Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
A Sensational German Rock Opera
on March 1, 2009
"Made In Germany" (1975) by Amon Duul 2 is a glorious chapter in the history of "Krautrock". This rock opera ROCKS, with great melodies, guitars, keyboards and vocals. Sole female member Renate Knaup sings most of the best songs and is fantastic. Others are sung by Robby Heibl and Chris Karrer.
Karrer's "Mr. Kraut's Jinx" lifts from Lou Reed's "Berlin" period, revs up with Bowie's "Suffragette City" riff, and concludes in punk style with the shouted refrain "future ain't tomorrow, future is today" (shades of the Ramones' "today your love, tomorrow the world"). And that's just one song! All are sung in English with charming, clipped German accents. The lyrics are included in the glossy booklet, along with all the original artwork.
Some of the songs reference German historical figures and events, while others are about being a rock band. Most fascinating are the two songs about 19th century King Ludwig of Bavaria, who was obsessed with building elaborate castles (one of which became the proto-type for Disneyland's Magic Kingdom). His drowning the day after being hounded out of the monarchy by his enemies is still an unsolved mystery. Other songs mention Kaiser Wilhelm, "Metropolis", the "loosey girls" of the Weimar Republic, etc.
The extensive liner notes include a "plot" synopsis, but the so-called plot they put forward is really only evident on two of the tracks. The whole affair is more impressionistic and poetic than it is coherent.
This was a 20-track, 2-record set when issued on vinyl in Germany, but was whittled down to 12 tracks for the U.S. market (and the songs were in a different order). Please note that only ten of the tracks feature vocals - the other ten are rock instrumentals, brief musical interludes, a comical faux-interview with Hitler, and even a majestic overture. Only 2 of the 9 instrumental tracks (and no interview) made it onto the U.S. release, which also had a different cover - with Knaup posed as Dietrich in "The Blue Angel".
Re-issued in its complete form several years ago by Repertoire, it is newly available in this beautifully remastered package by the Revisited label. The restored tracks add a lot - it's all much more "grand". Amon Duul 2 would crash and burn after this, then resurrect themselves in less heralded groupings in the years that followed. Renate Knaup left to join Popol Vuh. But at least they left us with a masterpiece.
Of the many rock operas I've bought, this is one of the best and most interesting (and fun). Highly recommended.