2001: Tokio Hotel: "Embrace Our Past"

Anyone who thinks of Tokio Hotel today will quickly have a certain song in their mind.

2001: Tokio Hotel: "Embrace Our Past"

Anyone who thinks of Tokio Hotel today will quickly have a certain song in their mind. In 2005, the debut single "Durch den Monsun" suddenly gave the band their big breakthrough. With the song, Tokio Hotel not only got through the monsoon and behind the world - but also at the top of the German charts. The band filled huge concert halls and pushed crowds of screaming teenage fans to their limits.

And anyone who starts with a song like this can do it again: "Durch den Monsun 2020", an electronic and gentler new version of the hit, is the opener of the band's sixth studio album. Tokio Hotel fans had to wait five years for a new album. The musicians published half of the songs on it in advance.

Eight new songs are on the album - it is titled "2001": a reference to the year the band was founded. Back then, the twins Bill and Tom Kaulitz met bassist Gustav Schäfer and guitarist Georg Listing in their hometown of Magdeburg.

An enduring friendship

Today the four are in their thirties and live in a long-distance band relationship: Tom and Bill live in the USA, Gustav and Georg are at home in Germany. The melancholic song "When We Were Younger" is about this ordeal - but also about the ongoing friendship. Because music still connects people today.

"Our hearts are still beating the same, from Berlin to LA, the same stars we stand under," it says in English. "We can somehow embrace our past again now," said lead singer Bill Kaulitz in an interview with the German Press Agency in September. "And once again we had time to just be in the studio with the four of us."

The rocking and loud Tokio Hotel sound of the 2000s - for which many foreign fans even learned German at the time - is rather absent on the new album. Also on the previous albums ("Dream Machine", "Kings of Suburbia") most of the songs were in English.

Musically, the songs today go more in the direction of pop and electro. For example "White Lies" (2021): The band produced the electro and title song of "Germany's Next Topmodel" with the DJ duo VIZE. "We've tried a lot and have gone a bit away from rock and more in the direction of pop, and have now also done a few dance numbers," Kaulitz told dpa. The "colorful album" combines these musical excursions.

Not really happy songs

The songs on "2001" are about lovesickness ("Bad Love") and loneliness ("Here Comes The Night"). The soft rock and electro song "Runanway" describes the feeling of never really arriving and having to break out. In the gentle ballad "Ain't Happy," Bill sings about escapism and finding a sense of belonging. A particularly beautiful song on the album is the quiet and intimate duet "Just A Moment" with Canadian newcomer Vvaves. The two are only accompanied by an acoustic guitar.

Collaborate with other artists? A few years ago, that was not so easy to imagine for Tokio Hotel. The band used to "want to do everything on their own," Bill explained. During the Corona period, however, the musicians were able to get more involved with other songwriters and producers. This also applies to the dance song "Happy People" with the Icelandic electronica musician and former ESC participant Daði Freyr ("10 Years"). The uptempo track about happy people playing has the potential to become a permanent catchy tune - and you can dance to it too. At least the band proves that together with Tom's wife Heidi Klum on TikTok.

An unusually light-hearted song for the band is "Smells like Summer". The name says it all, there's snapping and whistling to the beat. "I would say that's the only happy and positive song," said Bill Kaulitz recently in a TikTok video. In this respect, the band has remained true to itself since their first studio album "Schrei" (2005). "Actually, we don't write happy songs," says the 33-year-old.

The album ends with the song "Back To The Ocean". "If only I could turn back time a bit," Bill says in English. The fans could also long for it while listening - and indulge in teenage memories again. You could refresh them next year: in 2023 Tokio Hotel can be seen live again and travel through Europe on the "Beyond The World Tour".