CD Review: Tokio Hotel / Humanoid
Reviewed by: Stacie Caddick-Dowty
Make sure to sit down when you first listen to “Humanoid”, glam-emo rock band Tokio Hotel’s 4th studio release. Like a prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box, each and every track offers up its own little surprise. Piano tracks, lead vocalist Bill Kaulitz singing in a falsetto, marching snare drum, synthesizer reminiscent of the 80’s, techno synth, complete with the modern trick of the year: voice distortion with the synthesizer. Tokio Hotel is still a young band, and their music can be very simple. However, simple does not translate to boring, in fact just the opposite! These guys are wizards at keeping things new and exciting, whether in music styling or fashion and hair. (My favorite Bill hairdo is still the lion mane, and I’m not afraid to say that I’m not a big fan of the newest, the mohawk.)
Opening with a bang “Noise” is reminiscent of Depeche Mode of the late 80’s, the synthesizer is quick to take you there, that is if you are old enough to remember who Depeche Mode is. Like most of the Tokio Hotel songs to date, these guys are sending a message. Silence is not the answer, stand up and be heard and speaking your mind is the only way to go. I envision a young teenage girl finally stepping from her comfort zone and shedding her shell and emerging, free to finally be herself. “Noise” isn’t the only song that seems to have the undertones of Depeche Mode, “Human Connect to Human” has the bass line which sounds close to “Personal Jesus”, and on “Dog’s Unleashed” Bill’s voice actually sounds like Dave Gahan for a line or two. It’s kind of crazy, but darn it, it works!
“Hey You” is a big arena rock sing along. I can see thousands of women and girls stomping their feet and shouting along with at their live shows. Never to be silent again! Speaking out to those that they feel have made them feel inferior . Get mad, speaking your mind, let it out! “World Behind My Wall” and “Darkside of the Sun” seem to scream radio play, I wouldn’t doubt if one of these might be their next single. “Automatic” is the first single from the album in which Bill’s falsetto is surprising and fun. The realistic side of me is wondering how they’ll pull these new sounds off in a live setting. I hope they can pull it off. I believe they need to earn some credibility. I’d love to see them show the masses and not use prerecorded enhancements or voice overs, but say “Look what we can do!”
The album closes with “Zoom Into Me” the ballad of the album. Sure to make their fans all (for lack of a better word) gooey inside. What does “Zoom Into Me” mean? Lean on me? Run to me?
“I know you’re scared
When you can’t breathe
I will be there
Zoom into me”
Some of the German to English translations make me laugh, but you still get the meaning of the song that is presented. I have a feeling this is going to be picked apart by some critics, I believe its par for the course when translating songs and trying to keep the music and intonation true to the original. So for that matter, I say “Zoom Into Me”!
The growth and development of these guys has changed slightly from teenage boys to young men who are honing their craft. I anticipate more over the years from them. Even though this may be their fourth studio release, they are merely in their early 20’s, and have lots more growing to do, and I’ll be here to experience it.
Head over to Tokio Hotel’s Myspace now for an exclusive listen of their album Humanoid.