Wolkenfrei – Hotel Tropicana

Wolkenfrei - Hotel Tropicana



2.8/5 Pros

  • Good opening track and nice ballad Cons

  • Very similar synth background
  • Very stereotypical
  • Rather thin sound

Vanessa Mai is back with a new album. However, the German artist with Croatian roots is going back to her musical beginnings and releasing Hotel Tropicana under her former schlager project name, Wolkenfrei. The album has been released on 31st March 2023.


Wolkenfrei / Vanessa Mai – About The Artist

The roots of Wolkenfrei are already in the very late 1990’s. Marc Fischer (keyboard) and Stefan Kinski (guitar) formed the Marc-Fischer-Band, who also had a couple of gigs, sometimes with a female lead singer. In 2011, they re-branded to Wolkenfrei. Vanessa Mai, who is coming from the same region, joined the band in 2012, who did schlager music from then on. They released the debut album Endlos verliebt in 2014, which was a golden record release in Germany. The two male artists left the band in 2015, Vanessa Mai soon started to release music under her solo artist name, after she initially used Wolkenfrei for her solo career as well. I already released three Vanessa Mai albums, Für immer (2020), Mai Tai (2021) and Metamorphose (2022).


Wolkenfrei – Hotel Tropicana – Track by Track

The basic version of the album consists of twelve songs and lasts 42 minutes. However, there is also a 14 song / 50 minute version with an additional remix of the opener Uns gehört die Welt and a hit mix.

1. Uns gehört die Welt

The first single release of the album is also opening the set of 14 tracks. The song has a typical Wolkenfrei touch of love, power, freedom and a bit of summer vibes. This is, by the way, also what Vanessa Mai points out in the generic interview of the press package to Hotel Tropicana. The song gives a good feeling at the beginning of the listen. I have to already state, though, that the song is also by far the best one of the album.

Fenster auf, Wind im Haar
Das Navi auf dort, wo ich noch nie war
Nächster Stopp: Sternenzelt
Baby, uns gehört die Welt

(“Windows open, wind in the hair
The GPS set to a place where I have never been
Next stop: starry canopy
Babe, we own the world”)

2. Bis zum Morgenrot

Mir egal, was morgen ist, komm lass uns fliegen  – “I don’t care what tomorrow is like, let’s fly together”. Already the second song feels more stereotypical, more kitschy. In the music world of auto-tune and sound compression, the song is lacking the dynamics which it would have deserved. The underlying songwriting is definitely not too bad.

3. Wolkenflieger

How could a song called Wolkenflieger (“Cloud flyer”) not suit to a Wolkenfrei album. The song is a bit slower than the two ones before. The basis is still a key, synth and rhythm mixture. The song has a special touch, which I definitely appreciate. However, I again feel that the arrangement is a bit of thin and the sound does not really reflect the feelings which are described in the lyrics. I could imagine that the song works out much better when Mai is live on stage on one of her very few Wolkenfrei shows.

4. Hotel Tropicana

To make it short: you won’t find too many surprising musical elements in this album. The most catching part of the title track are the rather short verses, which lead to a nice vibe. Lines like Hotel Tropicana, Miami, Havanna are unfortunately typical schlager writing.

5. Selfie von heut Nacht

Vanessa Mai and her team selected this song as the single release in parallel to the album one. Ein Selfie von heut Nacht, der beweist, dass das mit uns kein Märchen war – “A selfie of today night, which proofs that our story hasn’t been a fairy tale”. That’s schlager music in the era of social media, I guess. Including a grammatical mistake.

6. Summer Kisses

In the sixth song, Wolkenfrei states Ich will Summer Kisses, ich vermiss’ es (“I want summer kisses, I miss it”). I better don’t comment on these kind of lyrics. Interestingly, the summer vibes in this is rather low.

7. Einmal Las Vegas und zurück

After traveling to the Hotel Tropicana in Cuba or Florida in the title track, the seventh song mentally takes us on a spontaneous trip to Nevada. Maybe I meet Vanessa Mai when I am in Sin City at the end of the year. Overall, I feel that the song is one of the better ones of the album. Even though I ask my self whether the keyboard players in schlager music haven’t learned any new chords and melodies since the 1980’s.

8. Wahre Liebe tut nicht weh

Even though Vanessa Mai states that true love does not hurt with the right guy in this song – it just hurts me to listen to this song. I highly value her personally after I had the chance to have a few words after a concert in Cologne – but I just cannot find anything I would explicitly appreciate about this recording.

9. Flieg mit mir

Flieg mit mir – “Fly with me” – this one sounds like a track I might be able to relate to. Indeed, even though I struggle with the songwriting and even though the sound is super-soupy, the song has a unique touch in the context of the album. And it catches me more than many other ditties in here.

10. Wenn ich jetzt nicht geh

The key line of the chorus translates to “If I am not leaving now, I stay here forever”. A typical schlager lyric. I wonder how many people would love Vanessa to stay… Maybe without singing too many tracks of the Hotel Tropicana album. This song feels rather arbitrary as well.

11. Die Zeit heilt alle Wunden

The eleventh song is a ballad which proofs how enjoyable it could be to listen to Vanessa Mai’s music. Even if this is full of love, emotions and thus covering the typical Wolkenfrei topics. Apart from the title track, this is the best track of the album to me.

12. Zurück im Zauberland

Weird pictures, thin melodies, monotonous backing instrumentation. The album closes its main part with a very characteristic track. Bad luck I don’t like the character of this hotel soundtrack.

13. Uns gehört die Welt (Hazienda Mix)

The remix of the opening track is a bit more rhythmic than the original. The two versions are rather close to each other.

14. Hotel Tropicana (Hit Mix)

The album condensed into a five minute song mix. Sometimes, it is good to be quick. Especially the similarities between the songs feel to fade in this recording.


Wolkenfrei – Hotel Tropicana – Spotify

Here is the album on Spotify:


Wolkenfrei – Hotel Tropicana – My View

My reviews of Vanessa Mai releases feel like a roller coaster ride. I really liked my very first review, Für immer. The release has even been close to a Top Pick! Mai Tai has been a mess in my point of view, while Metamorphose at least felt pleasing to me again.  And now, there is this Hotel Tropicana. A deep drop again. Schlager does not need to be unrelatable, thin, monotonous. Even Wolkenfrei prooved that already in the mid 2010’s. A really disappointing listen.


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