Music album review: Anders | Fahrenkrog Two (Polydor München, 2011)
- Gigolo (03:20)
- No More Tears On The Dancefloor (03:36)
- Summer Of Love (02:45)
- Wicked Love (03:37)
- Mr Moon (03:53)
- Nathalie (03:17)
- Stay (03:17)
- Hit Or A Miss (03:20)
- Why Do You Cry (03:39)
- Maria (03:29)
- Army Of Love (02:47)
- I Miss You (03:40)
I have been waiting for over a year for the album Strong to come out in Germany and not just Russia, but still nothing. Then, on yet another futile attempt at trying to see if it was available on Amazon.de (actually, to begin with, I was looking to see if they had any Wide Sargasso Sea adaptations on DVD, but they didn’t – instead, I ended up ordering the most recent version off eBay), I came across this album. So it’s Thomas Anders and … some bloke called Fahrenkrog, who’s a complete stranger to me. Looking him up, it seems he’s a songwriter and producer and what have you. (Looks very German somehow, doesn’t he?) He’s also a blonde, or dyed blonde, so how can I put this mildly? A Dieter Bohlen substitute? Hopefully one with a slightly smaller ego and better grasp of the English language, eh? 😉
Didn’t sneak a listen to see what the songs would be before I bought the album, because as a fan, you’re sort of obliged to buy your favourite artist’s latest creations regardless. Listened to it in the car on the way to work, and after three songs, I had already established that okay, it’s not Modern Talking … but it’ll do. On the way home, I listened to the other tracks and decided that yeah, it would definitely do.
As both names are on there, I expected duets or something like that, but as it turned out, the lead vocalist is Thomas Anders – Fahrenkrog (or Jörn-Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen to be precise) is just on backing vocals and has written most of the songs. Incidentally, I saw a video on YouTube as well – Fahrenkrog uses one of those handheld keyboards much like Dieter Bohlen did with a guitar, which amused me no end. The English description on their website (which is a misnomer – most of the links just take you to their Facebook page) says:
The musical concept of the two superstars is straightforward and song-oriented. Modern dance and electronic sounds are mixed with glorious 80’s bonds at a sparkling musical cocktail. The result is a “Wall of Sound”, which is only topped by the extraordinary voice of Thomas Anders. It is the catchy melodies of the truths in pop songs, which combine with the vocal qualities of a Thomas Anders created this wonderful feeling.
Thomas Anders said: “Uwe and I wanted to transform the best of the eighties and Nena to present time. I think we managed this quite good. My voice and brilliant songs of the sound magician Fahrenkrog-Petersen has created a truly stunning and modern pop album.”
They totally just ran the German text through Google Translate! The translation I did (before I realised it said “English version” below, duh) looks identical. But anyway. Having read that description now, I agree. It’s modern dance and electronic music starring Thomas Anders behind the microphone and the songs have proper melodies and everything. I was pleasantly surprised.
Their first album together, Two, was released 10 June this year, with Gigolo as first single, which only went as high as #40 in the singles charts, from what I can tell. The sound was described in an article as sounding “a lot like Modern Talking in the late ’90s” – and well, hence my phrase – it’s not quite Modern Talking, but it’ll do! Fahrenkrog and company have created some great, catchy songs here, and anything sung by Thomas Anders automatically has my vote, because yes, I really am that devoted to the poor man. Been that way for 13 years now! (OMG, 1998 was a long time ago!!!)
If I have any criticism, it’s that the image presented of these two guys is a bit … hrm, well, let’s face it, Fahrenkrog turned 50 in March, and Anders is only three years younger. The whole young women thing is starting to look a bit … sad. You’re not 30 anymore, you know! (Still, both look really well for their ages. Especially the dark-haired one, har har. Once again, the blonde one doesn’t really do it for me. :P) Also, I’m wondering why the need is to use this sort of image when it’s so far from who Thomas Anders actually is as a person, which is one of the reasons I admire him. Oh well.
The songs themselves, both Why Do You Cry and I Miss You are listed as being produced in Russia, and I know Why Do You Cry was the first single from the album Strong. Does this mean they’re not going to bother releasing Strong in Germany? 🙁 …Which is not a problem anymore, seeing as I just found it on eBay for a reasonable price. Hah!
Biggest surprised on the album was Stay. It’s a cover of the Shakespeare’s Sisters song! When I pointed this out to the Squeeze in the car, he wondered who was singing, and I said Thomas Anders. He looked puzzled for a moment and then said, “but it’s a woman singing?” Oh if I had a penny every time … Then again, when I first heard Modern Talking on the radio I didn’t think much about it, but I was rather surprised when I first saw them on TV.
It’s surprising how quickly certain songs manage to get into your head. Why Do You Cry is one of them, but I’ve heard it a few times now as the video is on the interwebs and all. I’ve only heard No More Tears On The Dancefloor twice when I write this and I already know at least part of the chorus. (Speaking of which – no high choruses here, because this really isn’t Modern Talking, and I’m not going to mourn the loss of high choruses.) So well done there. Also, I like the melancholy sound of that song. Probably my favourite so far. Probably. Think it was released as a single just the other day.
Overall, I’m positive. It’s a good album. Nice songs, nice sound, modern and up my alley. Fahrenkrog is definitely a worthy replacement of musical partner and the voice of Thomas Anders is still wonderful. Lyric-wise, yeah, it’s not exactly intellectually heavy, but I have never really minded that anyway, but they’re less catchphrasey than anything ever penned by Bohlen. Anyway, hopefully we’ll see more of the Anders | Fahrenkrog collaboration in the future. The Gentleman of Music is back, and he’s brought a new friend. And it’s still brilliant!
4.8 out of 5 rabid Modern Talking fans on YouTube fuming over how Fahrenkrog is not Bohlen and how that is a crime and how much it sucks. (Look, MT isn’t getting back together one more time, so let’s just be happy for the next best thing, shall we?) It doesn’t get a full 5/5 because I’m not keen on the ballads. Nothing new there, then! 😀
P.S. Is “She makes me pull my trigger” a euphemism? If it is, it’s kinda squicky.