After his solo album of the year 2010, Max Raabe, well-known German singer, has now recently released his new studio album One Cannot Kiss Alone.Raabe, who is famous for his faithful interpretations of songs of the Golden 20s, has now teamed up with another German artist – Annette Humpe. Usually appearing with her bandmate Adel Tawil from Ich+Ich, she’s now been the songwriter for Raabes whole album, which (to me) seems quite obvious after hearing it a few times.
The first song is the title track – Küssen Kann Man Nicht Alleine – a happy, witty piece with a lovely foxtrott rhythm to which one isn’t able to sit still. There is just a hint of the 20s flair but apart from that it has a unique style. Humpe’s songtext is well-written, the listener has the strange urge to listen more closely, longing for the next intelligent rhyme. Raabe sings flawless as ever, his pitch clear and his language well-pronounced.
In his second song we hear about a big social event with loads of national and international celebrities and politicians, where Raabe only has eyes for his companion – Ich Bin Nur Wegen Dir Hier (I Just Came Here For You). Once again, the lyrics go beautifully with the accompanying music, mainly strings and tuba – at times even descriptive (when Raabe sings about the Queen, a fanfare can be heard).
Du Weißt Nichts Von Liebe (You Don’t Know Anything About Love), on the contrary, is not at all a love song. Once again, the strings are dominant, it is a slow waltz to a rather sad, melancholic melody. Raabe addresses a beautiful woman who is apparently not able to show her feelings (if she has some at all) – the song is practically a breakup song, at times with very passionate, almost romantic outbursts played by strings, harp, cymbals and timpani.The fourth track is called In Geheimer Mission (On a Secret Mission) and Raabe simulates the secret agent 009, who is alone in the world without being able to lead a social life – sounds sad, but Raabe has such a sly smile in his voice that you will start smirking automatically. Here, in my opinion, it becomes extremely obvious that the whole music on the album is digitally recorded, thus we don’t hear “real” instruments, which I find a bit pitiful. I do know that Raabe performs with the Palast Orchester when he’s on tour, but nontheless…Täglich Besser (Better Every Day) is once again a love song, Raabe sings to someone who has helped him out of a depression or a very low phase. Apart from the chorus, the lyrics are quite gloomy, even if the music does not imply this. There is a part where a harpsichord is playing, which sounds a bit odd to me, too royal.Half time! Eifersüchtiger Mann (Jealous Man) – the title says is all. Max Raabe apologises to his beloved for his jealousy, remorseful. The whole track seems a bit cheesy, probably deliberately, Raabes voice, lyrics and the melody are reminding me of German Schlager music, guitar plucking in the background.
As a counterpart to Täglich Besser the album supplies us with Die Krise (The Crisis) – a story that tells us of the life before Raabes friend helped him out of his dark times. The Crisis is here a personification who comes and moves in with Raabe, who is then full of self-doubt, but in the end frees himself.
The following song, Doktor, Doktor (Doctor, Doctor), is the story about a man who is very shy with women and therefore visits a doctor to prescribe him something. The very Bavarian music fits the setting of Lake Constance.
One of the weaker songs of this album, so I think, is Wenn Ich Du Wär (If I Were You). The melody is quite monotonous, one can easily be distracted by something else while listening to it. The content is mainly about someone who is apparently to shy to tell his partner about his feelings, he feels misunderstood and sad. For me this song is just a little too mainstream, without real highlights.
Also Mit Dir Möcht’ Ich Immer Silvester Feiern (You’re The One I Want To Spend Every New Year’s Eve With) is weaker than the other songs on the album, it’s nice, yes, but nice is not always what I’m looking for. I think there are better love songs on this album.
For example Krank Vor Liebe (Ill with Love): the lyrics are funny, the tune is catchy, romantic in a pleasant way. And I daresay you can hear it in Raabe’s voice, he really sounds like he is enjoying the song.
The last song is called Schlaflied (Lullaby) and can be used for both lover or child. Animals are being described how they get tired around the globe. A really sweet lullaby, with the obligatory chimes.
All in all Raabe’s album is a success – it has reached rank 3 in the German album charts by now, which is quite unusual, as we Germans tend to buy albums by foreign artists. It’s a different Raabe than most of us are used to, a more modern, more romantic one. If you’re not too much into the 20s music but you like Raabe’s voice in general, this might just be the right album for you – a light hearted, easy-going work of art with a modern spirit and a classic style.
I personally miss the subtle humour in the lyrics which one could find in his covers, but of course always the same would be boring after a while.
So, phew, my first CD review. I was not sure at first whether to comment on every single track, but in the end I found it better like this, don’t you?