Boulevard der Sehnsucht

I can only offer general impressions of Kröger's first album; as someone who usually hates (and therefore rarely listens to) pop/rock, I don't know enough about it to offer detailed criticism. However, I find myself listening to this album regularly, despite my prejudice against this style of music in general, and overall I feel it's considerably better than Favourites. Of course, all the songs are written by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, the creators of Elisabeth, so it's not too surprising that I like them.

Boulevard der Sehnsucht cover

Some general observations....Throughout, Kröger sounds fabulous--as expected. And in a way, this album vaguely reminds me of Anthony Warlow's Back in the Swing, in that both performers give the impression that they were just having a lot of fun recording their respective albums. For instance, Kröger uses some typical-rock-star-vocalising things that are cute and fun if looked at as mimicking and making fun of such rock stars, but which I personally would find annoying if I had to take them seriously. In any case, one of the things I like most about him--and another trait he shares with Warlow--is his strong feeling for the music, beyond just singing the rhythms that are written on the page, and this wonderful sense of phrasing is very much present on Boulevard. Aside from Kröger himself, I have to say that there isn't a single song out of the twelve that I always skip, although of course I like some more than others. The music contains more sax and strings than one would expect from a pop album, and there are several places where I really like the lyrics (usually for the sentiments expressed).

Boulevard der Sehnsucht is enjoyable, as much for the fun of recognising the celebrities mentioned within as for anything else. This is one of the tracks with a lot of saxophone; in addition, it occasionally gives us a chance to hear a bit more of Kröger's lower range than we normally do, which is definitely nice. All in all, a strong opening for the album, and one of my favourite songs from it.

Engel in Schwarz is something I could imagine hearing on the radio over here (if it were in English), but not bad anyway. The music is a bit too clearly divided between verse and chorus for my tastes; there's a definite difference between the two, almost as if they belong to different songs, which I find mildly annoying, but in general this song has grown on me.

Ich denk' an Dich was one of my early favourites from the album, as much for Kunze's " sweet!" lyrics as anything else. Perhaps the chorus is a bit too upbeat, but I like the sentiments behind it (and, for some completely undefinable reason, the way Kröger says "solange jemand glaubt an ihn") enough to overlook that.

Next comes a complete change of pace: Siebzehn Stufen sounds like it came straight out of the '50s, a bubble-gum song if ever I heard one! Complete with a pseudo-a capella section at the end.... It also, however, gives Kröger a chance to perfectly capture the bounciness of the song's style within the melody line. I can think of quite a few performers who would completely fail to do so, in which case I probably wouldn't be able to listen to it; it's amazing what great musicality on the performer's part can do for a song. In addition, I simply like the sound of some of the lines, particularly "zu stolz, um zuzugeben"; all those "zu"s are just too much fun!

Böse Jungs is one of the songs where Kröger is most rock-star-like. Seen as a parody (which is how I choose to think of it), it can actually be a lot of fun, however. Amusing, at least...and impossible to take seriously.

Wenn Du mich liebst has grown to be my favourite song from this album. Another very sweet song...and the first that can really be called a ballad. Nice piano accompaniment, which remains dominant even when the other instruments come in. Perhaps it would sound better set just slightly lower in Kröger's range, but that's really the only criticism I can think of--and it's a minor one, at that, since even I can't decide if I really feel that way, sometimes.

For several months, Flieh mit mir failed to make an impression on me. I enjoyed it while listening to it, but frequently forgot it even existed. Lately, though, for some reason I've found it running through my head at the oddest times...

Atlantis didn't make a good first impression, but I've since come to like it a great deal. It seems like an odd song to be included on a pop album, but it grew on me. I particularly like certain phrases in the melody, and the choral part of the chorus. Plus, it's another gentle song, which is a nice break from all the upbeat numbers.

That's followed by Liebe, Geld & Rock'n Roll, or, as I like to call it, Uwe Kröger Goes Rock. Like Böse Jungs, this song can only be a parody, IMO. Especially the jump up to falsetto for one note in each verse; I can't decide if that's cute, or just plain scary. It's definitely hilarious, though....

Requiem, I'm sad to say, just doesn't work for me. I don't absolutely hate it, but it's all wrong. I mean, a song called "requiem" shouldn't be upbeat, but this one is. Decidedly. Ah well. Not even Kunze and Levay can be perfect....

Even more than Atlantis, Afrika doesn't feel like it belongs on this particular album (although I'm not sure which surprised me more the first time I heard it, this or Siebzehn Stufen). It's unusual, but I've come to almost like it anyway. It's another gentler song, musically--or at least, it's not Requiem. Which can only be a good thing, IMO.

I have absolutely no idea how to describe Willkommen im Neonpalast, except for "bizarre". Really, really strange. But...interesting, at least to me. In an odd, mildly annoying, and, well, bizarre sort of way. At least it's different.

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