Today marks the official US release of Kings of Suburbia, the new album from my favorite men of Magdeburg, Tokio Hotel. Five years since their last release, Kings of Suburbia brings Tokio Hotel to the forefront with a new look, a current sound, and a fresh take on what makes Tokio Hotel tick.
Lead-up to the album began with the release of 3 videos for the songs “Run, Run, Run”, “Girl Got a Gun”, and “Love Who Loves You Back”. Each shows a very different take on the album and I think that was a wise move on their part. Tokio Hotel have really stretched their range on this album and the first 3 releases were proof of just how varied this album was going to be. Ok…I’ll admit it.”Girl Got a Gun” really threw me for a loop as a longtime fan and it was with a hint of trepidation that I hit the “Buy Album” button on iTunes last week with the early release. My fears, however, were put to rest from the first beat. (And yes…even “Girl Got a Gun” has grown on me and dare I say…I may even like it! I think it‘s Gustav‘s drums, but don‘t tell anyone I said so.)
“Feel It All” is the first track on the album and lays down the dance floor anthem feel for the rest of the album. This is a song to throw your arms up in the air and let go to. The electronics continue with “Stormy Weather” and I have to say, two songs in and I was already in love with this album. No, this is not the pop/rock sound that old Tokio Hotel fans are used to, or even the beginnings of the more electronic sounds we heard in their last release, Humanoid. The influence of the LA night club scene and EDM is apparent and guess what? I’m ok with that! The dance floor drama continues throughout the album with songs like “Covered in Gold” and “We Found Us”, both of which find me turning up the volume and laying down the moves.
What would a Tokio Hotel album be without a sultry ballad or two? Kings of Suburbia delivers two such songs in “Run, Run, Run” and “Invaded”. Lyrics of longing is what Bill is known for and neither of these songs disappoint. I love the fact that both songs really show that even stripped down, the guys are stretching their creative muscles and exploring new territory while still giving us that yearning we have loved them for since “Rette Mich”. Both songs are, in a word, perfection, and tear at the heart in all the right places.
Songs like “Never Let You Down” and the title track, “Kings of Suburbia” bring back some of that old Tokio Hotel sound while still remaining true to the sound of the new album. It just goes to show that change and growth doesn’t have to mean complete reinvention, but rather an incorporation of what was and what is to come.
“Love Who Loves You Back” is the clear hit single from the album and is a song I could certainly hear playing all over the airwaves right now. While the ballads clearly tickle at the heartstrings, this song, combined with a too sexy for words video, hits a little further below the belt. *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* The production on this song is impeccable and widely appealing with influences from disco, to 80’s pop/synth, to the current alternative sounds. This is my new earworm. I’m not complaining.
Fifteen songs in on the Deluxe edition; I’m hooked and hitting replay. To the people who thought Tokio Hotel were some teeny-bopper band who would disappear after their first fifteen minutes, those days are gone and these guys have done nothing if not prove that they are here to stay without relying on the past. I dare you to try the new album and see for yourselves. To fans who want the old sound back, I wouldn’t hold my breath, but give this one a chance! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I, for one, am proud of how far “my boys” have come and can’t wait to see how far they will go.
Kings of Suburbia is available now on iTunes and Amazon.