Music album review: Thomas Anders – Cosmic (White Shell Music/WM Germany, 2021)
tl;dr: If you like Modern Talking, you’ll like this album.
- Cosmic Rider (3:53)
- Undercover Lover (3:41)
- Ready For Romance (3:49)
- Je Ne Sais Pas (3:21)
- Moonlight In Your Eyes (3:38)
- Today, Tonight, Together (3:42)
- More Than A Million (3:41)
- Don’t Let Me Down (3:44)
- Heaven No. 9 (3:39)
- Another Night, Another Heartache (3:29)
- Angel Blue Eyes (3:27)
- Modern Talking (Connect The Nation) (3:32)
The first Thomas Anders album in English since HIStory (2016), which consisted of re-recorded Modern Talking songs, is not a departure from previous works. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you wanted a new Modern Talking album, this is the closest you’re going to get. If you wanted something more like the albums Thomas Anders have released in German, but in English … this isn’t it.
There’s nothing new about this. If you told me there was an AI that had been trained completely on Modern Talking (1998-2003) music and lyrics and told it to create a new Modern Talking album from existing material it feels like this is what you’d get. All the songs sound exactly like a mixture old Modern Talking songs, yet different enough to not infringe on copyright. Like how the songs Horrible Histories parody certain artists and songs. They’re recognisably meant to be e.g. Gangnam Style, but different enough to not be hit by a lawsuit. It’s that. That takes some skill.
And that’s … I’m in two minds about it. On the one hand, I fucking love Modern Talking, and have done since 1998. This album is pure joy. There’s not a song on here I’d skip, and there are a few Modern Talking songs I happily exclude from playlists. Even the ballads (Ready For Romance, Don’t Let Me Down, Angel Blue Eyes) are great, and I’ve never been keen on the obligatory ballads. (Read: they’re usually the songs I skip unless I’m in a ballad mood or fancy a singalong.)
On the other hand, I was disappointed that there is nothing innovative to be found here. The German albums were great because they didn’t try to be Modern Talking. So I guess I was disappointed to not have a new Thomas Anders album, but on the other hand I’m happy because I have a new Modern Talking album? The thing about Modern Talking, though, is that each new album brought something new to the table. Like, who would have expected the Spanish guitar banger No Face, No Name, No Number? But there it was. New. But there’s even a No Face, No Name, No Number on this album, called Today, Tonight, Together. You can’t miss it.
I mean, if this is meant to be a Modern Talking parody, it’s flawless. Not just musically (high choruses galore!), like how the opening number Cosmic Rider is similar to Cosmic Girl and a few others, but lyrically. You want a song with a French title that is entirely disconnected to the rest of the lyrics, like Rouge Et Noir or Avec Toi? There’s Je Ne Sais Pas. You’d think I was making this up, but I’m really not.
Say what you want about Dieter Bohlen – many people have, including Bohlen himself – but English lyrics have never been his strong point. I’ve never had an issue with Modern Talking lyrics, mind. At times they’ve provided a source of great amusement. (I translated them all into Swedish once upon a time. It highlighted how nonsensical some of them were.) They’re great for singing, that’s the main thing, but oh man are they ripe for parodying! Both Christian Geller and Thomas Anders can write better English lyrics than this, but they’ve really doubled down on making the album sound like Modern Talking in every way, including lyric-wise. I have to admit it amuses me.
If anything, this album goes to show that you can take Dieter Bohlen out of Modern Talking and still be left with the kind of Modern Talking you know and love. To call the final song Modern Talking (Connect The Nation) is simply top tier trolling and feels like such a great big “up yours” it’s hilarious.
On the one hand it’s absolutely treading old, safe Modern Talking ground. You like Modern Talking, you can’t not like this album. On the other, it’s brave as hell to make an album that’s Modern Talking in everything except the name on the album cover and that it has different song writers and producer.
I love the Thomas Anders/Christian Geller combination. They produce great songs together, and what’s even better is that they actually like each other. I look forward to hearing more from them, whether it’s top notch German schlager or more Modern Talking … homages. Yeah, let’s go with that, homage sounds friendlier than parody.
These songs are catchy, and hopefully I’m listening to this album enough for my Spotify Wrapped in 2023 to be an accurate reflection of my music tastes for once. But yeah, it’s funny to listen to this album and identify all the Modern Talking tracks that it’s clearly been, ahh, inspired by, such as (but not limited to) Cinderella Girl, Higher Than Heaven, Blue Eyed Coloured Girl …
5 out of 5 sort of samey high choruses.