Without a doubt, Peter Maffay is nowadays one of the most well-known rock artists singing in German. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, he decided to release songs written during this period. The album So Weit promised to be a bit different than his previous works. Here is my review of the 17th September 2021 publication.
Peter Maffay – About The Artist
Peter Maffay is a German artist with Romanian origin. He was born on 30th August 1949 in Brasov, his civil name is Peter Alexander Makkay. He emigrated with his parents to Bavaria in 1963. About a year later, he became part of a band, which already became quite popular regionally. He had to leave school in 1968 as he twice did not make it to be promoted to the next grade and thus started to work in graphics in Munich.
At that time, he also became part of a folk duo, Peter & Margit, which finally even released a single. This attracted a producer, which finally lead to Peter Maffay’s first single Du. This track was somehow the first step into a career, which finally made Maffay become the most successful artist in the German charts (19 Number One albums, 50 million records sold). Du (and, later, the English version You) became a European success, not only selling well in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also in the Netherlands, Norway or Belgium.
He initially did schlager music, but then more and more turned into rock, partially even with country music influences. His first German album chart leader was the 1979 platinum record Steppenwolf. Between 1980 and 1989, he had six number one platinum records in Germany in a row as a solo artist.
Peter Maffay is also well-known for his charity works and projects. The most popular releases and engagements are around the fictive green dragon character Tabaluga. The first Tabaluga album (Tabaluga oder die Reise zur Vernunft) has already been released in 1983 and received a triple golden record in Germany. The Tabaluga stories also lead to one of his most epic songs, Nessaja. Apart from Du, Peter Maffay’s only Number One Single was the 1979 So bist Du from the Steppenwolf album.
Peter Maffay – So Weit – Track by Track
The eleven track album lasts 43 minutes.
1. Jedes Ende wird ein Anfang sein
When Jedes Ende wird ein Anfang sein (“Any end will be a new beginning”), I was really tempted to put this song into my Country Music Playlist. There is definitely a country touch in this song, which overall comes with a rather dark atmosphere. Very thoughtful and deep intro song into So weit.
2. Wenn wir uns wiedersehen
The song about the relationship between Peter Maffay and his father. After a split, Maffay is singing about Wenn wir uns wiedersehen – “When we will meet again”. A beautiful slow personal track, somewhere between German rock and Americana genres.
3. Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee, South Dakota. The place where US cavalry murdered countless people of the Sioux tribe. Peter Maffay is describing the depressive atmosphere in this song. An amazing track, absolutely breathtaking.
Syrian Alan Kurdi – or: the “Bodrum Boy”, who lied dead at the beach close to the Turkish city, inspired Maffay to this deep and almost lamenting song. After Wounded Knee, another very deep and touching song about refugees, fleeing and freedom.
5. So weit
The title track is a rather slow song, which majorly is driven by the acoustic guitar and Maffay’s lyrics. Only the bridge gives some additional instrumentation. Could be a great campfire song.
Weiter is a typical Peter Maffay rocker. A song, which is looking back to Peter Maffay’s career, but also to the things which is driving him to continue on his route of a musical rocker. After deep any thoughtful songs, a nice (and again, well-written) alternative.
7. Lockdown Blues
In the press material, Peter Maffay calls this song “simple” and “energetic”. Maffay feels tired of the pandemic situation. An angry song, which is a great blues rocker.
8. Nie mehr
Nie mehr (“Never again”) is having two key messages. On the one hand, it is melancholic, looking back after a split of a beloved or befriended person. On the other hand, the song is also looking forward and gives an optimistic of what lies ahead. Thus, it beautifully connects to the opening song of So weit.
This song is about virtues, even about the Ten Commandments. It reminds you to check whether you still live according to the virtues you aimed to preserve. Wir wissen nicht was wir tun – “We don’t know what we are doing”. The song feels like a 3:34 minute accusation to each and every listener. The choral Wir (“we”) at the beginning of each chorus line leads to a very intense listen. Wow.
10. Wann immer
Peter Maffay wrote this song for his two kids. In the press kit, he states that he felt a stronger-than-ever family cohesion during the last two years. The song is a swear to be there for them, but also a thank you and a praise. The song is a ballad, just coming with keyboard sound. Amazing track – when the bridge is starting and the harmonica is playing, you just have to have goose bumps.
11. Wir zwei
Peter Maffay closes his 2021 album with a love song to his girlfriend Hendrije Balsmeyer, who is a teacher and 38 years younger than the German rock titan. There was a lot of pressure on the couple due to the age difference. Maffay praises her love in words, which only songwriters may use. Lovely finish. Good luck to these happy people – and thanks for the song!
In einem Lied über mein Leben Bist Du die Zeile, die noch fehlt Denn das ganz große Finale Wär ohne Dich noch nicht erzählt.
“In a song about my life
You are the missing verse
Because the big finale
could not be told without you”
Peter Maffay – So Weit – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Peter Maffay – So Weit – My View
Peter Maffay did it again – and he did it in a great manner! So Weit is an amazing album, with deep and critical songs as well as touching and personal tracks. I personally love the strong touch of country and Americana genres in it. If you love German rock music, you need to have a listen. I am sure that So Weit will be in a bunch of Best German Album 2021 lists.