German is a beautiful language. It’s definitely a great language for poetry and it’s also a great language for passionate electro metal. Germany’s Rammstein has released their sixth album, Liebe ist für alle da and the CD is a thrash happy wonder that celebrates German’s vigor as a psychological tidal wave.
I discovered Rammstein when they released their second album, Sehnsucht, in 1997. Sehnsucht was the CD that really introduced America to Rammstein, and I went back to their first CD, Herzeleid (1995) to hear more. What came through those two CDs was a sexy, loud and rapid fire Deutsch rock I got hooked on. Herzeleid featured greats such as Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?, Du riechst so gut and Herzeleid. Sehnsucht had already delivered the classic Engel, Küss mich (Fellfrosch), Tier, Sehnsucht and the cleverly masterful Du Hast. Rammstein continued making excellent CDs into the new decade with Mutter (Mein Herz brennt, Links 2,3,4) Reise Reise (Ohne dich, Keine Lust), and Rosenrot (Hilf mir, Feuer und Wasser).
2009 brings us Liebe ist für alle da. It’s a stunner. Something I have always especially enjoyed about Rammstein is their lyrics, which are mostly written by singer Till Lindemann. Lindemann, a published poet, encapsulates darkness, light and human emotion in ways that hit right on with the guitars and rhythm of the music. Match this with Lindemann’s deep voice and we’ve got a winning combination.
Here’s my rundown on the songs:
Rammlied: Wenn die Freude traurig macht/Keine Sterne in der Nacht/Bist du einsam und allein/Wir sind hier schalte ein
(If joy makes you sad/ there are no stars in the night/you are lonely and alone/ we’re here to turn you on . . .)
Eine Richtung/Ein Gefuhl, Aus Fleisch und Blut, Ein Kollektiv
(One way/ One sensation/ of flesh and blood, one group)
I like these types of anthem songs. They usually either begin or close out an album – they had another excellent one at the end of Herzeleid. The pulse of this song reminds me a little of Links 2,3,4 and I like its invigorating guitar.
Ich tu Dir weh:
Ich tu dir weh/ Tut mir nicht leid/Das tut dir gut/ Hört wie es schreit
(I hurt you/ you don’t hurt me/you like it/ we hear the cry)
Right, it’s kinky. But it doesn’t have to be about sex, does it? I kind of think they’re delving into some emotional areas here too:
Du bist das Schiff ich der Kapitän/ Wohin soll denn die Reise gehen/Ich seh im Spiegel dein Gesicht/ Du liebst mich denn ich lieb dich nicht
(You are the ship and I am the captain/who decides the destination/ in the mirror of your face I see/ that if you love me I don’t love you)
The hunter’s salvation . . .
Auf dem Lande auf dem Meer/ Lauert das Verderben/ Die Kreatur muss sterben/
(On land and by sea/ watch for the corrupt/ the creature must die/die)
This song really moves along nicely. I really love the guitar again in this song.
Haifisch: Perhaps this is my favorite song of the CD.
Doch der Haifisch lebt im Wasser/ So die Tränen sieht man nicht . . .
In der Tiefe ist es einsam/ Und so manche Zähre fließt/ Und so kommt es dass das Wasser/ In den Meeren salzig ist
(The shark lives in water/ so no one can see he’s crying . . ./ There is a loneliness in the deep/ And so many tears flow/ And that is why the water/ In the sea is so salty
The rhythm in this song is so wonderful. I love sharks and the imagery in this song is amazing. At its core it’s a fairy tale.
Bückstabü? Wikipedia reports this is not bastard but some word made up that could mean anything.
This is one of the darker songs of the album. Lindemann sings, Hab keine Angst/ Ich bin doch hier (Don’t be afraid, I’m here). And it sounds really scary.
Frühling in Paris and Roter Sand: These are ones I’d call Rammstein ballads. What’s really cool about Rammstein is that they’re not just all about the thrash. There’s love even in their harder songs and they always have a couple ballads.
Wiener Blut: Another deeply disturbing song but so awesome. Seems to about a woman being kept in a dungeon.
Wilkommen in der Dunkelheit/ In der Einsamkeit/ Für die Ewigkeit/ Wilkommen in der Wirklichkeit
(Welcome to the darkness/ in your loneliness/ for eternity/ welcome to reality)
Pussy: This song is hilarious. But it’s also excellent and very catchy. I was warned in the press release that the video for Pussy is “the first to feature graphic adult content from a major recording artist.” It was directed by Swede Jonas Åkerlund and I have to bring it into the review. The video is separate from the CD but it’s definitely different, to say the least. Rammstein’s always made really unusual videos and you can see the censored version on youtube, or see the uncensored version here. And yes, as in the song a bratwurst is involved. And you should be over 18 to watch either version.
Liebe ist für alle da & Mehr: Essential Rammstein songs.
And a word or two about the CD’s artwork. The photos are by Spanish photographer Eugenio Recuenco. Recuenco is known for his fashion photography and I like what he did with Rammstein by arranging them as strange torturers. There’s a whole spread in the CD of the band members doing different things . . .