One of the German schlager artists I honor most is definitely Roland Kaiser. He is active since decades and is still one of the most popular artists of the genre. Just on the weekend at which I am going to one of his concerts, he is somehow opening up the Flyctory.com Christmas album season with his new album Weihnachtszeit – “Christmas Time”. Release date is 8th October 2021.
Roland Kaiser – About The Artist
Roland Kaiser was born on 10th May 1952 in Berlin (West). His civil name is Roland Keller. So far, he has sold some 90 million records. His breakthrough song was the 1980 single Santa Maria, which also boosted the album Dich zu lieben in 1981. Both releases topped the respective charts. Even though it took Kaiser until recent times to make to to the German Top 10 again, he was very popular in the 1980’s. Around the millennium, Kaiser published that he is suffering from COPD, which was later even making him resign from doing live shows.
However, Kaiser is back on stage and the recent years have been the most successful ones of his career, likely. In summer, he regularly sells out a large open air venue in Dresden multiple times, the so-called Kaisermania. His last three albums, Seelenbahnen (2014), Auf den Kopf gestellt (2016) and Alles oder Dich (2019) were all Top 10 albums in Germany and at least received golden records in Germany and Austria.
Roland Kaiser – Weihnachtszeit – Track by Track
The album contains 15 songs and lasts 48 minutes. There is also a two disc deluxe version, which contains instrumental versions, but also some special tracks like version of Shallow with German schlager queen Helene Fischer.
1. Süßer die Glocken nie klingen
Roland Kaiser stated before the release of this album, that he wanted to record an album which is having surprising elements from the very first to the very last minute. The album starts with a German Christmas classic, accompanied with pop rhythm and strings in the background – and later also with a choir. I cannot really state that I absolutely like it.
2. Leise rieselt der Schnee
Leise rieselt der Schnee is “Snow Falls Softly at Night” in English. For this second track, Roland Kaiser uses a rather traditional setup with orchestral instruments and a background choir. There is no doubt about his voice anyway – this song definitely reminds me that I should start thinking about presents.
3. Winter Wonderland
Big band and a touch of swing in this Roland Kaiser version of classic Santa season song. Roland Kaiser singing in English works out very well. Accompanied by the brass sounds, he can perfectly profit from his vocal excellence. Straight A++ from the very first second.
4. When A Child Is Born (feat. Olga Peretyatko)
For the fourth song, Kaiser invited Russian opera singer Olga Peretyatko to join him. As a German, you typically initially feel a bit confused as the melody of the Zacar classic is typically associated with the song Tränen lügen nicht, which has been a huge hit in my home country. Once you are in Christmas mode and think about the recordings by Kenny Rogers or Boney M, it becomes a really good song with a strong message.
5. Alle Jahre wieder
Alle Jahre wieder is one of the traditional German Christmas tunes. Roland Kaiser adds a bit of pop elements after each verse, including backing voices. Kaiser just did not want to do an ordinary holiday album, but add special touches. In this song, I would say it is at least not disturbing. A straight, contemplative version would have been fine to me as well.
6. O Tannenbaum
While “Oh Christmas Tree” is likely not on the top of the English language Santa playlist, O Tannenbaum is a must-sing in Germany. Roland Kaiser does an a-capella version, just with him and some voices of his backing choir – a great listen.
7. Mary’s Boy Child
After this slow, peaceful listen, the pop-alike and powerful version of Mary’s Boy Child feels a huge contrast. Roland Kaiser is doing the song like Boney M. did decades ago. It’s Christmas time – so being a bit of kitschy is absolutely within the limits. Cool version.
8. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (feat. Jan Josef Liefers & Axel Prahl)
What a festive classic. For this version, Kaiser adds two guest voices – Jan Josef Liefers and Axel Prahl are best known in Germany for being the main actors in the Münster version of the weekly Tatort TV crime movie series. It works out – three male vocalists, some rhythm and a bit of strings. A good Christmas song does not need more – especially if the original is a great one already.
9. In The Ghetto
In The Ghetto might be a surprising selection for me on a Christmas album. But it is a great fit – and is one of the best recordings on the whole Weihnachtszeit albums. I am sure Roland Kaiser could also do some more Elvis covers, great vocal fit.
10. Engel auf den Feldern singen (Gloria in Excelsis Deo)
The original of the tenth song is Angels We Have Heard On High. Maybe the most traditional recording on the whole album. Just strings and the choir. It is an excellent song – and Roland Kaiser just does the track the way it should be recorded.
11. O du Fröhliche
The German classics – Roland Kaiser feels to have them all on this album. There is a bit of rhythm and some instrumental part in this song. The latter gives a really nice touch to this recording.
12. Let It Snow
The brass is back – Let It Snow is done in big band and swing style. Again, there is a rather long instrumental part. The song is on point – there’s nothing more to say about it.
13. White Christmas
Roland Kaiser does the Bing Crosby classic in an almost jazzy style. Especially in this part of the album, you just listen and enjoy. Kaiser is an outstanding artist and just does the things right.
14. Wunderbar ist die Welt
Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World in Germany. If this track is running on your Christmas party, even terrible presents cannot spoil the day. There is even a touch of rock during the short guitar solo.
15. Stille Nacht
Harps are opening for the grand finale of the album. Roland Kaiser saves the biggest one for last and performs the classic (“Silent Night”) in a slow, majestic version. After listening to this, I feel that waiting more than two months for Christmas just feels too long.
Roland Kaiser – Weihnachtszeit – Spotify
Here is Weihnachtszeit on Spotify:
Roland Kaiser – Weihnachtszeit – My View
Roland Kaiser is one of the most outstanding artist of German music. Even though I initially struggled with the concept of the album, I love it more the more I listen to it. Roland Kaiser is just precise and top class in his recordings – no matter if it is a schlager one or a Christmas themed one. Straight into the Top Pick! ratings – I am sure they love this one at the North Pole as well.
Flyctory.com about Christmas
Here are all Flyctory.com postings which deal with Christmas in any way: