Review Summary: Idiocy is not an art form.
There are some unwritten rules in music business. For instance you must not say that you're bigger than The Beatles, mostly because you would inevitably imply that you're bigger than Jesus. And we all know that no one is bigger than the guy who showed us that it is a lot easier to walk on water than to walk while carrying a cross. Of course there's a lot of other stuff too. Something about not constantly talking *** about your own fans, there's the rule that you have to cover Dylan at some point and quite understandable, you just don’t destroy the stage after you've only played two songs.
I think it's rule #23 that says, the frontman of a successful band will sooner or later do some solo stuff. There are some exceptions to that rule, but there is a general tendency towards it. It isn't that much of a surprise really. While the frontman might not be the most talented guy a band has to offer, he usually writes the lyrics and more importantly he sings. And what is easier to recognize than a distinctive voice? If you're Till Lindemann and sang on six Rammstein records the way he did, then you can be damn sure that people will recognize your voice in a second. So at least it is understandable why "Skills In Pills"
happened, not why it had to be so atrocious though.
To clear just one thing up before we take care of the music, since Till doesn't do much more than sing, he needed a guy for all the other stuff, so this doesn't end up as an a cappella record. He found Sweden's Peter Tägtgren to make sure that there's enough industrial rock stuff going on in the background. That actually suggests that Lindemann doesn’t sound all that different from Rammstein and in a way that is right. It's still roaring guitars, keys and synths ranging from coldly metallic to supposedly atmospheric and the characteristic deep vocals. As great as that might sound for any fan of Rammstein's music, the duo somehow managed to amass all the worst parts of that band's sound and cram it into these ten songs. Overall the record is designed to do one thing, follow in the footsteps of Pussy
. So it is effectively an album full of nonsensical rock with a dance vibe and cheap electronics that should somehow form into party metal, but never does. Instead most of the stuff on here is tiring, misled and goofy in one of the worst ways. No matter if it's Fish On
or the pretty much insufferable Fat
, the heavy guitar work feels old after half a minute and lacks any necessary power and variation to really draw one in. It's the same thing with most of the drumming and, as diverse as they are, almost all of the electronic parts. There's just no life in here and even if there is, it doesn’t dare to offer more than the bare minimum concerning variation.
All that is disappointing, but so far the undoubtedly biggest issue with "Skills In Pills"
hasn't even come up. Till Lindemann might have stuck to one unwritten rule, but while he did that he also blatantly ignored another one: Don't write songs in a language you don't speak!!! Now it definitely takes guts to admit you can't even write a proper e-mail in English and then deliver an album full of English lyrics. If you combine this "achievement" with Lindemann's evident passion for sex in all its forms and other banalities, the results are impressively horrific. I mean, goddamn, the useless allegory of Fish On
might just be the worst euphemistic take at sex since AC/DC released Let Me Put My Love Into You
. And it doesn't end there. While Fat plays with some, in the beginning mildly interesting, classical influences it also tells us how much he loves to “love” a fat woman. Ladyboy
is properly summed up by its title as is Golden Shower
. The latter one though, that thing is just remarkably brainless:
Please stand up, pink hairy sky
I creep down and wait, wait for you to cry
Let me sip again
Give me more champagne
Be my human Eiffel tower
Give me, give me golden shower
Why, honestly why? It's almost a bit of a shame, cause that track is one of the very few Tägtgren actually managed to keep vital in way, thanks to the frantic riffing and its quite chaotic sound. But one can't just ignore those lines, it’s downright impossible.
Of course the music could draw the attention away from Lindemann's lyrics, it just doesn't. Most of it sounds just as dull as the lyrics, doesn't get to a point where it could really entertain you. Even in those moments when sex isn't everything it gets only that much better. Children Of The Sun
starts out with a strong metal riff, but has nothing else to offer apart from a lazy piano bridge and a lukewarm vocal performance by Lindemann. Yukon
tries to break out of this mess with a calmer, more organic sound. That works at least partly, piano and string arrangements are a little bit of fresh air amidst all the "dance metal". Still this is not it, it's just not good.
But to end on a positive note, there is one really great moment on here. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to start the album with the by far best thing the duo has to offer. Skills In Pills
shows how this collaboration could have worked out, if done right, being fierce and playful at the same time, offering a great hook and pretty much the only vocal performance by Lindemann that at least comes close to what he was capable of in his prime. And believe it or not, even the drug lyrics aren’t nearly as bad as most of the other stuff. In fact, besides the passable single Praise Abort
it is the only track here that manages to be entertaining without making you regret it because of its insufferable lines.
So, yeah, don't listen to this. Usually there is a clearly defined target group even for bad records, but as it is, "Skills In Pills"
isn't even the fun and entertaining party record it wants to be, let alone anything more. Instead it's just a bunch of lacklustre and more importantly stupid as hell songs that don't get to a point, where stupid could be kind of interesting again. Maybe it really is just that Lindemann felt the need to switch to English lyrics, on the other hand even musically there isn't much worthwhile to discover, seeing that Tägtgren's work in the background is most of the time defined by laziness, repetition and rather strange sound choices. Therefore, take a look at the cover, think about what it tells you and you might come to the same conclusion: This shouldn't exist.
- Skills In Pills
- (Praise Abort)