Skills in Pills review by Lindemann

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  • Released: Jun 19, 2015
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 4
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 5 Decent
  • Users' score: 7.4 (48 votes)
Lindemann: Skills in Pills
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Sound — 6
Lindemann is the side-project of Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann. It started when he and Peter Tägtgren of Hypocrisy and Pain wrote a couple of songs together before deciding that a full album was warranted. The result of this collaboration, entitled "Skills in Pills," has charted well in Europe during the first few weeks of its release, likely due to the overwhelming popularity of Rammstein there.

Considering the source of this album, it comes as no surprise that its sound is similar to that of Rammstein's trademark industrial metal. In fact, the largest difference between this and a Rammstein album is the language of the lyrics; Lindemann uses English here, but primarily uses German with Rammstein.

Of the few musical differences, the largest is the role of the synthesizers. While the entire album remains industrial, the synths maintain a continual melody, which provides a nice base for the vocals. They also create a softer vibe that sounds, metaphorically, like gears turning instead of hammers smashing. It comes near to KMFDM's but remains more condensed and focused, not nearly as eclectic.

Every couple of songs, maybe three or four times, there is a killer guitar riff, but that is the full extent of the guitar work. Other than these few times, the guitar does not play a major role on the album, relegated to supporting the synths while given no opportunity to shine with a guitar solo. In addition, the guitar tone is thin, fuzzy, and raspy, though this does help the it stand out more. For guitar work, the best song is "Fish On."

One problem with this synth-chord driven sound is that none of the songs stand out; any one song would give a good idea of how the rest of the album sounds. This is a double-edged sword because most people will either immediately love or hate this album. Well, actually, there is a third edge to this sound in that Lindemann's style is softer than Rammstein's, and therefore more accessible. All of the choruses are catchy, though this gets old after a while. On the bright side, the hard-hitting, electronic sounding drums nicely contrast the softness of the synths. On the other hand, the guitars are inevitably marginalized by this approach and the trade-off is obvious. The theme here is that there is a good deal of conflict in Lindemann's sound despite its singularity.

Lyrics — 4
Till Lindemann's vocals are the undoubted focus of this album. The music sets up the vocals so that they are always the center of attention. They were also what I was most excited to hear coming in because I knew he would experiment with English and because I respect his Rammstein vocals a great deal (though, admittedly, I don't know at all how to translate the German).

Much to my disappointment, the vocals on this album are weak. Lindemann's trademark deep, testosterone-filled voice is still there, but the melodies are so repetitive that they get boring regardless of how catchy they are. Every song seems to have the same melody and this wears the album out rather quickly.

Lindemann sings with a clear voice and excellent pronunciation. However, this just leads to a further collapse due to how horrible the lyrics are. With his lyrics, Lindemann fails on two fronts.

First, the lyrics are plainly sexist, and sometimes disgusting. Most of the album deals with sex, which isn't a problem in and of itself. The problem is when he writes a song dedicated to the idea that having unprotected sex is okay because abortion is always an option (offensive). "Golden Shower" is also the only song I know where having sex sounds repulsive (yet it tries to sound sexy). Writing about sex has always been about pushing the envelope, but there is a way to do it tastefully, to make it risqué instead of disgusting, and Lindemann falls flat. There is also a way to write about sex where the listener laughs (Steel Panther) or feels redemption due to how the lyrics p-ss off parents/the mainstream. Lindemann falls short here too; he just sounds perverted.

The second problem with his lyrics, probably influencing the first problem, is that Till Lindemann evidently does not have a firm grasp of the English language. He uses mainly one-syllable words and simple verse constructions that feel like an elementary school student wrote them. Again, there is a way to mix idioms, allusions, and cheap rhymes to make something that sounds edgy, but Lindemann doesn't seem to know how. His lyrics come across far too bluntly, which emphasizes what appears to be the seriousness of his oftentimes ludicrous lyrics.

Overall Impression — 5
Overall, this is unfortunately a forgettable effort by a forgettable side project. It will most likely appeal to Rammstein fans, but I cannot imagine the casual listener latching onto this album. The choruses are catchy but redundant and the music is unified but bland. The album's final hope was Till Lindemann's vocals but these failed to impress. At the end of the day, just makes the completion of a new Rammstein album all the more urgent.

