Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rammstein - Made In Germany

The reviews I hate writing the most are Rammstein reviews, and that's because I feel that I can never do them justice. For starters, I don't know the language, for which I am sorry, so I have to rely on internet translations. There are some exceptions to that rule, those being songs with English lyrical content, and any track found on the video collection Lichtspielhaus. If you put on the subtitles, you can get the English lyrics to those songs. My son taught me that trick, after he stole my DVD a few times.

However, it's in trying to translate the songs to English where I feel I cause the most damage in my reviews. Those are German words and they are meant to be German words, and sometimes other languages, because that is how Till Linderman delivers his amazing operatic style. I'm not talking about the high soaring vocal stylings of Bruce Dickinson. This is more like a classic Viking or Barbarian Warlord singing of his pain and pleasure and triumphs and failures. I don't need to know the words to let them take me away.

As for the album Made In Germany, it's a best of I picked up for my son for his birthday. I own all the albums and didn't need this one, but my kid sure is happy to have it. Which makes me happy.

Engel leads off the album. This is a good song, but never one of my favourites. I understand why it's on here, but I would have personally thrown it in the middle of the album and opened with the next track instead.

If I had been in charge of selecting the lead off track to this album it would have been Links 234. First off, it's quick, and it has such a steady gripping marching rhythm that it instantly pulls you into the album.

I've never been able to make up my mind about Kein Lust. Part of me loves the track, and enjoys politely banging my head at a gentle nod, while the other part of me will skip it and move on to something I enjoy a little more.

The first song on this album I find truly powerful is Mein Teil. Musically it has a little of everything. Tempo changes, vocal changes, dynamic fluctuations and fantastic timing are all perfectly spread through this song. The constant build ups to the pre chorus and chorus are top notch, while the explosion delivered during the mentioned sections gets the heart pounding and the fist pumping.

If you know any song from Rammstein it's most likely Du Hast. This was the song that truly opened the band up to the North American mainstream. I know the language barrier hasn't helped in the U.S., even though the band does have a strong following there. I personally found that Canadians tend to be more accepting, but no where near as accepting as much of Europe. To be honest I'd rather see Rammstein in Germany where they can do a proper stage show than see a tamed down one in North America. As for the song in question, it's a good track to get you pumped, but I would compare it using the idea of songs one might find on Iron Maiden's self titled album compared to tracks that would be found on Number Of The Beast. Fast, furious, but minimalistic and not as lyrically in depth as songs that were released later.

I often wonder is Du Riechst So Gut has become one of my son's favourite songs, just because of how much he loves singing the English lyrics in a sly mocking manner.

Ich Will has been one of my favourite Rammstein tracks since I first heard it. I love the sound and production on this track. I love the delicate textured layering of the instruments and the way the keyboard is being sprinkled through out the entire song. Christian "Flake" Lorenz may be the most underlooked member of the band when it comes to the actual music. His textures and sounds add so much flavour to so many of this band's songs.

It was only inevitable that eventually the band would try to get more and more orhestrated, and they show that with full luxurious style on Mein Herz Brennt. There's a full sounding string section that powers off the choruses while the verse tends to stay more to accoustic sounds, and then during the pick up leading into the chorus the band turns it up to eleven.

The album finally slows down and gets real mellow dramatic when Mutter starts up. This is a very slow and pretty song when it first starts. Musically it's like a music box with a ballerina in it, if it was played by a full band. The chorus reminds me of a warriors mournful howl for their fallen comrade, and pretty much the only word spoken during those choruses is "Mutter", which you can't help but sing along to.

I don't want to say that Pussy is one of my favourite Rammstein songs, but it really is. I love the complete and utter hilarity of this song. The way that they mock English speaking women, and their obsession with bad boy foreigners is just genious. At least that's how I take it. If I were the same dumb ass kid that got into Rammstein I would love this song for the cheap reasons msot people do. It's fast, fun, and all kinds of dirty.

Rosenrot is only the second song on the album that I could either take or leave. It's not a bad song by any means, but I think it's one of those ones that suffers because of the language barrier.

Halfisch is full of so much fun and bouncy energy. This song is like some German beer polka meets the heavy depths of Metal, with a little whimsical texturing for the tongue in cheek fun. It's also a really good pick up after Rosenrot, and is an even better warm up for the next track.

I hate to come off sounding anti-American but I do have a bias towards them, which is why I love Amerika so much. I love it even more when you think about how popular this song got in the U.S. because Rammstein was using English lyrics, even though those lyrics were meant to be mocking. "We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / Wenn getanzt wird will ich führen / Auch wenn ihr euch alleine dreht / Lasst euch ein wenig kontrollieren / Ich zeige euch wie's richtig geht / Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen / Die Freiheit spielt auf allen Geigen / Musik kommt aus dem Weißen Haus / Und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus / (We're all living in Amerika) / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / Ich kenne Schritte die sehr nützen / Und werde euch vor Fehltritt schützen / Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss / Weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss / Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen / Ich werde euch die Richtung zeigen / Nach Afrika kommt Santa Claus / Und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / We're all living in Amerika / Coca-Cola, Wonderbra / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / This is not a love song / This is not a love song / I don't sing my (mother's) tongue / No, this is not a love song / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika ist wunderbar / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika / We're all living in Amerika / Coca-Cola, sometimes war / We're all living in Amerika / Amerika / Amerika ". I especially love the part where he says "This is not a love song". That mixed with the chanting that's like a fucked up paraody of It's A Small World from the Disney World theme park, makes this song so much humorous fun.

Sonne was the very first Rammstein song that made me look at the band as serious contenders in the grand scheme of music. While every song from this German powerhouse group tends to be as heavy as Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, Metallica's Thing That Should Not Be, or Iron Butterfly's Heavy, this song is full of so much emotion that the heavy only gets deeper and darker. This song is the true description of beautiful Metal.

Take everything I just said about Sonne and then make it into the epic sound genious of the already mentioned Kashmir, or Metallica's Orion (if it had words), or Iron Maiden's Fear Of The Dark and you get Ohne Dich. This song is the perfect way to cap off all the already widely avaiable material.

Mein Land was released specifically as new material for this album. It's an okay track, but not how I would have ended the album. I really think ending the album with this track makes it seem very last minute, which the song does enough on it's own anyway.

All in all this is a pretty good collection. I think it represents the band decently. To be honest this could have easily been a double album, and maybe it should have been. I can think of five or six songs that should have been on here, two of which were actually singles, and that's just off the top of my head. But if you have never owned anything Rammmstein and don't want to go and pick up every album, as you really should, then you can go with Made In Germany and rest easy that you made a good choice to start with.

8/10 - content

8/10 - production

9/10 - personal bias

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