laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jan. 20th, 2013 11:37 pm)
I started Part II of Small Mercies. A thousand words. I want to get the rescue mission underway before I return my attention to Sprache. Sprache, by the way, only has two interstitials and four chapters proper to go until it's finished. I outlined them yesterday afternoon, so they're ready to be written. There will be a sequel, of course, but not for a few months, as I want to write a few more Flackfics and make good headway into the Haldir angst.

On the reading front, I've read four books so far for my fifty-book 2013 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. I just finished a mediocre CSI tie-in, and tomorrow, I'll start Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada. It wasn't next in the pile--that honor belonged to a doorstop by Stephen King--but it was a gift, and I didn't want it to gather dust for a year while I waded through two literary bludgeons.

On the music front I've been listening to "Not Alone" by Patty Griffin:



I heard it on the NCIS episode "Shiva" and had to track it down. It's a lovely song, and as a bonus, it works well as mood music as Haldir pines.

And "Some Nights" by Fun:



No fannish associations here. It's just feel-good music, even if the lyrics are a good existential wallow and candyfloss defiance from spoiled yuppies inventing woe with which to feed their nonconformist rebel complex.
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Why can I not stop watching this Black Veil Brides video? I'd never heard of them until this popped up on Youtube's recommended list. The music isn't terrible; it doesn't make me want to hunt down the A&R dupe who signed them and cornhole them with a blunt chainsaw, at any rate, but the video is so lame. It's a cheesetastic love letter to emo goth rock cliche. Dark setting? Check. Lots of black bunting and drapery? Check. Occult trappings? Check. Funereal imagery and arcane rites? Check. A gratuitous snake? Check. And don't forget the priestesses with fiery eyes and the shoddy, cheap CGI cleansing fire that brings justice to the thieving mourners who have desecrated the goth princeling's coffin.

And yet, the damn song is an earworm, and here I sit, mesmerized, refreshing the video repeatedly. The singer, bless him, is trying so hard to be anguished and badass and brooding, but it's all so contrived that he's resplendent in his corniness instead.

Maybe it's his teeth. They're preternatural in their perfection. Either one of his parents is a dentist, or he's got a dental fetish, because I've never seen such clean, straight teeth.

He's extraordinarily beautiful, and yet I feel no sexual attraction to him. Seventeen-year-old me would have, let me tell you, but crusty, middle-aged me wants to tell him to stop mewling like an angry kitten and wash that fake tattoo off his face.
Some music that makes me happy:



I'm not a huge baseball fan, but there's no denying that roots in cricket aside, it's evolved into a quintessentially American game, and there's something special about sitting in the bleachers with a crowd and a Coke. Plus, this song is just so damn joyous that you can't help but feel better after a listen.

I can't embed this one, but Dire Straits' Walk of life is just a giddy pop ditty that I can't stop bouncing in my chair, and who could resist the stroll down 80s fashion lane?




If any band can match or possibly exceed the weightless, rhapsodic joy of Rammstein for me, it's Metallica. They were the first band I truly felt was mine, that I had chosen for myself, and the first band that allowed me to be angry and vent that frustration. I haven't always agreed with their creative direction(St. Anger was a misbegotten thought experiment run amok whose masters should have been shredded and burned, and Lulu...well, for the sake of my sanity, I'm just going to consider that a favor to a musical legend and a Lou Reed album, to boot), but I have always adored them, and I will never forget the kindness Kirk Hammett showed to a sheltered, young, nervous fan who could only have fantasized about the experience have gave her. I don't care if they're eighty years old and taking the stage in wheelchairs and on walkers; I will pay to see them, and pay gladly, and I'm betting that even at eighty, they'll put on a show that few bands will ever be able to match. The raw, seething euphoria of a Metallica show can never be explained to someone who's never been there.
I listened to MiG today. The sound is cleaner, and the guitars are crisper, and Flake is definitely more prominent in the mix, but it's also thinner, as though the guitars and drums have lost weight. It's not bad, but it's startling and alien, and it's going to take a few listens for my ears to adjust.
I listened to Oomph!'s Monster today. I liked it a great deal more than Delikatessen, though there were still flaws and weak spots. Roomie listened with me, and he seems to think that their problems stem from trying so hard to sound like someone else rather than creating a sound for themselves.

