German Industrial Gods Rammstein are known to the wider population for their signature tune ‘Du Hast’, but those who have gone beyond that know that their live shows are pieces of art; with theatrics, props, costumes, pyrotechnics coming together in a blaze of ‘WTF did I just watch?’ They’re one of the most consistently interesting bands ever, as they know the importance of visuals to tell a story.
This obviously extends to their music video clips, many of which have courted controversy for its content, and the release of ‘Deutschland’ is no different. With its exploration into Germany’s violent and sordid past, representing their motherland as a woman of colour, the video clip and song is sure to raise some eyebrows and cause outrage among certain sections of the world (as we’ve started seeing already). To celebrate the release of their first new video clip since 2012, and their first original song since 2011’s ‘Mein Land’, we take a look back at some of the bands highlights with our Top 10 Rammstein Music Videos…
#10 – ‘Du Riechst So Gut ‘98’
The re-release of ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ in 1998, brought with it a new video clip. A gothic horror story, the clip, although now a little dated with it’s special effects, is a veritable how to, in using camera and other visual techniques. From the tracking shots, the point of view shots, the symbolic use of colour, and fast motion, the clip is an entertaining ride into a man’s obsession with a woman. Plus, it makes for a great teaching tool when teaching high school kids, the use of visual techniques!
#9 – ‘Mein Teil’
The opening single from 2004’s Reise, Reise, the title, German slang for ‘my penis’, was inspired by the real-life case of two German men who, decided to meet up chop off, cook and eat one of the man’s penis, before the other man (with the permission of the now eunuch) killed, cooked and ate the remains of the other. As you can imagine, the video clip is suitably disturbing and weird given the genesis of the song, with each member of Rammstein fighting with their own demons. The images are unsettling and strange culminating in drummer Christoph wearing drag and walking the other five members of Rammstein down the street like dogs. Well, it is Rammstein…
#8 – ‘Mein Herzt Brennt’
Total honesty, this is my absolute favourite song! The string section adds an ethereal quality that just gets me every time. Another weird, strange and disturbing video clip, the original was so surreal and non-linear, that the band had to go back and film new scenes with a new director, to give it something of a storyline. Young children being trapped and experimented on in an orphanage finally escape and set the building on fire in their adulthood. The heavy use of reds, blacks, blues and greys along with the nightmarish flickering images adds to the power and drama of the song. A piano version of the song and clip is also available.
#7 – ‘Haifisch’
This one is just a bit silly and subsequently, is a bit hilarious. Christoph, Flake, Richard, Paul and Ollie attend the funeral of Till, and while there all hell breaks loose. Fighting among Till’s women and each band member imagining how they would have killed Till, with references to previous clips ‘Du Hast’, ‘Ohne Dich’, ‘Keine Lust’, ‘Amerika’ and ‘Sonne’, culminate in a fight among the band, leading to the reveal that Till’s body isn’t in the coffin. The clip was probably a lot of fun for the band to film, exercising any frustrations they might have had with each other. Oh, and keep your eye out for Marilyn Manson in the background.
#6 – ‘Ohne Dich’
Leaving the strange and silly behind, ‘Ohne Dich’ is a beautiful ballad, and the video clip about a group of men (Rammstein) climbing a mountain with the assistance of a guide (Flake), is a lovely story of teamwork, brotherhood and friendship. The song’s refrain roughly translates to “without you… I cannot be”, and the central theme of love is nicely played out in a tender moment between the band in the video clip. Its imagery is vastly different from what one has come to expect from a Rammstein clip, which is what makes it all the more moving.
#5 – ‘Sonne’
A twisted take on Snow White, ‘Sonne’, tells the story of the band as hardworking dwarves who are put to slave labour by a sadistic, drug taking Snow White. Striking visuals, a dark depressing tone and some excellent synchronisation of the mining Rammstein and the music, makes this clip one that will leave a lasting impression. Just best not show the kiddies, because no one want to think of a Disney Princess as evil incarnate.
#4 – ‘Rosenrot’
I love this video clip, as it starts off like an episode of Law and Order: SVU, before turning into something completely different. A group of travelling monks, from different orders (based on their dress) aka Rammstein, come upon a Romanian village where a young 14-year-old girl catches the eye of one of the monks, played by Till. From then, well, beatings, fire, murder, flagellation (and not necessarily in that order). It’s a dramatic, unsettling watch to go hand in hand with the song’s story of a man falling to his death to retrieve a rose for his lover.
#3 – ‘Mein Land’
Set in 1964 California, the video clip of ‘Mein Land’, see Rammstein running around the beach with a bunch of beach babes. Surfing, playing instruments and Till running down the beach in slow motion, like a star of Baywatch, the clip is hilarious, bright and cheesy. Everything you don’t expect Rammstein to be, which is why it is so high on this list. That and the fact that I have a real weird thing for Till in this clip. The final minute switches to the (then present) of 2012, and the band are in their scary, black, leather attire while the girls are naked or wearing very little. The juxtapositioning of images just shows how unoriginal and uninteresting the last minute of the clip is, as director Jonas Åkerlund (who directed the ‘if you haven’t seen it, you need to fix that immediately’ Live Aus Paris) relies too heavily on stereotypes and tropes of what a heavy metal band should be. The last minute has none of the fun or tongue- in- cheekiness that makes the first 3 and ½ minutes so delightful.
#2 – ‘Amerika’
Social commentary and Rammstein is my idea of musical heaven! ‘Amerika’ takes a firm swipe at globalisation and our (by our, the whole world’s) obsession with American culture. Using clips of many cultures from around the world, using American products and adopting American values, alongside clips of a fake moon landing, with Rammstein helping to fake the moon landing, the song’s message is clear and obvious. And if you are not entirely convinced, the bridge’s lyrics “this is not a love song, I don’t sing my mother tongue” (sung in yes, English), should clear up any doubt what the song is about.
and the winner is….
#1 – ‘Ich Will’
My number one, goes to a video clip that uses all the fancy visual techniques and has a social commentary to boot to tell its story. ‘Ich Will’ is the story of five bank robbers, each with a physical injury or disability who become famous and adored by the public as a result of their crimes. The song, from 2001’s Mutter is an absolute banger, and the clip is more relevant than ever with social media being used by terrorists, murderers and psychopaths to publicise and promote their despicable acts. The clip criticises the media’s part in glorifying these dipshits for the sake of a good story, and does so with muted tones, black and white footage, slow motion and close ups.
Really you should watch all of Rammstein’s video clips and get a copy of Live Aus Paris to watch their live shenanigans, otherwise you might also want to check out: ‘Mann Gegen Mann’ (if you want to watch a lot of naked, oiled up, naked men), ‘Pussy’ (if you want to watch soft core porn to Rammstein music), ‘Mutter’ (for more dark and depressing visuals) ‘Keine Lust’ (for obese men performing heavy metal music), or ‘Du Hast’ (for a Lynchian fix).
What’s your favourite Rammstein video clip? Anything we missed?
Written by Carys Hurcom @CarysWos
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Rammstein – Rammstein tracklisting
3. ++++ DICH
7. +AS +CH ++E++
9. WE++ WE+
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