I talk about Satan a lot on this blog, it is not intentionally but I do.
The devil is not exactly a major influence on Finland’s HIM, rather death and darkness are, and with that it is only natural to include the presence of demonic and hellish themes and references. HIM’s big thing is love and death, most of their songs are about both, but all of them are about at least one of those two things. An intense love song by HIM requires some elements of death and darkness and invoking the number of the beast is a fine way of going about doing that.
Like most debut albums “Greatest Love Songs Volume 666” is raw. A lot of emotion and a lot of fresh imagination is poured into HIM first album and with it the invention of love metal. There is a charm to albums like this and the songs there within. Oftentimes the message will lack symbolism or poetic depth in such albums but the blunt forwardness of these new imagination and new sounds of expression will be such a thoroughly enjoyable new experience that they endear themselves to us more so than later works which prove to be more refined in structure but less powerful in delivery. The emotions and overall content of a song like “For You” does not get much more direct or raw.
Of all the songs on “Greatest Love Songs Volume 666” the two songs that always captured the theme of love metal the best are “When Love and Death Embrace” which is very perfectly about love and death, and “For You,” a demanding love song that either willing or unwilling with be until death to us part.
There are a lot of love songs, and thanks to HIM there are a lot of dark love songs, but there are very few, even in HIM’s repertoire, that are as grim as “For You.” “For You” is not, the utterance of those to words meant as a request for love or even a simple declaration of devotion, in HIM’s song it is a statement of equal parts joy and misery. The very first line says just that:
“In the grace of your love I writhe, writhe in pain.
In six hundred and sixty-six ways I love you and I hope you feel the same.”
Only HIM could make love seem so wonderful and agonizing at the same time. It is in this opening piece that we hear the nice mention of the three digits of the beast. There are not a lot of lyrics in “For You,” the only verse is also only two sentences:
“I'm killing myself for your love and again all is lost.
In seven hundred and seventy-seven ways I love you 'til my death do us apart.”
The rest of singer Ville Valo’s contribution is to repeat, “I’m for you,” and “I’m dying for you love.”
I believe “For You” falls comfortably into the scenario of unrequited love, a topic I happen to know a lot about. The thing about requited love is the higher than usual sense of selflessness exhibited by the unloved, and in the example of “For You” Valo has gone so far to literally offer up his life and any ounce of happiness he might have enjoyed between now and than, the end.
Furthermore, there is something aggressive in the voice of Valo in this song that removes any choice in the matter. Valo loves this woman, whoever she is, no matter what, and she will be loved by him, no matter how she feels about it. It a foreboding and intimidating love, something perhaps darker than simply an unwanted attraction, rather an endless source of admiration and misery both embodied and projecting from his gothic man, for nothing can change the reality that he is for her.
It is difficult, nigh impossible, to think of, or even conceive a love song quiet like or similar to “For You.” Even in HIM now long discography no one song runs totally parallel to the deep dark dimensions of this song. While not my favorite HIM song “For You” is one that I find myself going back to listen to all the time. It is captivating for all the reasons explained above, and a gripping song that has let go of me, or anyone else who volunteered to listen.
Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.
- King of Braves