"Oh, he was listening to Manson," he said during "Beim ersten Mal...", and during "Revolution", he snorted and said, "NIN."

It's as if they're searching for the magical sound that will unleash the flood of success, cobbling together music that sounds like more successful bands and throwing Dero's flamboyant vocals over it. It's incongruous and disappointing, and it's also a screaming shame, because when they just do what they want, they produce much more intriguing results. I love "In Deinen Hueften", for instance, because it's such lush, unapologetic tango foxtrot cabaret. It's not like anything else I could hear if I wanted to hear anything else. I wish they would work on the stuff that sounds like no one else instead of churning out pale imitations of more successful groups
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LJ is behaving like the drizzling shits for me, spitting out Varnish errors and refusing to load pages. I'm not sure if it's yet another DDOS attack or one of its periodic meltdowns. I suppose we'll know soon enough.

After the announcement that Deathstars would be supporting Rammstein on the 2011 Best of tour, I skedaddled over to Youtube to investigate. They're light years above Combichrist; they have audible guitars and discernible melodies, and the singer is intelligible. They look like Manson clones, but they have presence. They make me want to know what they'll do or say next. It's possible that their studio sound won't translate to the stage, that they, too, will sound like a discotheque buried in bilge mud, but I hope they support Rammstein in 2012 so that I can decide for myself. Maybe I won't have to spend half an hour trying to gouge out my eardrums with a soda straw and wishing I had Go-Go Gadget arms with which to punch the lead singer in the face for being such a useless, caterwauling wet blanket.

There is a certain sameness to Deathstars' songs that could get tedious if one listened to them for too long, but given a short set, I don't foresee that being a problem.

The singer's choice of a faux Nazi uniform for one of their videos made me side-eye them so hard my skull shifted, but I decided at length at it was just another case of transgressive showmanship. They're hardly the first rock musicians to push that boundary and tweak that nerve--Nikki Sixx and Marilyn Manson spring to mind--and Rammstein have struggled so valiantly for so long against the idea that all Germans are still closet Nazis that I can't fathom them happily associating with nationalist goobers.
LJ is behaving like the drizzling shits for me, spitting out Varnish errors and refusing to load pages. I'm not sure if it's yet another DDOS attack or one of its periodic meltdowns. I suppose we'll know soon enough.

After the announcement that Deathstars would be supporting Rammstein on the 2011 Best of tour, I skedaddled over to Youtube to investigate. They're light years above Combichrist; they have audible guitars and discernible melodies, and the singer is intelligible. They look like Manson clones, but they have presence. They make me want to know what they'll do or say next. It's possible that their studio sound won't translate to the stage, that they, too, will sound like a discotheque buried in bilge mud, but I hope they support Rammstein in 2012 so that I can decide for myself. Maybe I won't have to spend half an hour trying to gouge out my eardrums with a soda straw and wishing I had Go-Go Gadget arms with which to punch the lead singer in the face for being such a useless, caterwauling wet blanket.

There is a certain sameness to Deathstars' songs that could get tedious if one listened to them for too long, but given a short set, I don't foresee that being a problem.

The singer's choice of a faux Nazi uniform for one of their videos made me side-eye them so hard my skull shifted, but I decided at length at it was just another case of transgressive showmanship. They're hardly the first rock musicians to push that boundary and tweak that nerve--Nikki Sixx and Marilyn Manson spring to mind--and Rammstein have struggled so valiantly for so long against the idea that all Germans are still closet Nazis that I can't fathom them happily associating with nationalist goobers.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Aug. 7th, 2011 06:54 pm)
Oomph's! greatest hits CD arrived in the mail yesterday, and Roomie and I listened to it in the car. I wanted to love Oomph! I really did. German is such a fascinating language, and music is one of the easiest ways for me to immerse myself in it and assimilate it into my thought processes. But after enduring some depressingly terrible remixes and execrable synth pop lounge music monstrosities, I have come to the conclusion that while I might like some of their earlier, more metal-oriented music, I will never claim the mantle of an Oomph! fan.

Some lowlights:

-Gekreuzigt '06: Why? The original track was unalloyed metal awesomeness, with great vocals and an infectious groove. Why would you dilute both by crossbreeding first-water metal with tepid techno beats and extraneous bleeps and bloops? Dero has an amazing voice no matter the style in which he chooses to sing, but he chose to Protool it into bland, lifeless oblivion. When you sound better singing the Bob the Builder theme song than you do singing your own work, then you haven't just Done It Wrong, but DONE IT WRONG.

