “on the dance floor”
sen <hänen, spoken language pronoun “his”
housut pants, trousers
putoo <putoavat, spoken language pl3 present tense of pudota “fall”
nilkkoihin nilkka (ankle), plural mihin, “onto the/his ankles”
On the dance floor his pants fall to his ankles

Apparently there is dancing going on at the class reunion and Roope is on the dance floor, where his pants fall down. Seems like the need for admiration has passed since they were in high school together.

Refrain

Meidän piti muuttaa maailma
Meidän me (we), genetive because of pitää
piti pitää (to have to, must), sg3 imperfect, rection: [gen + pitää]
muuttaa to change, basic form after pitää
maailma world, object of muuttaa
We had to change the world

While meidän piti is translated literally as “we had to”, in this case, another translation is more natural: “We were supposed to change the world”.

The word maailma is the object of the verb muuttaa. In a regular sentence, we would use the genetive case: Minä muutan maailman “I will change the world”. However, the object of a minun täytyy -sentence will appear in the basic form rather than in the genetive, so we get maailma.

Meistä tuli muurareita, taksikuskeja, suutareita
Meistä me (we), in the mistä-form
tuli tulla (to become), sg3 imperfect, rection: [mistä + tulla] “became”
muurareita muurari (bricklayer), pl.part
taksikuskeja taksikuski (taxi driver), pl.part
suutareita suutari (cobbler), pl.part
We became bricklayers, taxi drivers, cobblers

If you’ve ever had a teacher play this song for you during a Finnish course, it’s probably been when you were learning the plural partitive. This song has some excellent examples of it!

In the singular, Minusta tuli muurari means “I became a bricklayer”. When making it plural, you need to plural partitive. This sentence type is addressed in this article.

Yksinhuoltajaäitejä, autokauppiaita
Yksinhuoltajaäitejä yksinhuoltajaäiti (single mother), pl.part
autokauppiaita autokauppias (car salesman), pl.part
Single mothers, car salesmen
Meistä tuli lääkäreitä, virkamiehiä, vääpeleitä
Meistä me (we), in the mistä-form
tuli tulla (to become), sg3 imperfect, rection: [mistä + tulla] “became”
lääkäreitä lääkäri (doctor), pl.part
virkamiehiä virkamies (official), pl.part
vääpeleitä vääpeli (sergeant major), pl.part
We became doctors, officials, sergeant majors
Ja tänään voidaan hetki olla kuninkaita
Ja and
tänään today
voidaan <voimme, spoken language passive of voida “we can”
hetki a moment
olla to be “be”
kuninkaita kuningas (king), pl.part “kings”
And today we can be kings for a moment
Nurminen – pallon kosketus kultainen – olisi ammattilainen
Nurminen last name
pallon pallo (ball), sg.gen “of the ball”
kosketus touch
kultainen golden (adjective describing kosketus)
olisi olla (to be), sg3 conditional “would be”
ammattilainen a professional
Nurminen – golden touch of the ball – would be a professional

Adjectives are usually placed in front of the nouns they describe, so normally, you’d say “pallon kultainen kosketus“. For the sake of rhythm and rhyme, the word order has been reversed. The phrase is pretty poetic, and signifies that Nurminen was a great soccer player.

Jos ei ois kännipäissään pudonnut louhokseen
Jos if
ei ois <ei olisi, spoken language, 3sg conditional “he wouldn’t”
kännipäissään drunkenly
pudonnut pudota (to fall), NUT-participle, “have fallen”
louhokseen louhos (quarry), mihin-form “into the quarry”
If he wouldn’t have fallen drunk into the quarry
Kaunis Jasmin: se aikoi malliksi Pariisiin
Kaunis beautiful
Jasmin female name
se <hän, spoken language pronoun “she”
aikoi aikoa (to intend, to plan), sg3 imperfect, rection: [aikoa +  translative]
malliksi malli (model), translative “to become a model”
Pariisiin Pariisi (Paris), mihin-form “to Paris”
Beautiful Jasmin: she planned to become a model in Paris

The verb aikoa “to plan, to intend” can be used to condense sentences: aikoa malliksi means “to plan to become a model”. The english “become” is unnecessary in the Finnish sentence because malli appears in the translative case, which signifies a change happening.

In fact, the full translation here, if you want to also take into account that Pariisiin is the mihin-form, would be: “She planned to go to Paris to become a model”. That ten word English sentence has been condensed to four words in Finnish: Hän aikoi malliksi Pariisiin.

Hyvältä näyttää vieläkin
Hyvältä hyvä (good), miltä-form because of näyttää
näyttää näyttää (to look), sg3 present tense, rection: [näyttää + miltä]
vieläkin still <fossilized: vielä + –kin
Still looks good
Taas kertoo kuinka pääsi Miss Lohja -finaaliin
Taas again
kertoo kertoa (to tell), sg3 present tense “she tells”
kuinka how
pääsi päästä (to make it), sg3 imperfect, rection: [päästä  + mihin] “she made it”
Miss Lohja “Miss Lohja” is the winner of the beauty contest in Lohja
finaaliin finaali (finals), mihin-form “to the finals”
Once again tells how she made it to the Miss Lohja finals

The song sadly seems to indicate she didn’t win the finals, she just made it there. She’s still telling about this event years later.

