I bought a new CD today: “Große Freiheit” the latest album by Unheilig. Two word? Fucking Awesome!
The CD centers around the sea and freedom at sea. A wonderful topic, espescially as I love the sea. Being at or on sea is the only place where I truly feel free, and with all songs centering around this, the album strikes a very special chord within me. (Hand me some tissue, will you?)
(It became a monster post – please click more…)
Das Meer (The sea): The opener of the album. Starting some accordion, piano and a singer, who is hardy understandable, serveral foghorn’s blows sets the start signal for the album. I have the strange feeling, that I actually know the song, but I can’t find a title. After the foghorn the regular instruments – piano, guitar – enter. With the original song slowly fading into the background. With the foghorn the sound of waves can be heard. The music contains heavy forward pushing meldoy for horns and the lyrics invite the listener to come to the sea, board a ship and start a journey to new land. Towards the end of the intro, a male choir’s “ho!” can be heard. The intro ends with “Ferne Welt ich komme…” ( “Distant world, here I come…”) which fades off.
I think is beautifully orchestrated: The accordion player symbolizing the harbour and the coast, the horns the euphory when starting on a journey and the “ho!” reminds of sailors working in the background. Even today, most cruisers setting out on a big journey blow their foghorns to greet the people at the quay when leaving or entering a harbour. The whole intro gives the very impressive feeling of leaving towards something big.
Seenot(Distress at sea): Straight forward electronic guitars open the song and are the dominant instruments in the verses. The chorus is more pop than rock. The verses are almost spoken, which is a gross contrast to the clear singing in the chorus. The song deals with fighting through a storm: the verses describe the dangers and difficulties and the chorus places some kind of hope as a junctposition.
While the verses deal with what’s happening, they describe a hard thunderstorm and the fighting of the vessel and the crew against nature’s forces. The chorus seems to describe what is going on within the traveler. He is not going to give up, his hopes are high. Even though he has to travel through a storm, he is determined to reach his aim, which stands clearly before him in his mind.
Für Immer( For ever): A song about emotions and sharing emotions, about living in the here and now. The song is rather striaght foward, too. Very rocky, through the verses and the lyrics, still it is opened with a very calm piano-only intro.
In the verses the listener is asked, if he has dreams, fears, if he is living his emotions. The question is “do you care?” – and the answer is “if yes, I am with you”. The second verse asks “do you fight back?”, “are you afraid?” – the answer being the same as above. Each verse asks “do you need me, before jumping?” – “if you jump, I’ll catch you” answers the first, “I’ll jump with you” the second. Do something outrageous, stupid, whatever is important for you – I’ll be with you. Isn’t that what everybody is looking for in his partner? I’ll answer that with yes! The chorus states that nothing is for ever, so we should live in the here and now. Emphasising the living to full extent theme even more.
I really love this song. It is very strong. And it gives me strength. Listening to it, I feel I can overcome every obstackle in my way.
Geboren um zu Leben(Born to live): A beautiful ballad. The singer misses another person. He remembers the days gone by and he is dreaming of this person coming back. He has still problems looking forward to the future, because he misses his lost love so much. But still he has learned one thing from his love: we are born to live and life is precious – be it just one moment, who teaches us this lesson.
The song also features a children’s choir in the chorus.
For me this song is a wonderful ode to life and living. Life is precious – and sometimes we need a real disaster to realise life’s preciousness. The song describes very closely the feelings one goes through when loosing one’s love forever, the fight for living on through the depression and mourning.
Abwärts(Downwards): Again one of the harder songs. This song describes a submarine in war. It is being attacked from planes and has to flee to the depths of the sea. There it is at high risk being lost. While sinking into the depths of the ocean, the vessel and it’s crew also face depraviation and hopelessness. There are no heroes and heroic deeds and there is also no hope of being victorious and becoming a hero.
The song even features the typical movie-submarine -*piung*-sounds and during the break it sounds like there’s an amy marching to the song.
I am still not sure, what to make of this song. With the submarine and war theme it sounds like an anti-war song, but I feel that’s not all to it. On a more metaphorical level, someone is being attacked from all sides, so he has to retreat to dangerous terrain, and is risking everything, but still he does not know, if this will help him. Difficult…
Halt mich(Hold me): Another ballad. This one telling about two people watching nightfall. The singer wants his love to hold him and never let him go – no matter what happens. He knows they have to part, and he learns, that everytime he looses something or someone – only in this moment he learns how precious those people and things are to him.
Simply, it sounds like a beautiful declaration of love.