-Brennende Liebe: More milky, vague, Protooled vocals. He croons listlessly over clunking, mid-tempo music best suited to the creamed-corn set. It wouldn't be so bad if he would sing like he meant it, but he sounds like he's too busy calculating his royalty checks to care. The music is alive, but the vocals are dead, as if sung by a zombie or someone so befogged by opiates that they're functioning purely by instinct and muscle memory.

-Der Neue Gott: Another synth-pop, over-produced disaster. When this came on, Roomie said, "Holy shit, what is this, Miami Vice?" and skipped the track.


It's not a total waste of money. "Gott ist ein Popstar", "Traeumst Du", "Sex", and "Ice-Coffin" are fun, eminently-listenable songs, but I can certainly ken why the older Oomph! fans have no use or affection for the newer material. Bands evolve, and they should, but the new sound isn't just divergent from the old; it's so different as to make the band unrecognizable save for its name, and if it were a natural evolution, I would shrug and say that's how it goes, but I rather suspect that the seismic shift in image and sound is an unapologetic attempt to broaden their appeal in the international markets. Why else would Dero go for the wholly unflattering Billy Joe Armstrong look in the 2005-6 photo shoots? Why butcher and bastardize your German catalogue into tortured English approximations that border on the grotesque and blasphemous? And no, I didn't like this gambit when Rammstein did it, either. The English version of "Engel" makes me break out in hives, and "You Hate Me" is what Barbie would scream at Ken just before she peeled out in the Corvette with a fifth between her improbable thighs.

It was such a disappointment. At least I won't have to waste money on the new album.
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laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Aug. 7th, 2011 05:35 pm)
Oomph's! greatest hits CD arrived in the mail yesterday, and Roomie and I listened to it in the car. I wanted to love Oomph! I really did. German is such a fascinating language, and music is one of the easiest ways for me to immerse myself in it and assimilate it into my thought processes. But after enduring some depressingly terrible remixes and execrable synth pop lounge music monstrosities, I have come to the conclusion that while I might like some of their earlier, more metal-oriented music, I will never claim the mantle of an Oomph! fan.

Some lowlights:

-Gekreuzigt '06: Why? The original track was unalloyed metal awesomeness, with great vocals and an infectious groove. Why would you dilute both by crossbreeding first-water metal with tepid techno beats and extraneous bleeps and bloops? Dero has an amazing voice no matter the style in which he chooses to sing, but he chose to Protool it into bland, lifeless oblivion. When you sound better singing the Bob the Builder theme song than you do singing your own work, then you haven't just Done It Wrong, but DONE IT WRONG.

-Brennende Liebe: More milky, vague, Protooled vocals. He croons listlessly over clunking, mid-tempo music best suited to the creamed-corn set. It wouldn't be so bad if he would sing like he meant it, but he sounds like he's too busy calculating his royalty checks to care. The music is alive, but the vocals are dead, as if sung by a zombie or someone so befogged by opiates that they're functioning purely by instinct and muscle memory.

-Der Neue Gott: Another synth-pop, over-produced disaster. When this came on, Roomie said, "Holy shit, what is this, Miami Vice?" and skipped the track.


It's not a total waste of money. "Gott ist ein Popstar", "Traeumst Du", "Sex", and "Ice-Coffin" are fun, eminently-listenable songs, but I can certainly ken why the older Oomph! fans have no use or affection for the newer material. Bands evolve, and they should, but the new sound isn't just divergent from the old; it's so different as to make the band unrecognizable save for its name, and if it were a natural evolution, I would shrug and say that's how it goes, but I rather suspect that the seismic shift in image and sound is an unapologetic attempt to broaden their appeal in the international markets. Why else would Dero go for the wholly unflattering Billy Joe Armstrong look in the 2005-6 photo shoots? Why butcher and bastardize your German catalogue into tortured English approximations that border on the grotesque and blasphemous? And no, I didn't like this gambit when Rammstein did it, either. The English version of "Engel" makes me break out in hives, and "You Hate Me" is what Barbie would scream at Ken just before she peeled out in the Corvette with a fifth between her improbable thighs.

