Gronemeyer – I Walk (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
HERBERT Gronemeyer is Germany’s biggest selling star but he has yet to make his mark in the UK. Debut English-language LP I Walk may change that but it’s very much a middle-of-the-road soft rock affair despite the presence of three big guests.
Initially put together under the working title of ‘Das English Album’ in tribute to the country he sought solace in following the death of both his wife and brother from cancer within three days of each other, it’s notable for having been born out of such tragedy.
But it’s also a little too serious and, just occasionally, European. Even in its brightest moments, there’s a sense that this will find its widest fan-base among those who aren’t particularly adventurous in their musical taste.
Highlights include Mensch, which features in both original form and in a souped up version featuring U2’s Bono. But it feels more emotionally true as an original, with Bono adding nothing.
To The Sea, on the other hand, features a robust guitar sound and the presence of the Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield, who gives it a greater sense of urgency and appeal.
But one senses that this is about as far out of Gronemeyer’s comfort zone as things get. He sounds more comfortable when resorting to ballads and adopting a style that’s more in keeping with another of the album’s guests, Antony Hegarty.
That collaboration, on former single Will I Ever Learn, is a thoughtful piano moment marked by sombre, almost spoken-word vocals. But while lyrically engaging, it lacks much spark.
And therein lies the album’s biggest problem. It struggles to get out of second gear too often. Songs like that and All That I Need, Same Old Boys and Because of You (not to mention countless others) revert to a serious piano-backed ballad style that eventually becomes dreary.
Download picks: Mensch, To The Sea