Around the time of this compilation release, Ville Valo is ubiquitous in Finland. Gracing every magazine cover and occupying every second television advertising break, his hunk of the year in Rock Sounds face can be seen beckoning every boy and every girl to invest in love metal, almost as a matter of national pride. Him went to number 15 on the British singles list! Win a date with Ville! Exchange students come to study in Finland because of moomin – and Him!
Whatever you might think of the music, this is definitely the time to be sick of Him. The terms of their record deal is now completed with the dreaded ”compilation with two new songs to rip off the fans”, complete with ugly fold out idol posters of Ville and the band. The concept is not appealing, but what of the music?
Him is definitely a singles band and has a lot to gain from sorting out the filling and lining up their hits on a single album. I also can’t help feeling that Him is actually a live band with their main strength residing in rocking hard – and I find further proof of that on ”And Love Said No” where I’m occasionally tempted to skip some of the ballads as they are too much, or too little. Him often sound profoundly unconvincing in trying to appear frail, serious and world weary, while they make a powerful delivery in handling these subjects as a proper rock band – happily heaping cliches and with guitars blasting away like on ”Buried Alive by Love” or ”Your Sweet 666”.
Even if I personally prefer the fourth Him album ”Love Metal” to this compilation, ”And Love Said No” is still the one to get for anyone previously unfamiliar with the band, if purely from educational value. It maps the band's career from start to approaching superstardom, including the cover of ”Wicked Game” that first propelled Him into the consciousness of Finns, as well as ”Join Me”, the single that got the Germans on their knees. The new songs are the namesake of the album – a typical calm verse/explosive chorus Him-song and cover of Neil Diamond song ”Solitary Man”, a choice that might seem pretty radical if Johnny Cash hadn’t already taken it on in his fantastic project of renderings of modern songs shortly before his death.
The limited edition includes a live-DVD of six tracks picked from a string of appearances in Helsinki in 2003.