It was such a disappointment. At least I won't have to waste money on the new album.
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laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jun. 12th, 2011 05:08 pm)
Dear UMG,

Give it up. The song has been leaked, and no matter how many underpaid and overzealous keyboard jockeys you get to inform Youtube of copyright violations, there will be more and more and more. Fandom is a zealous creature, and once it has loosed a howl, it seldom stops in mid-ululation at the behest of men in suits who would charge them to look at the CD cover art if they could. Rather than waste your energy in a feeble attempt to re-enact the Little Dutch Boy for the electronic age, perhaps you should convince the Rammgents to invest in an antivirus suite for their laptops, as they seem dreadfully prone to security breaches, or to keep their gaggle(s) of hangers-on away from them. This is the second time a purported Rammstein song has been leaked to the Internet. Either someone has been watching too much porn on their Dell, or someone in their inner circle is accessing their sensitive files while they're living it up at the post-show orgies.

In truth, part of me suspects that this is an "accidental" leak. When "Eisenmann" made the rounds, the rumor was that a close associate had hacked one of the members' machines, a rumor that was was lent credibility by the poor quality of the demo(Poor Till sounded like he'd hooked himself to an emphysema machine)and by the concurrent appearance of photos allegedly stolen from Christoph's private collection. But "Land" sounds crisp, and far more polished than the cacophonous croaking and clattering of "Eisenmann", which was clearly in the early stages of production and sounded like they were performing in the accessible toilet at LAX. Methinks that someone "accidentally" let this slip in order to chum the fannish waters and whet appetites for the upcoming "Best of" release.

As for the leaked song, it's quite catchy. It needs a bit of spit and polish, but the riff is energetic, and the verses are an infectious earworm of urgent repetition. I'm going to be muttering, "Wohin gehst du? Wohin?" all damn night. That said, the lyrics are a bit thin, as if Till enrolled in the Zack de la Rocha School of Composition and scratched them off while on the jakes. They're not lazy, precisely, but they do seem hurried, as though he were writing to beat a deadline.

I would also like to know if that's a trumpet, or if Flake was simply blatting and faffing about on his keyboard. It's a strange sound, like a mariachi trumpeter stumbling into a Metallica show and deciding to soldier bravely on despite the odd venue and the haze of pot smoke clouding his vision.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jun. 12th, 2011 05:06 pm)
Dear UMG,

Give it up. The song has been leaked, and no matter how many underpaid and overzealous keyboard jockeys you get to inform Youtube of copyright violations, there will be more and more and more. Fandom is a zealous creature, and once it has loosed a howl, it seldom stops in mid-ululation at the behest of men in suits who would charge them to look at the CD cover art if they could. Rather than waste your energy in a feeble attempt to re-enact the Little Dutch Boy for the electronic age, perhaps you should convince the Rammgents to invest in an antivirus suite for their laptops, as they seem dreadfully prone to security breaches, or to keep their gaggle(s) of hangers-on away from them. This is the second time a purported Rammstein song has been leaked to the Internet. Either someone has been watching too much porn on their Dell, or someone in their inner circle is accessing their sensitive files while they're living it up at the post-show orgies.

In truth, part of me suspects that this is an "accidental" leak. When "Eisenmann" made the rounds, the rumor was that a close associate had hacked one of the members' machines, a rumor that was was lent credibility by the poor quality of the demo(Poor Till sounded like he'd hooked himself to an emphysema machine)and by the concurrent appearance of photos allegedly stolen from Christoph's private collection. But "Land" sounds crisp, and far more polished than the cacophonous croaking and clattering of "Eisenmann", which was clearly in the early stages of production and sounded like they were performing in the accessible toilet at LAX. Methinks that someone "accidentally" let this slip in order to chum the fannish waters and whet appetites for the upcoming "Best of" release.

As for the leaked song, it's quite catchy. It needs a bit of spit and polish, but the riff is energetic, and the verses are an infectious earworm of urgent repetition. I'm going to be muttering, "Wohin gehst du? Wohin?" all damn night. That said, the lyrics are a bit thin, as if Till enrolled in the Zack de la Rocha School of Composition and scratched them off while on the jakes. They're not lazy, precisely, but they do seem hurried, as though he were writing to beat a deadline.