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    phidias13
    "First, the lyrics are plainly sexist, and sometimes disgusting" You clearly understand nothing about it. You are the type of guy that could have said that Rammstein was a nazi band. He is a great poem writer, the style of his lyrics in this album may seem poor but for me he has clearly chosen a less serious approach to talk about deep issues.
    K33nbl4d3
    I'm generally very much what right-wingers call politically correct, but I don't really see anything to object to here. Till Lindemann is occupying the role of someone exaggeratedly detestable here, as has often been the case with Rammstein. But I do think Lindemann's lyrics in English are somewhat weak. It may be that German is just more apt for the way he writes, but Rammstein has approached similar topics in a much more intelligent way than this album does - while remaining generally humorous. Puerile is the word that comes to mind here. If Rammstein is a self-aware smile, this is a 13 year old's snigger. Musically, though, I think the album's better than a 5. Less depth to it than the (already pointedly simple) Rammstein sound, sure, but still pretty solid.
    Sebo
    His english lyrics (on the title track) are nothing near that of Rammstein. There is sex and violence, and paid love in Rammstein, but always with a tongue in cheek touch. At least the title track is way more blatant and bold then anything he did in Rammstein. There is a fine lyrical way in Rammstein, and his english lyrics just seem to be inferior to his ways of playing with the german language. Lines like "blitzkrieg mit dem Fleischgewehr" are very offensive, yet you're already perfectly aware that this metaphore is so bizarre, that you are already forced to think what he means with it, or what parts of the metaphore do apply. But some parts of praise abort just seem like he didn't put much thought into it, and come across as just being offensive for the sake of being offensive/disgusting, and carry no deeper meaning.
    Lord_Doku
    "First, the lyrics are plainly sexist, and sometimes disgusting" Entirely subjective. Surely this was written by a person who thinks of it this way, and not the whole team. "Most of the album deals with sex, which isn't a problem in and of itself." Glad we got that out of the way, now what is the problem? "The problem is when he writes a song dedicated to the idea that having unprotected sex is okay because abortion is always an option (offensive)." Whoa, the sensationalist misogyny-o-meter just shot through the famed Feminazi-barrier. An important thing to understand about lyrics, is that an artist(!) might not necessarily believe in them. More important is the concept, the idea, that by writing these lyrics and using them in this song evokes discussion. Of course we don't like the lyrics, that's what makes the topic so strong. It breaks the taboo, and I applaud Till for doing that once more, the same way he always has (although it used to be less obvious). Moving on. "Golden Shower" is also the only song I know where having sex sounds repulsive (yet it tries to sound sexy)." You've clearly never heard a 50 Cent song. "Writing about sex has always been about pushing the envelope, but there is a way to do it tastefully, to make it risqué instead of disgusting, and Lindemann falls flat." If you prefer these methods, you can always put on a Barry White album. This entire album screams roughness, it is not meant to be gentle. I certainly don't think that gentle lyrics like 'The rose petals quench the thirst of our passion' fit well with this particular approach to melody either. "There is also a way to write about sex where the listener laughs (Steel Panther)" They're a parody band though. They'd be doing it wrong if they didn't evoke that response. "or feels redemption due to how the lyrics p-ss off parents/the mainstream. Lindemann falls short here too; he just sounds perverted. " The perverse context of the lyrics seem rather perfect for p-ssing off parents and the mainstream though. This review is good evidence for that. Sorry if this is a bit long winded, but I had to vent.
    godzillarissa
    Apparently there's a very narrow scope in which it is okay to write about sex and this is not it. Seriously though, I weep for the review author's sex life...
    crazysam23_Atax
    "First, the lyrics are plainly sexist, and sometimes disgusting." You don't understand Rammstein or Lindemann very well, if you think this...
    logicbdj
    I actually enjoyed this album... I thought the lyrics were amusing... serious music and singing, and yet a bit lighthearted at the same time. Good workout music when lifting weights.
    drxsmetalhippie
    I like this album. I am also a huge Rammstein fan, so, there's that. Rammstein's lyrics are nothing to be taken seriously or overly analyzed. This is no different. It's a silly but heavy sounding album. That intro riff in "Ladyboy" is one of the highlights of this album for me.
    Candlewolf
