Rammstein last week dropped another epic music video for their single “Zeit”. As always they have given us a masterful piece of mesmerising storytelling.
“Zeit” translate to time. Time in Rammstein’s video is presented as the Grim Reaper which when you look it at, he truly is. The most powerful piece of the video for me is the presence of the sands of time. As women are giving birth, the Grim Reaper takes hold of the babies giving us the haunting realisation that from the minute we are born, we are destined to die.
Till Lindemann throughout the song is asking time to stop, just to leave beautiful moments alone and tearing away our loved ones. But time is relentless.
Since Rammstein fell into my life (via my brother while I was dealing with a serious hangover), I’ve become a great admirer of their work. Even if lyrically some of their songs are not overly imaginative, the power they bring to visually showing their stories is amazing. I decided to look at some of my favourite videos and share my thoughts. These are in no order of favourites as they all bring their own unique taste to the songs they are portraying.
Keine Lust: Translated as No Desire, it is the fourth single from their album “Reise Reise” (2004). The video depicts the band meeting up for a reunion and they are all morbidly obese and aged. The only person who hasn’t aged and got fat is Flake. He arrives late to the performance within the parking garage, by the end of the video Flake stands up once everyone has left and then can’t sit back down. The video was nominated for an MTV EMA Award for best video in November 2005. The guys keep themselves in pretty good shape normally but it was drummer Christoph Schneider who came up with the idea. After spending a decent amount of time apart, he thought it was rather funny. He was right!
Mein Land: I think Mein Land was the first Rammstein video I came across before I became interested in them. I saw it while flicking through music channels, as I did most days after school at Grandma’s house on Kerrang (back when it was decent). I love the contrast in the video, a heavy industrial metal music over the top of a Beach Boys esk video. Towards the end of the video it transforms to modern day with fire breathers, head banging chicks and Rammstein setting fire to instruments as always. The single was released off the band’s Greatest Hits album in 2011 and the video was directed by Jonas Akerland. Jonas was the brains behind The Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up” video (which was banned by MTV) and has worked with U2, Metallica, Lady Gaga and many others. I love the guys being candid and having fun, and I must say, Till Lindemann gives David Hasselhoff a run for his money as a lifeguard!
Amerika: Another track from “Reise Reise”, released in September 2004, Amerika is poking fun at how America is involved with everything and anything going on throughout the world. They mention brands such as Coca-Cola, Wonderbra, Mickey Mouse and for some reason Santa Clause. The video shows the guys up in space and flickers between people across the world doing things relating to Americanisms eg. eating pizza and hamburgers to a muslim praying in front of an oil refinery before taking off his Nike sneakers to do so. I love how the video is shot especially the scenes on the moon and how the video ends with Richard Z Kruspe waving bye to the camera before it pulls out to reveal everything is on a film set.
Ich Will: This music video is beautifully shot but sadly was not seen for many months after by so many different tv channels due to its release date. The track came out September 10th 2001 and the video was due for release the next day in America, which of course was the day of the terrorists attacks on the twin towers. The video shows the guys robbing a bank with Flake being placed on the counter with a large bomb strapped to his chest. Till goes to another room to give a press conference while Richard causes a female bank teller to faint when she pushes the panic button. Richard dances with her lifeless body until Olli (Oliver Riedel, bassist) tells him the police and the press are all waiting for them outside. They continue to rob and vandalise the bank, as they step outside, a police force takes them down rather than being adored by the press and the media. When asked about the video, the band replied that it was about the demonstration of the media’s obsession with a good story, as well as an illustration of the immortality that can be achieved by those who commit wrongs”. Always a brilliant performance live.
Pussy: This video doesn’t leave much to the imagination! It is a fan favourite live, I mean, who wouldn’t want to get bubbles squirted on them by a mechanical penis ridden by Till? This video is once again brought to life by the insanely imaginative Jonas Akerland. The guys take part in some naughty naughty time with some gorgeous ladies, as the title would suggest and talks about sex tourism. Some of the lyrics are in english as well as german, creating a great contrast for the listener. For the “up close” and more personal shots, the guys used body doubles but the foreplay before hand was all them. The music video was first released online only for fans and a more daytime friendly version was edited to put out during the day.
