09 March 2017

Farewell, HIM, My Lovable Music Nerds

Three days ago I caught wind of HIM calling it quits this year. They're holding one last tour across the globe to celebrate 26 years of music spanning eight albums, dozens of singles, and a bunch of bonus albums with remixes, live performances, and music videos. If I can make it to any of the shows in the US, that'd be great. If not... well... once is better than never, right?

To be honest, I'm not entirely shocked they're breaking up. It's been a few years since Tears on Tape's release, and I was concerned that it was playing a bit too much on the safe - if not stale - side. The lineup had not changed in over a decade until Gas left a few years ago. Without any major updates, I was waiting patiently, only to learn from one of my internet friends from Finland about this recent development.

I... I think I'm ok with this. I will never claim they're the best band to ever live. Not by a long shot.  I'm an unapologetic fangirl for this band, and Ville Valo raised my standards for men above and beyond the realm of reality, but I'm not stupid.

HIM were a goofy, strange band with an eclectic, diverse, and dynamic style that works wonderfully for some and fails disastrously for others. Scared moral guardians took His Infernal Majesty from their early days way too seriously (hell, even my own parents did at first, funnily enough), and a legion of fans came around thanks to Bam Margera's fanboy-ism going to insane levels in the early to mid 2000s. And, yes, some of the more intense fragments of the goth fans did sometimes get melodramatic about the band to the point that serious music critics could barely take HIM seriously. And most of all, some of Ville's lyrics are cringe-inducing in how corny, lame, intense, and sappy they can be; Razorblade Romance, even with its vibrant, migraine-splitting pink cover, is audio candy so sweet that you'll get diabetes and need a limb or two amputated before the halfway mark.

Despite all of that, they're my favorite band. They're my goofy, pseudo-goth band with their melodramatic brand of "love metal".

I literally fell in love with their music on Valentine's Day in my freshman year of high school. I pre-ordered two of their albums, both of which arrived at the very moments I needed them most: leaving school early due to illness, only for snow to cancel school the next day, and returning home from college to find items to help me complete my final assignment in an art course. They were the first concert I ever went to, and I was fuming when Ville came out on stage with his curly hair completely chopped off; I saved my babysitting money for tickets, and I bought my fingerless gloves, a sweatshirt, and a shirt that I still hold onto. They made me feel like a normal high school girl when I feared I felt too different, having pictures of Ville Valo cover the inside door of my locker, crushing hard on the tall, dark-haired baritone, and listening to all of their albums inside and out until I nearly memorized the lyrics to every single song. I was so happy to love a band that sounded as great live as they did in the studio, something that seems so rare for some reason. And I cannot stress how much I admire Ville Valo for being a singer and multi-instrumentalist as well as a songwriter in rock and metal, another unfortunate rarity these days.

HIM helped me endure period cramps that would leave me bedridden for two days. They inspired me to expand my taste in music further by listening to their influencers, including Type O Negative and Black Sabbath. They helped fuel some of my passion for writing, and they helped me focus on my long, overdone Persona 3 fanfic. They had fun with their art, making me laugh over interviews and live performance recordings throughout the years. They burned a big hole in my wallet that I proud of. They shined a little light on a country many people overlook due to them being so far north in the cold, and I wanted to learn more about Finland's language, culture, and art almost as much as anime made me fascinated in Japan. They taught me to not take my interests and opinions too seriously when others disagreed with me. They let me cry and be vulnerable when my parents divorced, when I left home for college, when I moved out of my mom's house, when I panicked about grades, when I searched for a job, and when I struggled with my confused feelings about love.

March 26, 2010, the day I lived a full life.
HIM helped me grow up. HIM made me a stronger person. HIM is a warm blanket that I have outgrown and has holes in it from overuse, but they always brought me joy when I needed them. I laughed and cried over a group of men I will never meet because their talents and abilities as artists created something beautiful and unique that can never be replaced.

And now... they're gone.

More than them breaking up and moving on to other projects, I lament how short those seven years of my being a fan were. There is no new album to look forward to anymore. It feels strange, eerie, like a sudden death of a friend. I'll miss HIM. I'll miss them so much. I will continue to treasure their music, and one day, I will have a heartagram tattoo in my skin. Every music fan has a group or song that means the world to them. HIM meant still means the world to me.

Ville, Linde, Mige, Burton, and Gas, godspeed, you adorable music nerds. Good luck to everything you boys do in joy and sorrow. Thank you.

*sniff* ... I managed this much without crying, and I'm failing. Shit, their music makes me wanna cry all the time now.
Damn it, I need to laugh.

I am so glad I saved all of these images on my computer over the years. XD

Haha, I love you, boys.


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