    I bought it mainly because Peter Tagtgren was involved, and I found half the album pretty enjoyable. The more nonsensical and offensive the lyrics, the more I enjoyed it. The songs that seemed more restrained lyrically or didn't have that 'zazz' factor, didn't catch my attention as long. I think if you went into this expecting a serious album, you'll be disappointed. I went into it expecting fun and I feel duly rewarded. Golden Shower" is also the only song I know where having sex sounds repulsive (yet it tries to sound sexy). The song is not about having sex. It's about getting p-ssed on. And it's not for everyone.
    dr-g0nz0
    Yet another review, from a critic who has no idea what the purpose of this album is. It's not trying to be a timeless masterpiece, it aims to be a good slab of light-hearted fun; it does this with flying colours.
    logicbdj
    Exactly... just the artwork in the booklet makes this so obvious. Tongue-in cheek fun!
    jinsu2301
    Lindemann's lyrics being offensive is nothing new, there's a reason why some of their songs where banned from German television. The thing is, Rammstein's songs are very poetic and well put together at most times, probably some of the best lyrics you will find in modern German music (regardless of their subject matter). This however...well, let's just say that Lindemann's English isn't quite as good as his German...
    Northernmight
    I really like this <.< And all this shit about it being offensive. Well.. I get it. I get the attitude. I'm in on it. I understand. Maybe you don't, but i'm sure many others do as well. Just being "perverted".. is kind of the point, sometimes. Anyway. Shit. I think teletubbies is back on. Off you go.
    Jimjambanx
    The chorus from Yukon was probably the only stand out moment on this entire record for me. Everything sounded so forgettable, and while I have no real problem with the lyrics' offensive nature (I couldn't care less), they just come of as cheesy a lot of the time.
    Deathoholic
    I think it's sad that anyone in this day and age can't take lyrics like these as the joke they are. Everything and everyone is so obsessed with labelling stuff "sexist, racist, homophobic" on everything. Come on, loosen up a little!
    Drashi
    "Considering the source of this album, it comes as no surprise that its sound is similar to that of Rammstein's trademark industrial metal." I'd say it's sounds like a Pain album with Lindemann on vocals (and it would be a perfect Pain album if Peter was on vocals). Lindemann sounds good enough singing in English, but I think he shines more when he sings in his native language. Overall, I really like this album. The more you listen to it the better it gets.
    SkepsisMetal
    The thing that a lot of people, perhaps unfamiliar with the members of Rammstein, are failing to grasp is that Till is very particular about what he does. Almost everything is where it is and how it is for a reason. He has a very good English speaking voice, heavily accented, but grammatically sound. It strikes me as him playing on the consistent amusement fans find in direct-translating Rammstein songs from German to English and how ridiculous they sound. So he wrote it in a very childish, unsettling way. They only come across as more controversial because you're not used to hearing that kind of stuff in English.
    Captain Insano
    He really should have stuck to German with the singing - It Would have solved the main problem with the album. I just don't think that Till has a great enough command of the English language to write it in with out assistance. I suspect that he did not since the lyrics are very simplistic and not put together in the natural order for an English speaker. The semi-broken delivery and with the annunciation being off, I think works great in Rammstein when he is making a point about America, or the western world in general but it doesn't really work for the duration of an entire album.
    cubeikon
    Well, I don't agree with this review. Art is sometimes supposed to not be beautiful but disgusting - which is human. Also your interpretation of "praise abort" just seems wrong, Lindemann is rather criticising unprotected sex and unwanted parenthood. Just look at their video...does this look like a happy family to you, or what? Anyway...I'm in love with this album and have been listening to nothing else for the past two days. The sick and twisted nature of his music, has always been with Lindemann and Rammstein and are no reason to be offended now.
    thegreatgambeen
    Till Lindemann when asked about lyrical concepts in Rammstein, circa 1999/2000 - "Love, it's all about love. In all its perversions, all its forms." All of these songs reflect that same drive. Some love offends people. And offended people like to placate the source as the problem. If you're offended, maybe you should be, because you have closed your mind and view to that of the artist. Art is meant to break the limits within itself and exist unrestricted and free. If you're offended, maybe you should take a look at yourself and realize that it's your opinion, but not their problem. Bad review, bad bad bad review. Great album, Fat is my new anthem. Peter Tagtgren and Til Lindemann, all day.
    HGF
    The reviewer seems an expert on writing about sex, he knows at least 3 ways of sex lyrics: the offensive, tastefully and where the listener laughs! An artist.