My Thoughts On: Rammstein

First off, this is kind of a new format we’d like to write. “My Thoughts On” is exactly what it says, we post our thoughts, our personal opinions about a subject and I’m starting with Rammstein.

Why Rammstein of all bands, you might ask. Well, you’ll understand why within the first couple of sentences. Let’s get it on after the jump.

To set the record straight right from the beginning on, I’m German. No, I’m not an American with German ancestors, I’m a real German. I was born in Germany 24 years ago and I’ve been living in Germany these past 24 years. Do you have to be German to enjoy Rammstein? No, but I’m getting into that a little bit later.

'Sehnsucht' was the first CD I bought

My love for Rammstein started in 1998. At the time, I heard a couple of their singles on TV and I decided to buy their album ‘Sehnsucht’. I remember it like it was yesterday, when I went to the recordstore. Yes, we still had a recordstore back then. A store that only sold vinyl, CDs and cassettes. ‘Sehnsucht’ was the first CD that I bought myself. That’s mainly because we only had a cassette player before. My first music cassette was David Hasselhoff’s ‘Looking for Freedom,’ yes I’m proving to be a real German here.

So when I got home and listened to this CD, I remember I was kind of stunned because at the time I haven’t heard much heavy music and this music including their lyrics was pretty much the heaviest thing on earth for me. Don’t forget that I was only 12 years old.

Nowadays, even though I’m not as crazy about their new output than I was when I was younger, Rammstein is still a band that I can fall back on. These past couple of years, I started to really appreciate Till Lindemann’s lyrics and that’s a German privilege. Sorry folks. Translating his lyrics to English just doesn’t do it. If you want to fully understand Rammstein, you have to learn to speak German. I’ve read a couple of translations and there are a couple of pretty good translations out there but none capture what’s really being said. Take ‘Los’ for example. This song features about 50 play on words, that simply doesn’t work in English because Lindemann’s playing with the German language.

Even besides the play on words and double meanings, their lyrics fascinate me. What band gets away with a modern version of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ‘Erlkönig’ or Heinrich Hoffmann’s ‘Die gar traurige Geschichte mit den Zündhölzern’ (‘Dalai Lama’ and ‘Hilf Mir’ respectively)? ‘Dalai Lama’ grew to be one of my favorite Rammstein songs and that’s one where you can go and read the translation.

I’d also like to point out ‘Spring,’ of ‘Rosenrot’. ‘Spring’ is a song about a guy climbing on top of a bridge. A crowd gets together as they see the man and scream “jump” to him. The man only wanted to enjoy the view from atop and tries to climb down again but the crowd pressures him back up. The speaker, who’s part of the crowd, climbs up behind the man and then kicks him down the bridge to save him from the disgrace of not jumping.

That’s just one of several examples of their lyrics. Rammstein tell stories in their lyrics and that’s what I love about them. They may not be the most technical band. Hell, a lot of people don’t even consider them to be metal, but I don’t care. Rammstein have been with me for the past 12 years and I’m sure they’ll still be with me in 12 years.

Maybe now you can understand why Germany goes crazy for Rammstein. You only get to enjoy the pyrotechnics, we get to understand the deeper meanings in their songs because we see the whole picture. With this in mind, spring.

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