I would also like to know if that's a trumpet, or if Flake was simply blatting and faffing about on his keyboard. It's a strange sound, like a mariachi trumpeter stumbling into a Metallica show and deciding to soldier bravely on despite the odd venue and the haze of pot smoke clouding his vision.
Youtube is being a complete shit today. Every time I try to load a video, all I get is a black screen in the video viewer and no play button. Apparently, this is a common problem that has been going on for more than a year. I've cleared my cache and other Internet history and tried other browsers and other computers, but there is no video goodness to be had. Well, sod it. I'm not mucking about in my computer's brain just to watch videos. It will either fix itself, or it won't.

I listened to a bunch of OOMPH! last night courtesy of Youtube, and while I might never make the transition from casual listener to budding fan, I do like a lost of their earlier stuff and most of the music from Monster. I am sufficiently intrigued to consider shelling out forty dollars for a copy of Delikatessen. Not now, of course, with every spare farthing going to the Rammstein fund, but maybe this summer, when the traveling is done and I don't have the twin specters of car maintenance and car insurance payments breathing down my neck.

My favorite song of OOMPH's to this point is "Sex."

OOMPH!--Sex )

You know, when German rockers sing the word "sex", it comes straight from the cock, and there's no confusion about what they mean. They're not talking about candlelight and wine and silk sheets. They want a hot and heavy fuck in the backseat of a car or against a dirty brick wall, the kind of sex that leaves bruises and rumpled clothes and ruined panties in its wake. RAWR.

If his voice got any deeper, it would be in the basement with Till Lindemann.
Totally random thoughts, AKA, brain lint:

-Uebermutter is actually kind of cool. Rammsteinliebe recced them as "Lady Rammstein at its finest." I'm not sure about that, but "Heim und Herd" was a good song. I was lukewarm about the other two tracks I sampled, but those women had stones. Apparently, they only made one album before calling it quits in 2008.

-Dero Goi tries way too hard to be cool. His hammy, schlocky unsettling goth schtick in the "Augen Auf!" video was absurd, and I spent more time laughing than being creeped out by their mini-Supernatural-episode video. Dude, your music is catchy and interesting and solid. Let it speak for itself.

-Who had the spiked hair first, Richard or Dero? Richard wears it better.

-"Crap" is a lame name for a rock guy. It's not punk or edgy. It's just stupid.


My brain has been racing at a million miles an hour since I decided to go to another Rammstein show. The day before yesterday, I had a "OMG, what the fuck do you think you're DOING?" moment, when I began to doubt the wisdom of taking such a long roadtrip in a van with almost one hundred and fifty-thousand miles on it, and conjuring up half a dozen doomsday scenarios in which I and my little party ended up stranded on the side of the road with a dead engine billowing the acrid, white smoke of defeat. I had similar scenarios in the days leading to the MSG show, and it went off flawlessly, but past success isn't a guarantee against future calamity.

Eventually, I'll have to get together with my traveling companion and see what she'd like to do in terms of hotel. I haven't really pushed for concrete plans yet because I'm frequently accused of being self-centered and oblivious to others' preferences and needs. I can't say it's entirely untrue, but it isn't intentional; planning around a disability has the unfortunate effect of giving the planners tunnel vision, particularly when one of them is disabled. I get so fixated on avoiding all the pitfalls of traveling and ensuring that I won't end up in the hospital with a blown ligament or shit my pants in front of a stranger and embarrass us both that I often forget that what might work best for me might be untenable for them.

Matters are further hampered by the fact that I deal almost exclusively in cash, which means that I can't make hotel reservations. I could use the debit card, I suppose, but I've heard too many horror stories of companies putting authorization holds on accounts far in excess of the cost of the service or keying in the wrong amount and draining the account, so I'd rather just hand over a wad of cash. I'm not cut out for an increasingly plastic economy. Then again, it's rumored that my late father buried much of his money in coffee cans in his backyard, and so perhaps I have inherited his disdain for imaginary money.

We'll figure it out soon enough.
Do not, under any circumstances, Google for the album cover of Mayhem's Dawn of the Black Hearts bootleg album. Ever. Ever, I made that mistake several years ago after watching some cheese-headed documentary on the evolution of heavy metal and getting curious about the spate of murders, suicides, and church burnings that have swirled around the genre. I find most of it to be so much gory posturing by antisocial dimwits looking for notoriety and free snatch, but that album cover. Jesus Christ. There's living the gimmick and keeping up appearances for your disenfranchised, fucked-up fanbase full of mentally-damaged people looking for a place in the world, and then there's just nastiness, sheer, sick-minded holy shit. I just... I can't comprehend the mind that would see something like that and think, "Hey, that would make an an awesome album cover." Can you imagine what his parents and siblings must have thought? No one should have to see their son like that.