Unter Feuer(Under fire(?)): This sond describes the boiler room of a ship. The fires in the boilers burn strong, breathing is difficult and work is hard. The ship is again fighting against hard seas. It’s a rock song, dominant guitars with a keyboard line on top. This song als has the contrast between verses and chorus: the verses are rather centered on the technical stuff while the chorus focuses on the first person narrator. The narrator is fighting against the difficult environment – the same way his vessel is fighting against the rough seas. He states, that if he has to face his end, then he will face it full force.
This song again is about living to full extent, even if this means to perish.
Grosse Freiheit: This song is more like a ballad. It also features the accordion sounds in the beginning and the end, which gives a round impression. The song features a lot of pictures conected to the sea and seafaring.
Unfortunately, I do not know, what to make of it.But feeling and being at home seems to be a big topic in Unheilig songs, and I have a slight feeling, this song is somewhat about coming home and longing for home.
Ich gehöre mir(I belong to me): This is again a more aggressive song. The guitars are driving the song forward. This song is about being oneself, no matter what others say. With the lyrics, the singer tells a person to fuck off, because this other person can’t accept that the singer is different. The singer believes, that the other person has no dreams left and therefore has no “place” to go in the future.
I think it’s quite obvious, qhat this song is about 😉 But beside the rather typical “be yourself/ respect yourself” theme it also emphasises the importance of having dreams, which is a very important topic all through the album.
Heimatstern(Home star): After a guitar dominated rock song, another ballad, in which the keyboards and electronic stuff dominate the music. This is also a rather difficult song to me, as I again don’t really know what to make of it.
I think it is about a person, probably a relative of the singer. He seems to have a somewhat difficult relationship with this person. But in spite of that, he enjoys meeting him or her again. Although he cannot understand everything, he is ready to accept the other person as he/she is. Maybe a song about a difficult lesson, that had to be learnt.
Sternbild(Constellation): The song is opend by brass like melody with strings added. The first verse describe a traveler or sailor starting going on a trip. The second describes his longing for the love he had to leave behind. The chorus contemplates, what his love means to him. He clearly misses her, looking for her face in the clouds and hearing her voice. He compares love to a constellation, that is leading him, and farewell to a trip that promises reunion.
This song is really appaling to me, as it can easily be adapted to having a long-distance relationship. Missing the partner, knowing you cannot return anytime you’d wish to, really gives you weird thoughts.
Unter deiner Flagge(Under your flag): Der Graf dedicates this song to his mother. It is a ballad. He describes, what he would like to ask her, but never did. And also describes his feelings for her. He tells of what he likes about her.
A declaration of love to his mother. And really a song people should play to their mothers!
Fernweh(Wanderlust): This song start with the last line of the into: distant world, here I come! The sailor is nearing the end of his journey. He has dreamt of this distant world for a long time, but still only dreamt of seeing it from afar.
I often suffer from wanderlust. Go somewhere, see it, live somewhere else. But I can’t just go, so I dream of distant countries. I long for going there, but can’t change it. That’s one thing. Also, I see the longing for a person in this song. But that may be just me longing for some person. RIGHT. NOW!
Schenk mir ein Wunder(Give me a wonder): This song describes the wishes, the singer has for his life. Rather complex and difficult things, like understanding the world. He wants to live his dreams, but wants a wonder, so that his wishes can come true. In the background often the “ho!” can be heared. It still convey some kind of work on a ship.
Our life is like a ship on a big ocean, and we are captain, navigator and sailors and wanting to make our dreams come true, all work somoetimes will not do. So we hope for a wonder. And be it just to help us drag on to happier times.
Auf Kurs(On course): This song is again a straight forward rock song. It describes the traveler well set for the aim of his journey. Inside of himself he is carrying everything that contributes to himself: experiences, love, memories, wishes. At one point he decided where to go, and he is not going back. No matter which price to pay.
This song centers around the topic of moving on to new places, fulfilling dreams. Adding the notion, that a person is made up of his past and always takes his past with him. But the traveller does not regret that, instead he poudly steps forward. A nice piece of advice for living one’s life.
Neuland(Terra Nova): This is the outro. It takes the melody line from the intro and features it as piano melody over calmly flowing bass sounds. After the piano opening the brass enter again and the music swells to a rather rocky tune, featuring the “ho” and thus linking back to the album and completing it. The outro ends with the accordion tunes that opened the intro, so the album is a full circle.
PS: Everything here is just my opinion about the songs.
PPS: Große Freiheit is a street in Hamburg.