A big reason Rammstein is on our Weird 100 List at all—let alone at No. 1, a spot they’ve occupied for several months now—is because of their music videos, which range from the absurd to the action-packed to the downright disturbing. So it’s about freakin’ time they compiled all their greatest clips into a single collection. That collection, Videos 1995-2012, arrives Jan. 15th and features over seven hours of Rammstein visuals, including 25 music videos and 24 behind-the-scenes clips. If anyone makes it through the whole thing in one sitting, let us know. Me, I’ll be sticking to lighter fare like Walking Dead and Intervention marathons.
To celebrate the arrival of this monumental collection, Rammstein have released two new videos for the previously video-less 2001 track, “Mein Herz brennt.” The first, a piano-only remake of the song, just features frontman Till Lindemann emoting for the camera in what appears to be Joker makeup and a black strapless evening gown. The second…well, just watch the clip and see for yourself. You might not wanna watch it alone, though.
For more on Videos 1995-2012, visited Rammstein.de.
“Mein Herz brennt” (piano version):
“Mein Herz brennt” (full version):
Hey, remember that asshole who shot up a Dark Knight Rises screening back in July? Know who that guy’s favorite bands were? I don’t either, because here’s the thing: The media never reported it. We know he booby-trapped his apartment the night of the shootings and blasted what has been described as a “techno song that sounded like it included gunshots” on an endless loop—an attempt, apparently, to lure the neighbors into breaking down his door and thereby blowing the place up. We even know from his Match.com profile that he was into techno and electronic music, but hated dubstep. (Wow, dubstep, even mass murderers hate you now. Talk about a backlash.)
But the media response to those details has been a giant collective shrug. No one’s even bothered to find out what the song was he tried to kill his neighbors with. They’d rather psychoanalyze his other dating profile on Adult Friendfinder and his obsession with comic book characters, because apparently that is all somehow more germane to this horrible tragedy than the fact a grad school dropout had access to enough automatic weapons to shoot 70 people in a matter of minutes.
I harp on the whole music thing because this past week, a thankfully much more inept gunman showed up on the first day of school with his stepfather’s antique shotgun and blew a hole in a kid with Down syndrome. And within 24 hours, the New York Daily News was reporting on the story with this headline: “Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school was heavy metal misfit obsessed with Rammstein and Manson Family.”
Granted, the alleged Baltimore shooter’s Facebook page (which, somewhat shockingly, is still up) does feature a prominent photo of Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann, looking slightly deranged as is his wont. So the whole Rammstein connection was pretty much handed to the media on a big silver social media platter. But you would think the better headline might be, oh I don’t know, “Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school lived in a house full of guns with a criminal stepdad.”
So, to recap: Crazed, costumed gunman listens to techno—no big whoop. Crazed, shotgun-toting 15-year-old listens to Rammstein and Marilyn Manson—stop the presses!
Look, America, I get it: Heavy metal and industrial music are scary. Especially when sung in German. But there is zero correlation between listening to bands like Rammstein and going out and shooting people. Zero. None. If there were, Germany, where the band is far more popular, would be a Mad Max-like hellscape full of lunatics in black trench coats marauding through the streets and shooting everything in sight. But it’s not. 99.99% of all Rammstein fans can listen to a song like “Ich tu dir weh” (“I Want to Hurt You”) and not actually go out and hurt anyone. It’s sorta like how the rest of us can listen to a song like Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and not actually abandon our wife and kids.
Sooner or later, we as a society are going to have to stop blaming all this gun violence on music and cosplay and what ever other horseshit our sensationalist media latches onto and look at the main cause, which is easy access to guns. Until we can beef up enforcement of background checks and reinstate some kind of federal ban on assault weapons, these kind of incidents will continue to happen with far too much regularity. Blaming it all on a handful of provocative musicians is like blaming speeding on Sammy Hagar.
I know this is a divisive issue, so I expect a lot of you readers to passionately disagree with me about gun control. That’s fine. Leave your pro-Second Amendment comments below and we can continue the debate. But I hope we can at least all agree that dragging Rammstein into this conversation again (the same thing happened, you may recall, after Columbine) is almost as dumb as bringing a shotgun to school.
