Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lindemann - "Skills in Pills" (2015)

„Is this Rammstein? No, it can’t be, it’s in English! “

 This might be your first thought when you hear the „Skills and Pills“ album without knowing the artist. Well, you’re almost correct. Lindemann is a new side project by Rammstein’s frontman Till Lindemann and PAIN’s Peter Tägtgren. Sounds like a match made in heaven? Almost. The match was actually made in a bar in Stockholm, as most good things get their start from bars and alcohol. In an interview to Rolling Stone Peter said "It's basically two idiots clunking their heads together, and all this stupid things comes out of it," and you can’t really argue with that. Let’s dig into the stupidness.

The sound of this project is great, let’s just put that out there. It is essentially Rammstein, albeit with a touch of PAIN with its tad bit more of a melodic feel. Problem is, none of the songs really stand out. The album doesn’t have any weak songs but neither are there any strong ones so when listening to it, it feels as if one very long song. A damn good one, if you’re into that type of music but nothing truly exceptional. The whole album has a good flow to it that ties the album into a strong unity and before you notice, the album is over. But even when none of the songs really stand out, they are still very catchy and you might just find yourself humming along to „Ladyboy“ or „Golden shower“ on your way to work. Just try not to sing along as the lyrics are not.. Appropriate for most.

Till Lindemann is renowned for his vulgar and at times downright grotesque lyrics. When listening to Rammstein it is easy for a non-German speaker to let the message simply slide by and concentrate on the music and power Till embodies. After all, that’s how I got drawn in at the age of 10. Many other fans have confirmed that they first fell in love with the sound and after doing research about the meaning of the lyrics they were rather taken aback. Or, even more fascinated. With Till’s new project Lindemann the message cannot be ignored as it is right up in your face in plain English. The song „Praise abort“ got many fans up on their feet as if they are suddenly revealed to the world Till Lindemann has been singing about for decades. The fans are shocked and outraged even though Till has always sung about sex, violence, incest, S&M and so on.

 The problem here lies in the fact that Till is brilliant when it comes to writing lyrics in German. His grasp on the language is undeniable and when listening to the lyrics they are deep, profound and often hide several meanings in them as wordplay is such a huge part of Till’s lyrics. Even when singing about necrophilia he does it with such poetic elegance that one does not find a problem singing along to it. With English though.. Till sucks. Balls. Hard. He sounds like a retarded 3-year-old who has been given the word „Sun“ to rhyme with. Sun-fun-gun-pun-done. Doesn’t make a good song, does it now? Or can we just talk about the lyrics „I hate to hate and I hate that. I hate my life so very bad“ from „Praise abort“ for a second. Such profound lyrics, blows my mind. (No, never, no.)

 Now, there is nothing wrong with shock value, I love shock value but it simply has to be done well. With Rammstein they have found the balance between vulgar content and putting it out there nicely but still in a way that makes people cringe a bit. With the side project Lindemann Till unfortunately fell short. The whole album comes off immature and somewhat ridiculous as if teenagers have been given the chance to write up as many profanities as they know to try and impress (and beat) their peers. Giggles.

 Same goes for the videos. They are still yucky as ever, it’s simply delightful.

 A video with disgusting bloody pig-men with no control over their earthly desires and it’s all infused with eloquent sarcasm. I mean, seriously, why use a condom when abortion is an option, right? Easier for the man! But is it now just a bit too much for your average middle-class human creature? With the in-your-face English lyrics a n d the shocking visuals? Then again, you must be an idiot if you have a weak stomach and think watching those videos (and listening to the music) is a good idea.


 Then we also have a video for “Fish On” where a tribe of hairy monster-creatures on a hunt for naked fairy-ladies, capturing them so they would generate electricity for them because they wish to have a private mosh pit in their basement. You know, casual. Basic even. Unfortunately there aren't more videos as it's a side project and they don't even plan on performing anywhere.

 So what can I say in conclusion? It is a solid album. A nice little snack between Rammstein albums for fans to snack on so they wouldn’t get too hungry (after all, the last Rammstein album came out seven years ago). But it’s no Rammstein. Which, clearly, is not the aim yet it’s so similar it’s bound to be compared and as Rammstein is perfection already.. This little side project just falls short. All in all I feel Till Should stick with what suits his grotesque lyrics best – German. But then that would defeat the purpose of a solo project as it would be (near) identical to Rammstein, wouldn’t it?

PS. Why am I only comparing it to Rammstein and not to PAIN? Because Rammstein > PAIN. That’s reason no 1. Reason no 2 is that when you have someone with a voice so distinct as Till Lindemann it’s automatically a Rammstein sound, no matter how hard you try to hide it. Reason no 3 – it’s always about the frontman, isn’t it.

 PPS. Yes, there are couple phrases in here that aren’t necessarily politically correct but Till Lindemann doesn’t give a shit about political correctness so why should I?

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