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Rammstein Interpreted: Mein Herz Brennt Videos
In the Rammstein discography, "Mutter," from which "Mein Herz Brennt" comes, is their fourth album, and released in 2001. However, the band did not make a video for this song at that time. They waited, in fact, 11 years to release a video for a song that has always been a favorite in their setlist. However, they made up for lost time by making not one, not two, but three different versions of the video.
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The official Rammstein video, directed by Zoran Bihać, was released December 14, 2012. It is a rather bizarre Christmastime release. It features images of children and torment – though no actual children being tormented. Rather, Lindemann, in a stern black suit, chases and seems to suck the youth from a nursemaid. In the first scenes she is young, but by the final scenes she is a withered old woman while Lindemann's persona remains the same. However, he appears to get his just desserts as he is seen being pierced by the poles of the cellos the band members are playing – as in the song, there is a slight vampiric allusion.
During the part of the song in which the minions are supposed to collect children's tears, a very disquieting cone-headed, feather-handed character simply taunts children who are trapped in a cage. In truth, this is likely just a reversal of the minions' coming up out of the cellar since Lindemann – for it is he under the mask – could very well be one of the dark fairies. In any case, the children earn their own release, though not until much later. The now-aged nursemaid is dead, and the stern persona surrounded by flames. The "children" rip off masks to show they are, in fact, the band members and, thus, adults. They force their way out of the cage and march away from the building they have set on fire. To me, this plays like a coming-of-age story, a dark one, to be true, in which a child is tormented by night terrors and spends a large part of his youth institutionalized. Indeed, the bearded band members, hair long and knotted, could well be one of the off-their-meds schizophrenics I see now and then downtown.
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The most recent version, directed by Eugenio Recuenco and shot in 2011 but not released until March 22, 2013, in some ways makes more sense story-wise, but also features far more disturbing scenery. In fact, the band rejected this version of the video and kept only some of the footage from it in the official video. If it is a video that Rammstein did not want to release, then it is one that cannot be described here. It can be seen, though, on Recuenco's online portfolio.
The third version of the Rammstein video "Mein Herz Brennt," was actually the first released, on December 7, 2012. The video features a piano, and therefore more melodic, version of the song with Till Lindemann as the only actor. He clearly recorded this version post-vocal study as his vocal qualities display the full range and depth of his later releases. The clear, resounding tonal quality of his voice comes out best in the second refrain, just after he whispers about the demons, et al, looking under children's beds. This voice, while too powerful to actually rock you to sleep, also will not engender nightmares.
Lindemann's persona, though… to my mind, this is the character the Rammstein song describes. He is dressed in a goth-style man-dress with netted evening gloves. His chest is bare, and it as well as his biceps feature several half-healed wounds. But he is tormented and tormentor at once. His hair sprouts from his head in a goth-style mop over a face whitened imperfectly with clown make-up. Yes, that kind of clown – the creepy make-me-scream kind – because his eyes are blackened mask-like. Worst of all, his nose is red in a raw, burned way; he must have looked too closely at his burning heart.
After his beautiful, melodious rendition of the chorus he smiles in an almost ingratiating way, revealing horribly yellow teeth. Despite this he develops pathos in that the smile drops, and he looks tormented. Later, when the smile comes again it reads as less-convincing, and the tears are obvious in his eyes and on his face. He has just sung about putting children's hot tears into his cold veins, but this clearly gives him no relief. Not long after that he crawls into the "cellar" – a decommissioned whirlpool from the set's days as a hospital – and curls up in the corner. Perhaps, like in the official version of the video, the nightmares are in his own head, and he has just realized it. Or, perhaps, he really is the Sandmann character of the song, and he is his own nightmare.
