Wednesday, August 27, 2014

J.B.O.-Nur die Besten werden alt

AFM Records

J.B.O. (James Blast Orchester) is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Erlangen, Germany that was founded in 1989. Dubbed "The Defenders of the True Nonsense", J.B.O. (now 25 years old!) is known for their parodies of pop and rock songs with their new album "Nur die Besten werden alt" (Only the Good Get Old) serving as their 10th studio album. Singing in their native language and often-times blurring the line between seriousness and flat-out parody (or if you will original compositions verses a strong desire to "paraphrase music-classics" with new lyrics and new arrangements) J.B.O, who are as colorful as the above album art suggests (!), offer a fun listening experience even if half the time one has no idea whatsoever what the hell is going on! There are however a few exceptions which we'll touch on. "These Boots Are Made For Walking" by the still lovely Nancy Sinatra turns into "Das Bier ist da zum Trinken" while "Schule aus" is Alice Cooper's classic "School’s Out". Meanwhile Lou Bega's over-played/somebody kill me if I have to hear this god-awful song once more in this underwhelming thing I call my life number "Mambo No. 5" turns into the heavier/much better "Metal No. 666" and Austria-based pop rock band OPUS (known for the 1985 single, "Live Is Life") is honored on "Death is Death". Between these "tribute" numbers and J.B.O.'s stab at original compositions (cuts which, besides drawing from extremes such as Metallica and Mötley Crüe, on at least one occasion reminded me of AC/DC while also serving notice that J.B.O could be viewed as a more metal-minded Die Toten Hosen!) "Nur die Besten werden alt" is as quirky as it is frustrating! Why is it frustrating though? Well, seeing as 99% of the group's new album is in German it is impossibly to catch all of the reference points unless you know the language. Unfortunately my two years of high school German is of little help as I've forgotten more about this language that even I care to admit! And speaking of admitting things, "Nur die Besten werden alt" most certainly offers other song "re-workings", but (blame it on my old age if you will) I'm just not able to pin-point what they are! Either way "Nur die Besten werden alt" comes recommended. Due to drop towards the end of September, J.B.O.'s latest work shows how it's possibly to bride the gap between metal and comedy without misplacing the immediate impact of either element!

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