And yes, it is a real photo. It's been well-documented.

The first time I saw that photo, I wasn't prepared for it and nearly vomited on the keyboard. By the grace of God and dumb luck, I made it to the toilet.

Norwegian black metal isn't a valid musical genre. It's a hideous parliament of morally and mentally diseased individuals who need serious psychomedical intervention. And this is coming from someone who would vigorously defend the validity and slim artistic merit of bands like Cannibal Corpse.

The psychopath who took that picture deserves to burn in Hell, and the record company that sanctioned its release as an album cover should be swallowed by a goddamn sinkhole. Jesus fuck, some things are just wrong.

Twenty-two is too young to end like that.
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I know I bitch a great deal about Rammstein's ineptitude when it comes to PR and their bungling management, but they truly do create some magnificent music, and when they pull their heads out of the rarefied air of Bunghole Caverns and put on a show, they're amazing. So, in the interest of fairness and gaining a few converts to the music if not the men, I present Rammstein at their best.

Guera's Rammstein Primer )
I finished Part VII of Sprache and will now let it proof overnight before I proofread and edit or revise it. After it's posted, I'm going to take a day off and then start my next project. Ideally, it would be either the end of "Detail Man" or the Flack/Stanhope post-"Cuckoo's Nest" fic I've been meaning to write since the episode aired, but odds are, it'll be Sprache VIII.

Blake Shelton is coming to Endstage Mayberry on July 16th, and I really want to go. I've been a fan since his first album and have been kicking myself for missing him when he came to the North Florida Fair in 1997. However, if I spring for the tickets, I might not have anything to contribute to my Rammstein fund next month. Granted, Shelton is a sure thing, whereas Rammstein is still a nebulous maybe on the hazy horizon, but the paranoid worrywart in my brain insists that if I forego the monthly offering to the Rammstein fund, the amount I fail to contribute will be the exact amount I would have needed to make the concert. It's irrational, I know, but I am a woman who has nearly drowned, been pursued by marauding bikers, held hostage in the bathroom by her own father, had her house struck by lightning and burned to the ground, been in two car accidents and four bus accidents, had her wheelchair split in half with her in it, and been given a rough life expectancy of forty-eight. I think I'm entitled to my paranoia.

And I know, I know. Rammstein and Blake Shelton? Good music is good music, and country music is the music of heartache and hard drinking.

If Rammstein were a sure bet, this would be a no-brainer, but as they're still faffing about and hemming and hawing, I have a legitimate conundrum. I have a week to decide, and then I've got to either shit or get off the pot.


In non-Rammstein news, The Mentalist season finale is on Thursday, and we'll finally get to meet Red John. I still say it's Lisbon's former boss. Just wanted to get that on record before the episode airs.
I am a Rammstein fangirl. I freely admit this, and I am not ashamed. I perv endlessly over Richard's chest and jawline and that finely-sculpted ass, and over Till's booming voice and muscular arms. I dribble over Christoph's eyes. I wouldn't even kick Paul out of bed, though Flake would be left at the coat check. I find Rammstein sexually attractive. Sue me.

I am also a Rammstein fan. I came to their music, not through videos or photos, but through a book of creepy love songs. Touch me, I'm Sick: The fifty-Two Creepiest Love Songs, by Tom Reynolds, if you're interested. He featured "Heirate Mich". I read his analysis and was hooked, and the next day, I ran out and bought Sehnsucht and Mutter. By the end of the week, I'd bought the rest of their catalogue. It was love at first listen, and I've never looked back.

I came to their music before I knew what they looked like. I loved it before I thought to like them. That I ever knew what they looked like was a happy accident of buying their albums. If artists truly wanted their art to be the only commodity in which a fan had interested, then they wouldn't plaster pictures of themselves all over the art. Yes, art is beauty at its heart, and comfort, and commentary, and all those lofty notions that poets and patchouli-soaked beatniks palaver about to the strains of a sumac bush being pruned by a phlegmatic wood chipper, but it's also vanity and self-promotion. Artists wouldn't put their work up for public scrutiny and consumption if they weren't pig-headed enough to think the rest of the world could or should give a damn about their artfully arranged and carefully composed thoughts on yaoi.