REFRAIN 1x

Kun lakit päähän vedettiin
Kun when
lakit lakki <ylioppilaslakki (graduation cap), T-plural
päähän pää (head), mihin-form “onto the head”
vedettiin <vedimme, spoken language past passive “we pulled”
When we pulled the caps on our head

While this sentence doesn’t contain the personal pronoun me “we”, it’s still clear that we’re dealing with the spoken language version of the first person plural: me vedettiin (rather than vedimme). The sentence continues below with me tiedettiin (rather than tiesimme).

In Finland, when you graduate from high school, you get a rather dashing cap, which is called ylioppilaslakki in Finnish.

In Finnish, a hat is in your head rather than on it: Hattu on päässä. The same is true for the mihin-form: Vedän hatun päähän. Read more about this here.

Kaikesta kaikki tiedettiin
kaikesta kaikki (all, everything), mistä-form because of tietää “about everything”
kaikki all, everything
tiedettiin <tiesimme, spoken past passive of tietää, “we knew”, rection: [mistä + tietää]
We knew everything about everything

Neutral word order: Tiedettiin kaikki kaikesta.

The word kaikki is the object of the verb tietää. In a regular sentence, we would use the genetive case: Minä tiedän kaiken “I know everything”. However, the object of a passive sentence will appear in the basic form rather than in the genetive, so we get kaikki.

Combined with the previous section, we get the phrase: “When we pulled the graduation caps onto our head, we knew everything about everything”.

Mitä vanhemmiksi vartutaan, sitä tyhmemmiksi muututaan
Mitä phrase: [mitä X, sitä Y] “the”
vanhemmiksi vanha (old) < vanhempi (older), plural translative because of varttua, “older”
vartutaan <vartumme, spoken present passive, from varttua, “we grow”
sitä phrase: [mitä X, sitä Y] “the”
tyhmemmiksi tyhmä (dumb) < tyhmempi (dumber), plural translative because of muuttua, “dumber”
muututaan <muutumme, spoken present passive, from muuttua, “we become”
The older we grow, the more stupid we become

The sentence construction [Mitä comparative, sitä comparative] is very commonly used. In English, for example, you have “the older the better”, which uses this same construction: mitä vanhempi, sitä parempi.

In the song, we’re using the plural translative form of the comparative. This is due to the verbs in the sentence, which both express a change and both have the same translative rection: [varttua + translative] and [muuttua + translative]. The plural is due to there being multiple people growing up and getting more stupid.

Enkä minä ainakaan mistään tiedä paskaakaan
Enkä <en + – “nor do I = and I don’t”
minä I
ainakaan at least
mistään mikään (nothing), mistä-form because of tietää
tiedä tietää (to know), neg. present tense, rection: [tietää + mistä] “don’t know”
paskaakaan paska (shit), sg.part case + –kaan “not even a shit”
Nor do I, at least, know shit about anything

Knowing something about something requires the mistä-form in Finnish: Tiedän kaiken sinusta. “I know everything about you”; En tiedä tästä mitään. “I don’t know anything about this”.

Eilen kun kotiin palasin, avain ei sovi lukkoihin
Eilen yesterday
kun when
kotiin koti (home), mihin-form because of palata, “to home”
palasin palata (to return), sg1 imperfect, rection: [palata + mihin] “I returned”
avain key
ei sovi sopia (to fit), sg3 present tense, rection: [sopia + mihin] “doesn’t fit”
lukkoihin lukko (lock), plural illative because of sopia “into the locks”
Yesterday when I returned home, the key doesn’t fit in the locks

If you look at it in isolation, you can notice that the tenses don’t match up: palasin “I returned” (past tense) but ei sovi “doesn’t fit” (present tense).

Ikkunasta vaatteitani lentää
Ikkunasta ikkuna (window), mistä-form, “from the window”
vaatteitani vaatteet (clothes), pl.part. + –ni poss.suff, “my clothes”
lentää lentää (to fly)
From the window my clothes fly

The plural partitive vaatteita in this sentence signifies that there’s an unspecified amount of my clothes flying through the window. If the T-plural vaatteet was used here instead, it would mean all my clothes.

REFRAIN 1x

Vuorinen: ystävä takaa vuosien
Vuorinen last name
ystävä friend
takaa from behind, mistä-form of takana, postposition: [gen + takaa]
vuosien vuosi (year), plural genetive because of takaa
Vuorinen: friend from years back
Ennen meni tunteja jutellen
Ennen before, in the past, at one time
meni mennä (to go), sg3 imperfect “went, passed”
tunteja tunti (hour), pl.part
jutellen jutella (to chat), modal substitute construction “chatting”
In the past, hours passed chatting

The plural partitive tunteja is used here to express that there’s an unspecified plural amount of hours that passed.

 “Oli kiva nähdä”, nyt muuta sanoa osaa en
Oli olla (to be), sg3 imperfect “it was”
kiva nice
nähdä to see
nyt now
muuta muu (other, else)
sanoa to say
osaa en >en osaa <osata (to be able to), sg1 present tense “I can’t”
“It was nice to see you”, I can’t say anything else now

Neutral word order: “Oli kiva nähdä”, en osaa sanoa muuta nyt.

Read More Elsewhere

Please let me know in the comments if this is the type of content you want to see more of! You can also leave some song suggestions.

4 Comments

  • “Tässäkö tää oli”
    Arttu Wiskari

    • New song to me, but I like it!

  • It’s great to see another song analysis! If I may suggest some song, that would be “Joutsenlaulu” by Yö. Have you heard it?

    • I know it, but I’ve never paid attention to the lyrics of this song! Could be a good one, yup. I do have some other songs to also work on now, lol. I will put this one on the list.

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