Since Rammstein essentially became a household name and began taking longer breaks between albums (we’re currently at 6 years since the last one), other members are using the time to do other projects. Most notably, lead guitarist Richard Kruspe with his band Emigrate, and now vocalist Till Lindemann’s own project.
The first thing we’ll get out of the way is YES it is all in English, and not the native Deutsch (German), and NO, it actually isn’t weird. If you’ve ever listened to Engel or Du Hast in English… those were weird, and not a fun experience. Stripped, Amerika, those were a decent enough listen. So when we found out that this album would be in English, of course it’s understandable to be a little apprehensive, but I’m here to tell you that it works for this!
What doesn’t work, however, is a big portion of the lyrical content comes off goofy and child-like. He may have been still going for the shock value that Rammstein was always known for, but in English it only comes off as elementary. There ARE songs lyrically that are very good and it’s the more serious songs that come off the strongest.
That’s my only complaint, seeing as musically I really enjoy every song. So the lyrics now being all in English by Till, hearing the goofy stuff actually brings the music down overall.
The album starts off with an upper-mid-tempo kick in the ass in the album namesake, “Skills in Pills” which includes an almost dubstep breakdown in the middle of the song. Generally, the album could easily be a Rammstein album just not sung in German, but there are subtle little influences and nuances that make it just different enough (besides the obvious language thing).
All the electronic and keyboard elements that we love are still in place and the songs are all essentially straight forward 4/4 verse-chorus stuff so it’s digestibly catchy and heavy enough.
“Fat” is a song that demonstrates what I was talking about with the word choices. The music is awesome, especially with the Castlevania-like intro – Then you hear floppy butthole and fucking on frenchfries and it just kinda throws you off the course. “Fish On” could have gone down that path but thankfully it was more pun-related and metaphors, otherwise we’d be listening to smelly fish Vagina and his hard Dick catching something other than a good time. I’ll let “Ladyboy” off the hook (hehehe) but “Golden Shower” is not as it’s blatant as hell.
“Praise Abort”, I can imagine is the most controversial song of the album, not that that’s anything Till is unfamiliar with. It’s really no better than “Pussy” and it’s pretty immature in nature. It’ll piss off the people who don’t even listen to this type of music, and the ones that do will just shrug at it. I’m not offended by anything so I don’t care, but it really comes off as overly trying to being offensive on purpose and it’s just more annoying than even funny.
“Children of the Sun” is a more serious subject matter and is a slower and darker in tone musically, reminds me of the “Mutter” era, with “Home Sweet Home” fitting more with the “Reise Reise” style. “Cowboy” and “Yukon” are also in the interesting topic and good to listen to tunes.
“That’s My Heart” is probably my favorite song actually, and one of the more passionate songs you’ll ever hear from Till, certainly on this album. It’s a beautiful closing track.
I know I’m not alone in wishing that this would’ve came out atleast a couple years ago. Any longtime Rammstein fan would agree that we get antsy, and the fact it took 6 years just for Lindemann to be an entity, while awesome and fulfilling, only adds to Rammstein’s hiatus and new album taking that much longer.
Oh well it is what it is. Now let’s give credit to Till’s partner in this project, Peter Tagtgren from Hyprocrisy, and Pain. Peter recorded ALL of the instrumentation for the album AND produced and engineered it, plus mixed some of the songs and did some of the Orchestral arrangements. Major props.
Who knows when we may get a follow up album, but I know I’ll look forward to it. I hope they take more chances musically, and tone down the comedy/controversy. “Skills in Pills” is a solid album for sure, and it quenched a thirst.