Wednesday, November 30, 2011

253. Trans Europe Express. Please Read.

Album: Trans Europe Express
Artist: Kraftwerk
Genre: Electronica
Year: 1977


  1. Europe Endless
  2. The Hall Of Mirrors
  3. Showroom Dummies
  4. Trans-Europe Express
  5. Metal On Metal
  6. Franz Schubert
  7. Endless Endless

I really hope a lot of people read this post. According to blog stats there are people out there reading this which is good because frankly I'd hate to think I listened to this album 4 times for nothing.

Four times I sat through Trans Europe Express. Four times I listened to the mind numbing beats, droning vocals and irritating repetitive melodies so I could write this review. Four seperate train trips saw me enduring this and resisting the temptation to listen to something else. Do you have any idea how hard this was? At any moment, with only a few taps of my finger, I could have made my MP3 player stop torturing me with Kraftwerk and instead reward me with some Crosby Stills and Nash. My brain kept telling me that at any minute I could stop the pain and replace it with pleasure but I resisted the urge because I knew I had a post to write. I needed to persist in order to put these words on the page.

You know what really frustrates me? You know what really gets me werked up? I could have saved myself the trouble and written the review at the end of track one and it would sounded exactly the same. By the time I'd finished the opening song I thought "Gee, Kraftwerk really are as boring, monotonous and soullless as people say they are". I'd heard enough in those opening 9 minutes to form an opinion, I tried to keep an open mind for the rest of the album but it's hard to be objective when you have a German repeating the same things endlessly in your ears.

When the final track  came to an end I went straight to my iriver's music folder and told it to play the first thing it found. You won't find Ani Di Franco on this countdown anywhere but 32 Flavors has more emotion, joy, spontaniety, talent and life than this entire album combined and multiplied by four.

Apparently modern music needed Kraftwerk. I honestly can't see why.

Influenced by: Mirrors, Europe and no actual music
Influenced: Depeche mode etc

Highlight: Franz Schubert
Lowlight: Europe Endless

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: I really wanted to like Kraftwerk. I've had this album for years, originally buying it when I began getting interested in electronic music and friends insisted it was a seminal work in the genre. I told myself I liked it, but once the novelty wore off, I rarely listened to it. Now that I'm cleaning out my CD collection, I gave it another listen to see whether it was worth keeping. The answer is a resounding "no." 

-I wonder how many people share a similar experience.

So does Kraftwerk werk for you or would you rather pull the plug on electronica all together? Let me know below.


  1. Good work here David. You really took a shot for the whole chaos team. It means we dont have to listen to this. We feel your pain.

  2. I really like this album. Now, from what I can gather, it's pretty much inevitable that you would not like this album. Not that it's a bad thing, because music like this is not for everybody. Still, the album is very ahead of its time and was extremely influential to electronic music. The thing that I like about this is the fact that it is quite melodic, all things considered. It is cold, repetitive and highly synthesized and computerized, though, but that is all part of its appeal. I would say that the anti-thesis to a group like Kraftwerk would probably be something like Eno's "Another Green World" or Madonna's "Ray of Light" (no, seriously), both of which try to use synthesizers as a warm and elemental aspect of the music, unlike Kraftwerk (among other krautrock bands such as Can, Neu!, etc.) that DELIBERATELY use the synthesizers as cold, computerized, and detached tools of noise (even if its beautiful noise, which I personally think it is).

    P.S. I am actually going to give you a heads up, and tell you that I am going to comment on the Eno and Madonna albums that I mentioned, with a direct link posted below:

    "Another Green World" by Eno (#433):

    "Ray of Light" by Madonna (#363):