we stay basically blue. and we stay with german liedgut, referring to the cut off german culture of the early 20th century. well, not straight away, but believe me, we’ll get there. and i get now the chance to fullfill part one of a request (hello H!).
the band that would later become a flagship of german sung music, the band element of crime started with english lyrics (although i remember that they have been critzised for the thick german accent – which i found always very fitting).
while we had something of a “juicy blue” in the last post with sein, we have now a rather cold, grey blue. the mood is rather gritty and also more laconic. let’s blame that on moving from the more alpine zürich to the nordic berlin. or from moving from a town where you actually see a lake and the mountains to the big city where there is just…city around you. a city in winter, the cold creeping into old buildings.
element of crime usually insisted on being a rock band – and to a degree this is true, but maybe also a little bit misleading: they were less rocking then, but, hm, rolling, maybe? well, they oscillated in the early years between nervous and blue (actually the first song i heard of them) – remembering me at times of early talking heads, just a lot bluer. and like the talking heads, they actually covered take me to the river on their first record. and while the version of the talking heads on stop making sense is actually a funky monster, the version of element of crime is a rather naked one. still funky, but more timmy thomas then al green. and after all these years (it came out in 1986) i still think it is a very good record, this first record, called basically sad, and it had also a great cover.
as mentioned above, i got aquainted with element of crime through their second record, try to be mensch, which gained them some more recognition, having something of a hit on it, the aforementioned nervous and blue. one reason for the (international) recognition was certainly that this record has been produced by mister john cale.
then the blue got a little bit lighter – still laconic, the grittyness disappeared a little bit to make space for some irony – also reflected in the title and cover of their third record: freedom, love & happiness.
and here we stop for now – more will be in a secod post. but before that second post we will make a little detour…
in the meantime you can visit the band’s website and do some homework.
oh, and if you thought i leave you without some music you are very wrong. i actually have something very special for you: from 1988 (the year freedom, love & happiness came out), recorded at the jugendhaus in the pretty little town of zug in switzerland (known for its low taxes, right) comes a live recording of element of crime (and i checked: they did not use that recording for their live recording crime pays). yep, compared to more recent ones this is noisier – and also the audience is quite noisy, which is actually kind of nice. element of crime did have to convince them, obviously – and managed to do so – and they ended up playing quite a lot of encores. taped from radio, i ripped the tape as two mp3 files (@ the usual 224). and yes, nervous and blue is also on it (but not take me to the river, i’m afraid).
so here you get element of crime live at the jugenhaus zug in 1988. enjoy!
and then i do have a request myself: if anybody has a recording of EOC playing Kurt Weill (at the festival la batie) – i’d love to get my hands on a copy.