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Humanoid: Newest Offering from Tokio Hotel

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

The newest CD, Humanoid, from German rock quartet Tokio Hotel hit stores world-wide in early October of 2009. Despite delays caused by aggressive stalker-fans and threats against family, the band made it back to the studio to complete recording. And it was well worth the wait.

Tokio Hotel was formed in Magdeburg, Germany in 2001, and is comprised of twins Tom and Bill Kaulitz, guitar and vocals, and Georg Listing and Gustav Schafer, bass and drums.

Darker in feel than previous releases Schrei and Zimmer 483, it offers a sophisticated mix of techno, rock and the indescribable sound that belongs only to Tokio Hotel. Lead singer Bill Kaulitz's emotion packed and charismatic voice is still there, along with the hard driving guitar of his brother Tom, but the songs on this CD offer a more cohesive, elegant and grown up version of their sound.

Tokio Hotel is growing up, and this album is a clear progression for them, in both content and style. Never ones to maintain the status quo, either in music or personal style, they take us in a new direction with Humanoid.

While many themed albums never fulfill their potential, Humanoid succeeds at exploring the humanoid, sci-fi, alien theme without over-doing it. The title track, Humanoid, perfectly represents this: it shifts smoothly between synthesized "humanoid" sections of Bill's voice and his lovely "human" voice, and between humanoid to human styles and lyrics as well.

The alien/humanoid theme also represents the all too human conditions of wanting to belong, but not fitting in; wanting to be included, but feeling alienated; seeking the perfect love, but coming up empty handed. Or in World Behind My Wall, looking out and longing to be out as well. This is easily the most beautiful song on the album; Bill puts his heart and soul in every note on this track.

There are recurring themes running through many Tokio Hotel songs and this album continues those: love accompanied by pain; true love can save; and always, be yourself, regardless of what others think, and scream out your dreams. Noise, the opening track, is a grown up version of the teen anthem Scream, and where Scream told you that you'd be if you didn't listen the first time; your mind broken, your dreams unfilfilled. And if looking for the meaning of life isn't what you want in a song, just turn up the volume and rock out.

This album is well crafted, mixing musical textures, multiple styles and mesmerizing intros, but never becoming predictable or repetitive. As always, the use of additional instruments, in this case strings and keyboard, provides solid backing and support for Bill's soaring voice. Dark Side of the Sun uses strings to perfection and as always, they compliment Bill's voice.

All of the tracks offer something unique, whether in lyrics or style: Human Connect to Human is a fun dirty song as only Bill can sing a fun dirty song; Zoom Into Me is sweet and lovely, almost a lullaby for adults; Pain of Love starts with a pounding beat and carries that through the rest of the song. Each track starts with unusual and mesmerizing intros that weave throughout the song, keeping each track individual and unique, while keeping all the tracks working together.

There is a English/German double CD set available in the States for those of us who like our Tokio Hotel in their native language. It's always a pleasure to listen to Bill sing in his excellent English, but there's also something to be said for hearing him sing in German.

So along with innovative new music, there are plenty of new German words to learn as well on Humanoid. It's worth it to get the double CD for those of us taking our German lessons from Tokio Hotel.

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