So, they put the pictures on the albums, and I noticed. Oh, did I notice. How could I not? I had eyes, and they had chiseled jaws and bulging pectoral muscles and piercing eyes. They exuded a raw sensuality that appealed to me. I started as a Till lover, but quickly switched allegiances to Richard. The man was a stone cold fox. Even better? Unlike the rest of the band, who behaved like a family of constipated meerkats, giving terse, disinterested interviews and fleeing from the merest hint of attention, Richard was a chatty soul and wouldn't hesitate to give you his thoughts on yaoi, plus his thoughts on hentai, slash, and that short-lived wheelchair-bound Barbie that never fit into the dream house. He embraced the attention and the fans and didn't treat them as necessary evils to be exploited for their money and then scraped from the bottom of his shoes.

I liked Richard, and I wanted to know more about him, and so I went looking for information--interviews, articles, videos. I scoured fansites and music sites and Youtube. I became a magpie, collecting every bit of information that I could find. In searching for "him", I discovered his side project, Emigrate. I, who at the time, scarcely had a pot to piss in, scraped together the money to order the Emigrate CD and have it shipped.

And in looking for Richard, I learned about the others. That Christoph served in the East German army. That Paul was actually named Heiko, and that he'd lived in Russia for a year. That Olli was an only child. That Flake was a fine classical pianist who despised America. That Richard had been abused by his father and stepfather. That Till wrote poetry. I would not have made the effort to dig this deeply if I hadn't first been drawn to them by bare chests and chiseled jaws. Physical attraction might be shallow, but if indulged, it can sometimes become deeper, admiration, or perhaps even love.

I'm not one of those tinhat-clad kooks who claims a special connection with Rammstein. I don't know them from a hole in the ground, and what I do "know" is little more than the public persona they choose to project. For all I know, they're complete tools who sit around their expensive houses, drinking Cristal and laughing at their gullible fans. But I like what I see, what they let me see, and I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't seen them first.

So, yes, I'm a Rammstein fangirl. I am also a Rammstein fan. One who adores the music and loves their sly humor and their cutting cultural commentary, and the hubris with which they thumb their noses at the label of being a Nazi band simply by dint of being German. I am a fan because I was allowed to be a fangirl first, and to grow into something else as well. I am a fan because older fans were patient enough to let me drool and twitter and leer.

And make no mistake; I am a fangirl still. Fangirl and fan are not mutually exclusive states of being, not a binary system. I still dribble over Richard and write fanfiction and daydream about what they're like in bed, but I also wonder if he still feels unloved and unworthy, or if Flake still thinks the U.S. is an irredeemable cesspool of acultural depravity. I think Richard has a magnificent ass, but I also think that "Los" has one of the nastiest grooves in rock, music for a coffeehouse strip joint. I'm in awe that he created that, and grateful that he chose to share it. Is my awe or gratitude less valid because I think the man who inspired it is sex on a stick?

I am a fangirl, but I am not stupid. There is a time and place for fangirlish behavior. It is not when in the presence of the person you admire. They deserve respect, and if I were ever to be in front of Richard or Till or any member of Rammstein, I wouldn't dare mention the effect their chest is having on my libido. That would be crass and immature and insulting and minimize the impact their music has had on my life.

I would, however, return from my encounter and squee from the rooftops to fellow fans. I would swoon over their hotness and recount with relish every detail, including their ass and the way they smelled. That's what fans do, and it doesn't make me a bad or lesser fan.

If it makes fans feel better about their fannishness to claim that their reasons for being a fan are purer and nobler than mine, then they can knock themselves out and dislocate their shoulders patting themselves on the back, but they also run the risk of nipping fledgling fannishness in the bud and discouraging squeeing fangirls from becoming lifelong fans, because who wants to stay where they aren't wanted or are ridiculed for not being "right" enough? If my early experiences in Rammfen hadn't been so positive, I might not have stayed around long enough to appreciate the group as people. Who wants to support a band that attracts jerks, even if the music is sublime?

