Lindemann’s “Skills in Pills” – Album Review

Lindemann_Skills_in_Pills

Skills In Pills is the debut studio album by the band Lindemann, a European supergroup composed of German vocalist Till Lindemann (Rammstein) and Swedish multi-instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy and PAIN), it was released on 22nd June 2015 by Warner Music Group.

The album’s origin steamed from Lindemann’s desire to collaborate with Tägtgren:

“I planned to work with Peter on a song for a Pain record, and it turned into a record because we didn’t stop working.” – Till Lindemann [1]

While Tägtgren described the origin as:

“[Lindemann] was always a fan of Pain’s music. He wanted to do guest vocals on Pain songs but when I was free, he was busy and when he was free, I was busy, so it never worked out. So, finally we started to do one song, which was “Ladyboy”, and it was just like opening a funnel. The ideas just crawling out left and right and now we have 12 songs. It’s insane.” – Peter Tägtgren [2]

Resultantly the album became “two idiots clunking their heads together, and all this stupid things comes out of it,” according to Tägtgren[1]. Although Ladyboy was their first recorded song, they chose to go with Praise Abort as their first single for the album in 28th May 2015, with it followed by the second single Fish On on 9th October 2015.

The other tracks include the following:

51RC+WwFWFL

  1. Skills In Pills [4:13]
  2. Ladyboy [3:20]
  3. Fat [4:12]
  4. Fish On [4:12]
  5. Children Of The Sun [3:40]
  6. Home Sweet Home [3:45]
  7. Cowboy [3:11]
  8. Golden Shower [4:24]
  9. Yukon [4:45]
  10. Praise Abort [4:44]
  11. That’s My Heart [4:35]

 

 

 

 

 

The album has a standard length of forty minutes and twenty-six seconds, of course as with nearly every album in this day and age, there is a bonus track that requires you to buy the ‘Special Edition’ – the track in question is That’s My Heart, which adds the final album length to forty-five minutes and one second.

It may come as a surprise to some Rammstein fans to hear Till Lindemann sing entirely in English as opposed to German, considering his first foray with was with the song ‘Stripped’ for the 1998 album ‘Sehnsucht’. But it is a shock you will get over rather quickly, as Lindemann’s command and confidence with the English language has greatly improved since then.

Rammstein_-_Sehnsucht


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Now while the album received some criticism and condemnation for alleged pointless vulgarity and pointless obscenity, that has been described as “a debut album of God-awful, stomach-churning industrial shock rock”[3], however I do not believe this to be the case.

Yes, the songs Ladyboy, Golden Shower and Fat suggest open vulgarity with their respective themes of Kathoey (Thai: “Third Gender”), Urolagnia (of which the term Golden Shower is a euphemism) and Fat Fetishism or rather Feederism/Gaining.

But being distracted and put-off by these three songs is unfortunate, as while they are to an extent vulgar they are catchy and for the lack of a better word…fun. They are meant to be over-the-top, a effective refuge in audacity of musical entertainment.

Lindemann even viewed Fat as a love song, openly stating:

“Did you ever saw these documentaries of these “feeders”? These tiny guys feeding a really fat lady? And having this fetish, and this inspired me because it’s so unreal and so weird but on the other hand it’s so awesome because the guy, he doesn’t care. He likes it, and I think that’s great. It’s a totally different kind of love, because it’s not about aesthetics, beauty and a good-shaped body. It’s just pure love.” – Till Lindemann [1]

Also this limited view also denies you the joy of experience the other tracks and their more traditional thematic nature:

  • Skills In Pills: A reference to Lindemann’s youth in East Germany, where there was a noted difficulty of obtaining drugs for recreational use according to Lindemann. Thus many of the youth (Lindemann himself included) made their own cocktails from pills and medications, which he unsurprisingly stated that “You need skills to prepare the right cocktail. Otherwise, you can die or go stupid forever or become a Mongol [laughs]. Like never come back from the trip.”[1] Thus this track is the most obvious and blatant of a party song.
  • Fish On: A funny play on sexual conquest, drawing obvious comparisons to fishing and the cliché phrase “there’s plenty of more fish in the sea”.
  • Children Of The Sun: A surprisingly heartfelt track on death immortalised by the visualisation of the Mayfly, who are rather noted for their short lifespan that lasts rarely for more than twenty-four hours.
  • Home Sweet Home: A rather sombre lament to the slow death caused by cancer, some have taken the song to be in memorial to Lindemann’s father, the socialist children’s literature writer Werner Lindemann who died of stomach cancer.
  • Cowboy: A fairly humorous track that openly mocks the concept of traditional masculinity that has been immortalised by the Clint Eastwood and John Wayne styled cowboys. Carrying subtextual hints to male prostitution and stripping, its a funny and catchy song.
  • Yukon: Named for Yukon, the westernmost and smallest federal territory of Canada. The lyrics tackle the infamous migration called the Klondike Gold Rush, where an estimated 100,000 prospectors came to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899 to seek their fortune, however only a small handful succeed while the vast majority entered poverty or merely died.
  • Praise Abort: Arguably the most famous and infamous track considering it served as the first single with a rather visceral music video. For its simple imagery of swine and sexual vulgarity, the song plays an open mockery of the consequences of unprotected sex, as Lindemann in the guise of an anthropomorphic boar (male pig) and sow (female pig) who lament the costs of raising children.
  • That’s My Heart: A lamentable love song, conjuring imagery of the symbolic work or mining that is needed to break open the diamond that is one’s heart to love, be it one’s own or another’s unrequited love.

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Now is the album groundbreaking, the quick answer is no. But this is not to say thats its not fun, in its most basic form its Rammstein lyrics over Hypocrisy/PAIN music. Lindemann’s distinct bass-baritone is still present outside of his German and adopts an almost villainous quality to it in English, its deep and foreboding to a level that is quite enjoyable. Musically Tägtgren is beautifully heavy and provides a catchy and stomping-in-motion beat that one can easily get into the rhythm with. Lyrically its entertaining and funny, while some may feel it doesn’t match Lindemann’s Rammstein lyrics, that can simply be the fact they are not used to hearing it in English, the album finds a charming mixture between visceral imagery and sombre lamentation in terms of its lyrical content.

tumblr_np4cazS1eF1sgar86o10_400So to put it simply, its fun and enjoyable. While not every song may be your cup-of-tea, depending on your stomach level really…some may find it a bit much. Its not as bad as some claim, there has been far worse imagery to grace our imagination through music.

I would recommend getting the ‘Special Edition’ as much as I loath the concept of such a thing on the day-of-release, but the track That’s My Heart provides a nice breaking end to the mostly heavy album. But even if you don’t, the album easily fits its purpose as a fun and semi-bombastic party album, or even just a drinking album.

As my parting gift, here are some of the pictures that graced the album upon release:

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1. Kory Grow, ‘Sex, Pills & Metal: Rammstein Singer Till Lindemann on Filthy Solo LP’, in Rolling Stonehttp://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/sex-pills-metal-rammstein-singer-till-lindemann-on-filthy-solo-lp-20150622.

2. Jonathan Barkan, ‘[Interview] Peter Tägtgren On Lindenmann: “It’s A Party Album”‘, in Bloody Disgustinghttp://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3346752/interview-peter-tagtgren-lindemann-party-album/.

3. Sean Barry, ‘Lindemann – Skills in Pills’, in Consequence of Soundhttp://consequenceofsound.net/2015/06/album-review-lindemann-skills-in-pills/.


Copyrighted material used under Fair Use, and belong to their respected copyright holders.

Copyright © 2013 – 2016 Patrick Ward – All Rights Reserved.

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