He simply calls himself Der Mann mit der Mundharmonika – “The Man With The Harmonica”: Michael Hirte fascinated Germany at the Supertalent talent show (equiv. to Germany’s Got Talent) with his instrument and emotional interpretation. Thirteen years after his great success, he is releasing another album called Love Hurts. Release date is 7th May 2021.
Michael Hirte – About The Artist
Michael Hirte was born on 10th October 1964 in Spremberg, GDR, close to the border to Poland. He initially live in the Spreewald region, later in Potsdam near Berlin in Düren near Cologne. He used to work as a truck driver, by a heavy accident blinded his right eye and caused a stiff leg. This finally lead to the situation that he did not have work, when he joined the Supertalent show. Some 72 per cent of the phone votes favored Hirte, when he won the show on 30th November 2008. His debut album was simple called Der Mann mit der Munhdhamonika and got a triple platinum record in Germany. The album lead the charts in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The sophomore album Der Mann mit der Mundharmonika still topped the Austrian charts and lead to golden records in Germany and Austria.
Even though the sales and chart positions slowly decreased, he for example still had a golden record with Liebesgrüße auf der Mundharmonika (“Love Greetings on the Harmonica”). The most popular single was his Supertalent winner song Ave Maria. Including two Christmas albums (thereof one platinum album in Germany and Austria), Love Hurts is already Hirte’s thirteenth studio album.
Michael Hirte – Love Hurts – Track by Track
The thirteen songs take 41 minutes. Interestingly, I could not find a single release before the album. Most of the songs are covers, but the album also contains four originals.
1. Arms of Mary
The album starts with a 1976 classic, originally performed by the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver. Of course, finally, Michael Hirte’s a bit of plushy and over-emotional songs are a matter of taste. But he is just doing his thing. He is doing it good. The harmonica really feels to replace the vocalist and sometimes even seems to be the “better voice”. Promising starter.
One thing I like about the album Love Hurts is that Hirte is also touching a nice range of songs and eras – and he is not hesitating to go for the very big ones. I would guess that Angels, originally by Robbie Williams, is really tough because it comes with such a range of notes. Hirte masters this song. bad luck that he did not try out even more modern songs in here.
3. Love Hurts
Back to the 1960’s: the next song is a classic, Love Hurts, originally performed by The Everly Brothers. Hirte’s interpretation is definitely rather to the softer sound of the original than to the rocking way of doing it by Nazareth in the mid-1970’s. But there is even a slight guitar solo by his background band. So there is a Love Hurts touch for every generation.
4. Boat On The River
There album takes the easy route in a way that Hirte has selected a couple of songs most people (especially in his core audience) know. You can relate to the songs (as you know anyway), you know the lyrics – and you are in the song already from the very first moment. Same thing applies to Boat on the RIver, which Styx made big in 1979. There is not that much folk rock touch any more, but rather the spirit of easy listening, but it is well done.
5. Song Sung Blue
There is a certain focus on the 1970’s in the album, for sure. Song Sung Blue, Neil Diamond single, still spreads the touch of country pop the song had in the past. The scattered backing vocals are a bit too much, though.
6. Mein Lied für dich
Mein Lied für dich (“My song for you”) is the first original on the album. The track has a very nice focus on the harmonica again at the beginning. Sometimes I feel, the producers want to give the a songs too much of a schlager touch. Later in the track, the drums and the strings rather feel disturbing to me.
7. Mein Kindertraum
Mein Kindertraum (“My childhood / children dream”) is another original. The backing melodies are a really monotonous (if the keyboarder and guitarist have to play that one live on stage, you have to pray that they don’t fall asleep). This leads to a strange effect on my side: even though these parts of the track add so little value, I more an more concentrate on them and ask myself whether they really have to play the same all the time. Bad luck that it distracts that much from the key instrumental factor here.
8. No More Boleros
I have to admit that I did not know the original of this track, a 1989 Peter de Wijn song, which is based on the famous Bolero by Ravel. I have to admit that I can neither relate to the original nor to Hirte’s version too much.
9. Please Release Me
There are numerous versions of this song (which is in fact solely called Release Me and has been an Eddie Miller single in 1949 already). This song gives me too much of a James Last feeling. It is much sopping than traditional schlager. Especially when the backing singers are in fact singing lyrics, I am just too tempted to press the forward button. You have to be more romantic than me to love that. I already disliked the Engelbert Humperdinck version, I am sorry.
10. Right Here Waiting
After that emotional experience, I was looking forward to this Richard Marx classic. His 2020 album Limitless was such a great one and boosted my respect for this artist massively again. Of course, it is always a very small difference between an emotional interpretation by Hirte and a just too corny track – but I feel, this song is again right on point. A great original and a great new version.
11. Danke mein Engel
Three songs outstanding and still two originals missing – thus, it is urgently time for a Hirte composition. His originals are really nice listens and fit well to the spirit of the album. This also applies to Danke mein Engel – “Thank you, my angel”
12. Der kleine Prinz
This song is a German schlager song of the late previous century. This time, I definitely prefer the Hirte version over the original by Peter Orloff – but I would have strongly voted in favor of leaving this three chord 1990’s electronic organ style tootling in the background. Makes the song feel really old.
13. Dir so nah
Dir so nah (“So close to you”) is the closing song of the album – and it is another original. A very slow track, which unfortunately sometimes feel a bit of boring.
Michael Hirte – Love Hurts – Spotify
Here is Love Hurts on Spotify:
Michael Hirte – Love Hurts – My View
I feel I almost pointed out the key issue of Love Hurts in my comments about Right Here waiting: sometimes, Hirte is doing really well done, emotional instrumental pop tracks – but if he and his team are just pushing a bit too much, the songs get soppy and just feel like a terrible schlager song without vocals. Unfortunately, some few tracks are rather in the second area. So sad, as these songs also distract you from Michael Hirte’s excellence on his instrument. His fans will love this album and if you like traditional schlager, you might as well. I like it – but it is not in the top rankings.
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