Made In Germany

The week started well, very well, I had every day, and evening, tagged for activity and was overjoyed to be on a schedule that would launch me through the backlog of horror and into the world of completed and invoiced work.
That was until it all went wrong after the studio on Tuesday night. Well, it’s winter and it happens to me every bloody time, so after some time with a cheek resting on bathroom floor tiles, 4am TV from under a blanket, weight loss by coercion and the life giving miracle of Irn Bru I’m venturing back out this afternoon.

Not all bad though, despite Amazon’s best efforts to screw it up with shoddy packaging my Rammstein Made In Germany mighty box arrived to save the day. My first thought, after “This is really heavy” (the box set itself, the contents are too, but in a different way) was that MP3’s are shite.
I’ve waxed lyrical about old vinyl and CD packaging before, but of late I’d been surfing iTunes buying songs here and there with happiness at the sounds and a little disappointment at the same time, more than ever I want sleeve notes. Who engineered, where was it mastered, when was it recorded, did the ex-bass player get a mention, who’s singing on track 3, who did they thank… I need to know these things, without it music seems to be turning into a faceless instant hit minor joy dispensary rather than an immersive art-form where gazing at the gatefold sleeve would easily occupy you for both sides of the album.

Made in Germany is essentialy a Best Of with one disc of regular tunes, one disc of widely varying remixes and three DVD’s with all of Rammstein’s videos (plus making-of shorts for each one) on it, and that is the reason I had it pre-ordered the day Amazon listed it months ago.
Rammstein’s video’s are, strange. You’re never quite sure where they’re going with it, sex, sarcasm, humour, violence, inspiration, horror and joy run through it, both the music and the images and I love it. They’re not all good of course, but watch Sonne on YouTube as a nice starter, still makes me smile.
The packaging is a hinged metal box in a plastic slip case and inside there’s another metal folder with a thick hardback book inside it full of photies, lyrics and bumff. Also in there wrapped up inside a white cotton cross are the five discs in individual digipack folders, all with different artwork, portaits of the members of the band all being spread around the package. It really is a lovely wee thing and well worth the £38 I paid for it.
Is it worth the £190+ it’s now listed on Amazon for as it’s already sold out everywhere? No, you can get all the content elsewhere if you really wanted to and as it’s now a collectible it’s going to take the fun out of wearing out the discs as I’ll have to preserve and covet it. Oh wait, no it won’t.

Anyway, bring back packaging, bring back that tenuous link to the music and the artist you got by holding the sleeve in your hand as a teenager, bring back the artistry and the imagination that caught your eye in the record shop and captivated your mind as you put the needle in the groove for track one side one back at home.
Modern life is rubbish. Mostly.

2 thoughts on “Made In Germany”

  1. You lucky lucky ….. It’s nice when a band you like has this treatment, It should just be about the music but I remember when my Dad brought home a Buddy Holly box set and even though he had every track you could tell he was pleased, I’ve got a Jimi Hendrix box set thats covered in some purple velvet material that I treasure, yes it’s just something a marketing person has thought up to make you buy the music all over again but when it’s done well they become objects of desire. I see MP3s as something you don’t have to look after ,disposable even , so they don’t hold the same sentimental value you don’t feel you own something of the band. I’m with you there on the liner notes.
    I’m I the only one who loved the smell of a brand new vinyl album or have I gone too far.

  2. Smell is always a big part of things, concert programmes had that smell about them, fresh ink, anticipation and by the time I was going home it was bushel of tattered damp pages sticking out my back pocket. Still sellotaped my ticket in there though.

    Music is more product than ever, at least the high profile celebrity fueled stuff is, the underground will always rumble on in independant tuneless glory.

    Alice Cooper always did magic packaging, Billion Dollar Babies was a giant wallet with a billion dollar bill in a clasp and the lyric bagged vinyl in a pouch, Schools Out was school desk with paper pants inside… I’ll need to get into my folks attic…

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