Welcome to the first-ever Weirdest Band in the World playlist, kids. In keeping with what seems to already be the dominant theme of 2012–that according to some ancient Mayan prophecy, the world is going to end before next Christmas–we decided to go for a festive yet apocalyptic theme. Armageddon itself will no doubt suck, but the parties leading up to it? Fucking epic.
The playlist is up now on Spotify, courtesy of Andy, our resident DJ and aural mixologist. You can access it here via this nifty website we recently discovered called ShareMyPlaylists.com.
1. tUnE-yArDs, “You Yes You”
2. Primus, “Tragedy’s a’Comin’”
3. Social Climbers, “That’s Why”
4. Yip-Yip, “Anarchist Clog”
5. Mr. Bungle, “Ars Moriendi”
6. The Residents, “Boxes of Armageddon”
7. Laibach, “Two of Us”
8. Rammstein, “Du Hast”
9. Super Geek League, “Here Come the Cops!”
10. The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, “If We Go”
11. The Books, “Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again”
12. Tobacco, “Tape Eater”
13. Wagon christ, “Sentimental Hardcore”
14. Die Antwoord, “Fish Paste”
15. Brokencyde, “Dis Iz a Rager Dude”
16. Sir Ivan, “For What It’s Worth (FORD Rock Dance Radio Edit)”
Did you miss the link? Here it is again. Happy listening!
Like a lot of Americans, I never heard of Rammstein until they were all over the news as one of the favorite bands of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, a.k.a. the kids who shot up Columbine High School in 1999. A yearbook photo even surfaced of Harris wearing a Rammstein T-shirt. Apparently, this German industrial band was the Embodiment of Pure Evil and had somehow influenced (along with Marilyn Manson and KMFDM) these impressionable Colorado kids to join the “Trenchcoat Mafia” and go on one of the most horrific shooting sprees in U.S. history. At least that was what the hyperbolic, ham-brained, frothing-at-the-mouth morons who pass for mainstream media in this country would have had you believe. (Sorry, Rest of the World. We’re not all as idiotic as Fox News, I swear.)
Since then, I’ve come to learn that while yes, Rammstein can be a little dark, they aren’t in the habit of encouraging their fans to go on shooting rampages. They’re pretty much just your average metal/industrial band, except they sing everything in German—which, to a certain conservative strain of Middle America, automatically makes everything they do terrifying. Not because they’re German, per se—in Middle America, all foreign languages are terrifying. We Americans aren’t so good with the whole foreign language thing. It’s why when we travel abroad, we yell at your waiters in slow, over-enunciated English.
I’ve also come to learn that, actually, there’s nothing “average” about Rammstein’s version of brutal, Teutonic hard rock. Their music and their stage shows tend to be bigger, louder and more bombastic than pretty much all of their peers, in Germany (where the term “Neue Deutsche Härte”—”New German Hardness”—was coined to describe bands like Rammstein and Oomph!) and elsewhere. The word “Wagnerian” gets used to describe them a lot. Their shows feature over-the-top props like giant, foam-shooting penises and pyro—lots of pyro. Lead singer Till Lindemann is actually a certified pyrotechnician, which must come in handy when the band does stuff like this.
But the coolest thing about Rammstein—and the thing that really earns them an entry here on TWBITW—is that they’re funny. This sometimes seems to get lost in translation, for obvious reasons—but then again, can anyone really watch their “Amerika” video and not get the joke? Judging from the YouTube comments, apparently the answer is “yes.” Oh, my fellow Americans. Y’all need to lighten up.
Fortunately, for the irony-challenged among us, Rammstein just released a new video to promote Made In Germany 1995-2011, their first greatest-hits album. (Yes, they have hits. They’ve sold over 15 million records worldwide, in fact. So color us clueless for having never heard of them prior to Columbine.) It’s for a new song called “Mein Land,” it was directed by Jonas Åkerlund (whose other credits include Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and the Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up”) and it’s awesome. It’s a German industrial beach party! (Stay with it till the 3:33 mark; that’s when it takes a real turn for the, uh, Härte.)
- New Rammstein video collection coming soon, with two new videos for “Mein Herz brennt”
- Earth to American news media: Rammstein doesn’t kill people. Guns do.
- Weirdify Playlist 1: Happy New Year! We’re All Gonna Die.