I Walk

Herbert Grönemeyer

Groenland Records, 2013

http://www.groenemeyer.de

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/30/2013

Herbert Grönemeyer is the highest selling artist ever in Germany with over 18 million albums sold; now, well into his fifties, Grönemeyer isn't slowing down. Having surpassed the tenth album mark over a decade ago, he's as prolific as ever, with I Walk being his third album in five years. It's a good thing Grönemeyer kept his budding acting career on hold to focus on music, as his 30+ years in the music industry has produced some of the most embraced albums in his part of the world.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Here, Grönemeyer reworks 10 of his older songs in English with some very luminous support on a few. Antony Hegarty helps out on “Will I Ever Learn,” James Dean (Manic Street Preachers) make an appearance on “To The Sea,” and Bono even lends his pipes on the bonus track “Mensch.” It's somewhat of a 'Best Of' collection in the sense that it spans his catalog from 1985 on, but does include two songs exclusive to this release and, of course, these versions aren't in their original language, so in many ways they are reinvented anew.

Overall, this is a very graceful, mature pop record that covers a wide scope of emotions; while there is certainly a lot of sadness present, there's also much optimism and even life-affirming moments. Musically, it's a very reflective listen. “Mensch” uses funk moments and memorable riffs and details the loss of his brother and wife in the same week. “Will I Ever Learn” and "All That I Need" are proper ballads with pianos and intimate wordplay – a definite theme for the entire album. While most of this is Grönemeyer's husky voice against soft piano rock, songs like "To The Sea" and "I Walk" get a tad louder and more forceful yet are backed by lush strings that help keep the mood light.

Though most of his success has been in German speaking countries, on I Walk, Grönemeyer has released an album that can be appreciated by the Westerners he's been largely invisible to for so long. It's no wonder why he's been selling out stadiums in his home country for decades already; Grönemeyer's poetic, heartfelt storytelling and majestic song craft touches on some of the most tragic moments of life with eloquence and grace. This disc is well worth a listen if Sting, Seger, Peter Gabriel, or Bowie are in your interests.

Rating: B

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