Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester is likely not the kind of music you would expect to be reviewed on Flyctory.com – me neither. Just after his MTV Unplugged album was released on 22nd November 2019, I ran into two tracks of it and just felt that I have to introduce you to this amazing project.
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester – About The Artists
Max Raabe was born in 1962 at Luenen at the Western part of Germany. During his studies at the Berlin University of Arts, he formed the Palast Orchester (“Palace Orchestra”), which aimed to re-live the movie and dance music of the 1920s and 1930s in Germany. The band members thereby strolled through flea markets to find original arrangements.
The project does nowadays not only arrange original songs, but uses their very own style to cover other songs, including pop and rock classics. Some of the songs they recorded are We Will Rock You by Queen, Oops! I Did it again by Britney Spears or Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins. While Max Raabe and his orchestra had decent success at the beginning , their last albums lead to quite significant chart placements in Germany and Austria and – partially – also in Switzerland. There are some singles charts placements as well, but they are much worse in ranking. One of the most well-known songs of them is Küssen kann man nicht alleine (“You cannot kiss alone”), which also illustrates the ironic and humorous songs of Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester.
Max Raabe – MTV Unplugged – The Album
The MTV Ungplugged album lasts 85 minutes and is thus delivered on two CDs with an overall of 30 songs. Similar to the recent Robbie Williams christmas album, I will not for a track by track review, but for a more traditional style, as you may find it in the press. The CD has been recorded in Clärchens Ballhaus, Berlin, on two evenings.
Max Raabe – MTV Unplugged – CD 1
The CD starts with comparably classic Max Raabe sound, when he is singing Ich geh durch den Park an einem Donnerstag (“I walk the park on a Thursday”). But already the second track shows why this MTV Unplugged will be special: German singer-songwriter LEA duets with Raabe for Guten Tag, liebes Glück. The third track latest sets the experimental character of the recording. For Der perfekte Moment … wird heut verpennt, rapper Samy Deluxe is joining the stage.
The next three tracks are Max Raabe and the Orchestra only, but offer quite a variety of German songs, There is also the English Cheek to Cheek. After two more songs in a very classic German Max Raabe sound, the next duet on the album is with the German superstar Herbert Grönemeyer, who is performing Du weisst nichts von der Liebe (“You don’t know anything about love”) with Raabe.
This song is followed by Küssen kann man nicht alleine (see above), in which Raabe is accompanied by Namika, who was very successful in the German charts in the recent years.
I liked the second next track, Lonely Dancer, as well, which has a very classic sound:
The first CD ends with Kein Schwein ruft mich an, in which polka comedian Pawel Popolski stops the performance and introduces Polka sound to the track.
Max Raabe – MTV Unplugged – CD 2
After Ich bin Dein Mann, Herbert Grönemeyer steps back on stage to join Raabe for his very own song, Mambo. There are a couple of remarkable songs thereafter, like Für Frauen ist das kein Problem or the German classic tune, Wochenend und Sonnenschein. About the eighth track of the album, I read several reviews stating that this is close to the duet of the year: For Just A Gigolo, Max Raabe invited nobody but Finnish Eurovision Song Contest 2006 Winner Mr. Lordi, one of my favorite musicians. The Heavy Metal Monster becomes a soft singer in this arrangement – just genius! In January 2020, the video to that song was released on YouTube:
Though this is a mixture of an amazing moment and a shocker, you still enjoy listening to the album, which continues with the uptempo Rosa, reizende Rosa and another Namika duet, Cote d’Azur. The next highlight is the second last track, the Comedian Harmonist original Mein kleiner grüner Kaktus.
The album concludes with a choral-alike Donna Maria, which adds another very different sound to the selection of thirty songs.
Max Raabe – MTV Unplugged – Spotify
Here is the widget to pre-listen into MTV Unplugged
Max Raabe – MTV Unplugged – My View
The music of Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester is already close to what you would expect as an MTV Unplugged sound. The more, I am amazed that they dare to create new tunes, add unexpected voices to the tracks and also don’t take themselves to seriously. Especially the tracks with Mr. Lordi and Sami Deluxe are outstanding and make this album worth listening even if you don’t like the Palast Orchester sound.
Max Raabe – MTV Unplugged – Tracklist
As I did not mention all songs above, here is the full track list:
1. Ich geh durch den Park an einem Donnerstag
2. Guten Tag, liebes Glück
3. Der perfekte Moment wird heut verpennt
4. Fahrrad fahr’n
5. Du bist viel zu schön für einen Mann allein
6. Moritat von Mackie Messer
7. Cheek To Cheek
9. Kleine Lügen
10. Du weißt nichts von Liebe
11. Küssen kann man nicht alleine
12. Just One Of Those Things
13. Lonely Dancer
14. Kein Schwein ruft mich an
1. Ich bin dein Mann
4. Für Frauen ist das kein Problem
5. This Is The Night
6. Ich schlaf am besten neben Dir
7. Wochenend und Sonnenschein
8. Just A Gigolo
9. Rosa, reizende Rosa
10. Côte d’Azur
11. Alabama Song
12. Sweet And Lovely
13. Chinatown, My Chinatown
14. Du bist nicht die Erste
15. Mein kleiner grüner Kaktus
16. Donna Maria (Ave Maria No Morro)
Album cover / TItle picture: Artist material
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