The first time I was introduced to HIM I was 18. The band had already been around in one form or another for over a decade, but to me, everything felt brand new. I came into their music right before the release of Venus Doom (an album I would initially resist, before making it one of my favorites of all time), and I was completely enamored. It was my first taste of anything resembling metal, and the way Ville Valo’s smooth vocals overlay the intense musicianship on every song was what drew me in. It was those lyrics. That poetry. The heartfelt emotion, struggle, anguish, and complication I felt behind each and every lyric. It was the promise of a story.
I’m 29 now, and I can still say with absolute certainty that while I’ve had many favorite bands, albums, and songs, there has never been another band whose lyrics so deeply resonated with me, and who I feel are true craftsman in that way. Never before, never since, Ville Valo has an exquisite way with words.
Like most people, I attribute various bands, songs, and albums to different points in my life, and HIM is no different. I remember the relationships I was in, where I was living, where I was working—but nothing stands out so much as the feelings I was experiencing at that time. It’s those feelings that I remember most of all, that still come up every time I put on a certain song. It’s music’s greatest ability, to transform us to another time, place, and circumstance just by hitting “play.” For me, those feelings are intrinsically tied to every HIM song I’ve ever heard, and I find it incredibly beautiful, comforting, and a little bit majestic. They’re a band that has shaped so much of my life, and to be able to remember it just by putting on a certain CD is a true gift.
When the band announced they’d be doing one last farewell tour, it didn’t surprise me, but it didn’t stop the slight stinging from knowing that something that has meant so much to me was coming to an end. Watching them play their second to last US tour date in Worcester, MA was nothing short of bittersweet.
So, this is my public thank you to the band. Thank you for writing lyrics that were dark enough to soothe me during my weakest moments, and bright enough to lift me from them. For making albums that will forever have a place in my heart and on my shelf. To giving it all you had and then some, and for making a difference in the lives of so many.
You will be missed.
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