I'm a fangirl, but I'm not an idiot incapable of respecting the men as individuals, and to look down your nose at me because you don't think I view them in the proper context is your failure, not mine, nor is it my responsibility to police my fannish behavior to meet your narrow, elitist, better-fan-than-you standards.

Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to listen to Rammstein and have a good time. You know, like Rammstein intended.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Apr. 23rd, 2010 06:31 pm)
Haifisch.

It's vintage Rammstein, rife with dark humor and hilariously self-referential. And kudos to them for slyly thumbing their noses at the "Rammstein are closet Nazis" brigade. Christoph looked damn sexy in that kippah.

Dear Richard,

Your sexiness is beyond compare, but those punches sucked.

Love,

Guera
Apparently, Load and Reload-era Metallica makes for great ficcing music, particularly when writing steamy, near-kisses. Who knew?

People bag on Load and Reload as shameless, money-grubbing departures from their thrash roots, and I can't deny that Lars Ulrich is a trend-hopping businessman in nut-hugging workout shorts and a powder-blue bathrobe(I'll never, ever bleach that moment from my brain), but I love them. "Until It Sleeps" is raw pain exposed, and "Bleeding Me" is probably one of the least-appreciated great rock songs. Hammett's solo is breathtaking, and the lyrics captured so much of my teenage angst. Most young people feel caught under the crushing wheels of their lives, but for me, the metaphor was quite literal. I was chained to the wheels under my ass, and one by one, my ambitions were crushed beneath them. My horizons expanded once I was beyond my mother's panicky grip and could spread my weak and hobbled wings, but the memory of such all-encompassing helplessness is never far and returns full bore each time my body betrays me.

So, I cherish these records as priceless moments of personal zeitgeist, when I was struggling to define myself beyond the stifling parameters of my disability. Are they their best albums? No. That would be Master of Puppets. But those records let me be angry when the rest of the world was telling me that I had no right to be, that I should be grateful to be alive, and not complain about all the small, quiet pleasures of the world that my disability routinely denies or impedes--sex, physical comfort, personal physical autonomy, the right to decide for myself if I need to use the toilet, the simple dignity afforded by having one's words considered on the same scale as everyone else and not magnified or diminished by the fact that I spoke them, freedom from terror at every stair or curb cut or broken accessible toilet. Metallica told me it was okay to think these things were unfair, and that it was okay to be pissed about it. And more importantly, to say so. Metallica sang for me when I couldn't make myself heard.

And at the same time, they helped me forget my anger and dream of a better time, and for that, I will always be grateful. Because of that, I will periodically listen to the albums that so many fans hate and find hope and a safe place for my anger.

They might not be my favorite band anymore--Rammstein has stolen my heart--but they will always be the most important, and for a few hours last night, I remembered it.

~cranks Death Magnetic~
Dear Queenie,

You are a frothing imbecile.

/does not end sarcasm because there wasn't any

La Guera

Apparently, Rammstein's Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da has been indexed in Germany. I'm not sure what this means, as I'm unfamiliar was German law, but based on the context of the news, it seems that "Pussy," "Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da," and "Ich Tu Dir Weh" have been labeled obscene by the authorities. Therefore, Rammstein is prohibited from performing those songs live, and the album has been removed from stores in Germany and can only be ordered by an adult with ID from an employee of the store. Rumor has it they might be banned from performing any of the songs live.

Forgive me, but where does the surprise part come in? Rammstein has been singing about kinky, deviant sex, necrophilia, cannibalism, and incest since the beginning. "Heirate Mich." "Rein Raus". Mein Teil." "Mein Teil." "Bueck Dich." "Spiel Mit Mir." "Weisses Fleisch." So, why are these songs so much more egregious? Because they actually mentioned snatches and tackle sans artistic varnish and admitted they enjoyed sex? Who knew that singing in English about the carnal boing boing festival made it extra strength dirtybadwrong? Why is "Ich Tu Dir Weh" more scandalous than "Bestrafe Mich? Why is "Liebe" more sordid than "Laichzeit"?

And why has it taken this long for the panties of the authorities to reach critical mass in the moral outrage waddage? The video for "Pussy" was released in September, and the album has been readily available for three weeks. Why now? Are there elections in Germany at present that might give this a political cast? I find the timing of this declaration convenient since the tour is set to kick off in less than twenty-four hours.

If the entire album is indexed, this clearly present a huge problem for the tour. How can you support an album if you're barred from showcasing it?
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