Artist Tokio Hotel
Production Company Cherrytree/Interscope Records
Teaser/Reader Annotation The breakthrough English album of the German rock band Tokio Hotel takes listeners through the highs and lows of the teenage experience. Sometimes you feel like screaming at the top of your lungs, sometimes you feel like you're drowning in a thousand oceans, and sometimes you just want to live every second for what it's worth.
Plot Summary Speaking to the angst of the teenage years, the ups and downs of living through the trials and tribulations of the young adult experience, Tokio Hotel's debut English album ricochets between uproariously riotous songs to ones of deep, quiet melody. Listeners follow the experience as they lived through their own teenage years, fluctuating from exhilaration to melancholy at the drop of a hat and bouncing right back again. The songs speak of the exhilaration of living for a single moment, wanting to scream out the frustration of youth at the top of your lungs, and the longing for someone to notice the pain and loneliness you feel. Unlike other albums directed at young adults, this has little to do with romance or love whether good or bad. Instead, the band focuses more on the roller-coaster ride of emotions that everyone associates with the teenage experience.
Critical Evaluation Tokio Hotel's first English cd, Scream (2008), features songs nearly directly translated from their original German composition. With this in mind, some of the lyrics do not quite work but their meaning is still understandable and clear. The singer's German accent can also make the lyrics a little difficult to hear at points but does not detract from the overall song. When putting together this cd, the band drew the track list from their first two German cds – Schrei (2005) and Zimmer 483 (2007) – picking the most popular of each to present for their international debut. Some of these songs were written as early as age fourteen by the singer/song writer Bill Kaulitz and his twin, guitarist Tom Kaulitz. Surprisingly, these are the songs on the album that are most recognized and garnered the most radio play. Even without the age consideration, the lyrics are well-written and accurately reflect the turmoil of teenage years. Of course, it would be hard for them not to be considering the artists were experiencing the emotions and problems themselves at the time.
About the Artist Tokio Hotel is a rock band from Germany founded in 2001 by identical twins Bill and Tom Kaulitz. Drummer Gustav Schäfer and bassist Georg Listing were recruited by the twins, and the band began under the name Devilish but it was changed to Tokio Hotel before the record contract was signed. The band has produced three number one albums in Germany and received international success in both record sales and world tours. Their first cd Schrei (2005) sold over half a million copies worldwide. Their next cds, the German Zimmer 483 (2007) and the English Scream (2008), sold a combined total of over a million copies across the world. Their newest album, Humanoid (2009), was released in both English and German and has also seen resounding success and number ones.
Though the Kaulitz twins are natives of Leipzig, Germany and have been living in Hamburg since beginning their music careers, recently spiraling incidents of stalking and harassment have driven the brothers to move to Los Angeles this fall. The other two members of the band have elected to stay in Germany for the time, but the band continues to work on new songs and are continuing to play concerts together.
Curriculum Ties Music
1) Do you think something was lost in the translation between the German and English versions, or did the meaning cross the language barrier?
2) The songs were written to reflect the drama of the teenage experience. Discuss.
Interest Age 13+
Challenge Issues None. No language or sexual references found in lyrics.
Why is it included? This is a very popular band with teenagers.