Sound: It may not seem like it, but the reason a group like Tokio Hotel keeps releasing discs is because there is a high demand for them. Europe may be the headquarters for their die-hard fan bases but North American followers are real, and yes, they come equipped in Tokio Hotel merchandise which can rarely be found in any record stores (thank God for online retail outlets, right?). Such devotion to supporting an artist is why the German pop rockers have released their first compilation album titled Best Of. While it insinuates it is indeed a greatest hits album, the record is rarely marketed that way as it tries to disguise itself as an honorary collection.
Taking bits and pieces from Scream, Zimmer 483 and Schrei, the compilation shows an expansive side, blending the natural progression of the group which in a way, makes the release almost seem like an entirely new album. Popular tracks fueling the disc at the start ("Monsoon") show promise, but the annoying hooks ensue ("Scream", "Hurricanes And Suns") and hell breaks loose in mainstream European alt pop fashion. Tokio Hotel are bred with a bit of talent, but it reveals itself in the wrong way, pushing forward complex orchestral bits to gain a monumental feeling (think a teenage 30 Seconds To Mars cover band). In their native tongue, this would work well, but in plain ol' English, it brushes off a bit too much pop to fully cling to an alternative rock moniker. // 5
Lyrics: If Tokio Hotel is known for one thing, it's the voice behind the mic. Not due to the obvious fashion statements or hairstyles that would make 90s' families cringe, but because of the originality swimming around in Bill Kaulitz' set of pipes. "Up on your roof so high, the world can just go to hell," lashes Kaulitz, doing his best Kurt Cobain impression before his comrades release a barrage of overused grunge tones. Similar material has the ability to attract those who prefer rhythms of a heavier variety but its the vocalist's skill in changing high pitches that's made him stand out. "1000 Oceans" situates him at his weakest before unshackling a few chains and letting loose towards the end while "Humanoid" shifts intensity, going from aggressive to sweet pop in a millisecond. One of the unreleased numbers ("Madchen aus dem All"), embedded in German vocals, almost doesn't sound like Kaulitz but more like a feminine talent hunting for a home in between pop punk and radio pop. The impression doesn't favor well for what the quartet try to display, but it draws the question on whether another singer can imitate theirs. // 7
Overall Impression: Best Of shouts spunk but it doesn't do so with enough flash to be called a "greatest hits record". The term "compilation" suits it well as it handpicks material from Tokio Hotel's history, dating back to 2005, and uses a tracklisting worth applauding as the release stays a steady path from start to finish. Fans will admire the singles chosen for the first collection of tracks, but it can't do the impossible, which is convince other genre-lovers to indulge in it's take on alternative rock. The acoustic ballads could make their way on to their MP3 players and that's as far as they will go as Best Of is like any other hits record: clocks in at 16-plus tracks and barely contains material actually chosen by the band themselves. // 6
- Joshua Khan (c) 2010