Rosenrot: Rosenrot is a based on some poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and a story by the Brothers Grimm called SchneeweiBchen und Rosenrot (Snow White and Rose Red). Rosenrot translates to rose red, the lyrics tells of a man being asked by his lover to retrieve a rose from the mountain side but tragically falls to his death. The guys are travelling monks in this video, who come across this village celebrating and having a feast. Till is soon befriended by a young girl who over time manipulatesTill to murder her family. After the doing the deed, he comes out covered in blood and looks at the girl, who briefly smiles before screaming. The villagers and the other band members (dressed as monks) capture Till after beating him and led him to the stake to be burned alive. This sequence in in dispersed with scenes of the guys self flagellation which they actually did, if you watched the Making Of videos on their YouTube channel. Another beautiful if not slightly creepy bit of story telling.
Haifisch: Love a good pun ch up! In this video, the band is attending Till’s funeral and go through people to replace him, James Hetfield’s photo appears more than once so I presume that it is more than a firm choice. As the video progresses, each band member has suspicions of the other as to how Till has died. Each member thinks back to a part of previous music videos and how they murdered him. Richard steps outside for one of his smokes before being confronted by Paul (Landers, guitarist). They have a little punch up before the rest of the band comes along and joins in the fight. Somehow Flake gets pushed back into the grave and falls into Till’s coffin which reveals he’s not there. Till has faked his own death and is living it up on a beach somewhere. As always the weird and wonderful appears throughout this video, including Marilyn Manson being a funeral attendee, two women fighting over the casket and one lady peeing in the bushes before following the hearse.
Mein Herz Brennt: From the outset, this is a tale of nightmares with a narrator talking directly to the audience from the outset. The opening lines “Nun, liebe Kinder, gebt fein Acht. Ich habe euch etwas mitgebracht, meaning “Now, dear children, pay attention. I have brought something for you”, is hauntingly brought into frame by Till’s low vocal delivery. Throughout the video the images are from German children’s fairytales which are scary at the best of times add Rammstein to the mix and it is definitely the stuff of nightmares. Melanie Gaydos plays a few of the nightmarish creatures but she is so beautifully elegant. From the opening, to the dramatic violins, to the flame engulfed manor house at the end, it’s a story of truly epic proportions.
Deutschland: This video is over a staggering 9 minutes but it is truly outstanding. Deutschland tells the glorious history of Germania who is represented by german actress Ruby Commey. It covers all parts of Germany’s history from the Romans, to medieval times, the world wars and the holocaust. It was rather controversial upon its release in March 2019 but nonetheless, it reached number one in Germany, (their second number one after “Pussy” in 2009) and in Hungary and Switzerland. It was the band’s first new music video since “Mein Land” in 2011. I love the fact that Germania is always present, she never goes away and is behind everything that has happened in Germany’s history. The live show that followed the release of the album that I saw in July 2019, was mesmerising. The track was off the band’s Untitled seventh studio album, it was also nominated for Best Single by Kerrang.
Sonne: First single to be released off Mutter in 2001, Sonne (translates to Sun) took on the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The band are six dwarfs all mining gold to please Snow White who is a rather naughty lady. She snorts gold to give her a boost but one time she takes a bit too much and has a suspected overdose. The guys carry her coffin to the top of a snowy hill and mourn her death, as they leave, she wakes up to cause havoc on them all once again. The story for this video had over 40 ideas, including a boxer and the atomic bomb on Hiroshima which would have been more representative of the lyrics. Watch the Making Of video on YouTube to see how they made the guys look so small compared to the lofty Snow White.
You never quite know what you are going to get with these videos. My advice is to go over them a few times, you may find little wonderful or frightening nuggets of fun. I love how over the years their videos have continued to grow and the way that they tell their stories in such definitive and imaginative ways is amazing. Yes, you can say that they have a definitive sound, but don’t most bands. I will always be fascinated with Rammstein’s videos and how a small music video can tell a massive story in just a few minutes.
What do you think? Do you like Rammstein? Do you have a favourite video or song? Let me know in the comments!