The German-Swedish duo made up of brilliant seasoned musicians Till Lindemann (RAMMSTEIN) and Peter Tägtgren (HYPOCRISY, PAIN, ex-BLOODBATH) has released their second album titled “F & M” (short for Frau und Mann) through Universal Music and Vertigo Berlin. Having been four years since the release of their debut “Skills in Pills” the album was undoubtedly highly anticipated and consists of 11 tracks plus two more bonus songs on the deluxe version.
The obvious difference compared to the first album is linguistic – Lindemann sings in his native German as opposed to English, which I’m glad about as I’ve always found him to sound a bit awkward and unnatural in English. The decision to sing in English was supposedly done to avoid sounding too much like RAMMSTEIN but has clearly been abandoned for this second release. The album starts off with one of the singles – “Steh auf” -and it really does sound like something RAMMSTEIN might’ve released, but there is also the obvious musical signature of Peter Tägtgren.
The album is one that’s nearly impossible to categorise as the genre or style of music changes almost from song to song, but the second song “Ich weiss es nicht” follows the dark and heavy thematic start. If there’s one thing Till Lindemann loves it’s being provocative and that shows in the next song “Allesfresser” or Omnivore in English, in which he cleverly suggests through his writing, as he often does, that he (and all people) are animals as German has different words for animals eating and humans eating.
The feeling changes during the fourth song “Blut“, which is filled with menacing, grim darkness and acts as somewhat of a prelude to, what I think is the album’s standout song, “Knebel“. The track is quite a calm acoustic song (until it isn’t), although the lyrics are very in style for LINDEMANN whilst the video is…interesting to say the least and explores a common theme found throughout Till Lindemann’s music – sexuality/BDSM and relations between men and women. The theme continues in the next song, essentially the title track, “Frau & Mann“, the chorus of which borders somewhere between catchy and annoying with the repetition of ai-ai-ai.
Then it’s time for something completely different, the duo surprises us with a lovely, playful tango in the form of “Ach so gern“. The lyrics, however, while brilliant as always, are not as lovely and could be described as quite rapey. The album continues with a hauntingly beautiful lullaby, though I would refrain from playing this to your eight-year-old as Lindemann‘s deep voice gives you a feeling that you just might never wake up again. You’d still let him sing you to sleep though.
Any romantic notions are quickly put away with the next song “Gummi” in which the duo talk about their, uhm, latex fetish. Fittingly (I guess) the song is faster and heavier than the previous ones. Afterwards, “Platz Eins” has a distinct electronic touch as the band talks about – as the title suggests – being the best. I’d say these two songs are possibly the weakest on the album, especially “Platz Eins” just feels a bit too experimental. Closing the standard version of the album is a gentle, beautiful, tragic and existential “Wer weiß das schon“, while the deluxe version also has a downright bizarre techno-rap song “Mathematik“, which has been released before in a few different versions in 2018 and a fantastic rendition of “Ach so gern” in the style of Tägtgren industrial project PAIN, which naturally completely changes the song from tango to something a lot heavier.
So what is “F & M” with one word? Fascinating. It’s basically exactly what you’d expect from two such musical veterans – absolute quality. This record and this band also continue to prove my theory that Peter Tägtgren equals a good band correct. And when Till Lindemann is added they definitely combine to create one of the best and the most interesting musical collaborations to exist.
1. Steh auf
2. Ich weiß es nicht
6. Frau & Mann
7. Ach so gern
8. Schlaf ein
10. Platz Eins
11. Wer weiß das schon
13. Ach so gern – PAIN version
Till Lindemann – Vocals
Peter Tägtgren – All instruments