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Humanoid by Tokio Hotel

Title Humanoid
Artist Tokio Hotel
Production Company Cherrytree/Interscope Records
Year 2009
ISC B0013478-02

Teaser/Reader Annotation The alienated life of a teenager from the real world comes through in this English album by Tokio Hotel with poignant lyrics and driving instrumentals.

Plot Summary Unlike Tokio Hotel's previous English cd which reflected the ups and downs of the teenage years, this cd is on the whole more reflective of the upbeat and positive side of life. Many of the songs are fast paced, encouraging teens to be charismatic and maintain an optimistic point of view throughout the riot of emotions they are feeling. The music is a segue from the angst of teenage emotion to the optimism of young adulthood. It encourages youths to show their true faces, not hide behind the public personas the world encourages and to be true to one's own beliefs and feelings. It also speaks to the disconnection teenagers feel with the rest of the world in the continuing metaphors of aliens and humanoids. Despite popularity, number of friends, and perceived social status, teenagers always have that feeling of whether or not they belong, and this album speaks to that state of mind.

Critical Evaluation Unlike the previous English release, Scream (2008), this album was not directly translated from German to English. Instead, the band rewrote the lyrics for each song, sometimes changing the meaning entirely and keeping only the same instrumental backgrounds. I feel this worked better than the direct translations wherein metaphors and meanings were occasionally lost. While they did not abandon entirely the reflection on teenage angst and emotion present in the first English cd, it was a significantly more upbeat and motivational record. With an overall trend such as this prevelant in an album, there is a tendency for some of the songs to seem to run together with the constant quick tempo and drum beats. While the band has improved since their earlier recordings they still could use a bit more polish, but that could also be taken as part of the rock genre. The song lyrics continue to well-written despite the young age of the band members.

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.

Genre Drama

Curriculum Ties Music

Booktalking Ideas

1) Did the band make the correct decision to not directly translate this cd as they did their last English release? Discuss.

2) The song "World Behind My Wall" talks about the problems associated with presenting a false face to the world and the wish to show the true reality of the situation. 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.