Mein Herz Brennt Trailer
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Mein Herz Brennt Live
Rammstein tours have regularly featured Mein Herz Brennt in the setlist. Rammstein live is always going to provide an adrenalin rush. There are pounding drums and deep bass. There is fire. For Mein Herz Brennt, though, the band at one time started the song by playing the sound of an actual heart beat, a sound like the earth's beating heart. At that time, the band members wore costumes that resembled a cross between military and blue-collar uniforms; singer Till Lindemann and drummer Christoph Schneider sported mohawks, and they were fresh off performing in the opening scenes of Vin Diesel's "XXX" as the band from hell, essentially. Lindemann, a licensed pyrotechnician, actually held a flare in his hand as the "light in the heavens." This version is rife with growls and grimaces: aggressive Rammstein. This way of playing the song live had dated back even to the original Mutter tour in 2001.
Rammstein brought Mein Herz Brennt back for their "Made in Germany" tour 2011 to 2012. By now the band had a new look. At the beginning of the show, they had come out in warrior-style costumes waving both the German flag and the flag of whatever country – or, in the U.S., state – in which they were playing. This was post- vocal study for Lindemann, so parts of the song brought out his melodic qualities. The set was bigger and more elaborate, though still industrial to the point of Mad Max. The big difference came in the heart. It still burned, though this time from a special vest so that it appeared to burn in his chest. Rumor had it, though, that Lindemann showed his approval for how "into them" the crowd was through the heart; it only burned when the crowd was crazy. It is true that the heart burned literally from his chest in Phoenix when I saw them, but not in my hometown of Denver. However, the Denver crowd was crazier – as evidenced by Lindemann's expletive at the conclusion of the Denver show: "Good night, you crazy **********ers." Lindemann rarely even speaks on stage, much less curses. Regardless, it was one more piece of theater for the crowds, watching for the burning heart.
Rammstein is back on stage this year, already performing in Europe. In this age of technology, it is impossible to prevent recordings. That is just as well; we fans love the hype, and the videos only get us more excited to open our hearts – and wallets. Though it has only been a year since the previous shows, Rammstein still show evolution. They have new, sleekly black costumes, and Lindemann shocked the Barcelona crowd by coming out with blonde hair – he has consistently been black-haired since the first album – and in a pink "fur" coat. However, the biggest change comes in their performance of Mein Herz Brennt. The performance is pared down to its barest, most haunting qualities. Only Lindemann and the keyboardist, Flake Lorenz, are visible on stage. Lorenz is playing the piano. Lindemann croons. His voice reverberates with sorrow. This is the Sandmann of the December 7 video. The aggression is gone. His performance lingers like the Phantom of the Opera in its melancholy.
Rammstein as Art
Rammstein is art. Rammstein as a whole is a form of contemporary performance art. The band members, Lindemann and drummer Christoph Schneider in particular, use their own bodies as a canvas to change persona. Every stage show is a timed, choreographed spectacle with fireworks and machinery and a sextet of disciplined performers. Their videos run like movies – the foreign kind that you enjoy but don't quite get: Fellini meets Stalin. Their music is a symphony laced with poetry.
People hear their one big American hit, "Du Haßt," and they think they have Rammstein pegged: aggressive music in German, one hit wonder. Yet among their fan base – especially their American fan base that went a whole decade without a live performance on our soil – they have achieved almost cult status. Among their anointed, Rammstein are appreciated for the auteurs they have shown themselves to be.
September 24, 1995
"Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen" (live), "Du riechst so gut" (X2), "Seemann"
August 22, 1997
"Engel," "Du Hast,"
Single-only release -- made into video
Live Aus Berlin
August 31, 1999
Rammstein released the entire live concert on video.
April 2, 2001
"Links 2-3-4," "Sonne," "Ich Will," "Feuer Frei!" "Mutter." "Mein Herz Brennt" video released 2012
September 27, 2004
"Mein Teil," "Keine Lust," "Amerika," "Moskau" (live), "Ohne Dich"
October 28, 2005
"Benzin," "Mann gegen Mann," "Rosenrot," "Wo bist Du"
Rammstein released the entire live concert on video.
Liebe ist für Alle Da
October 16, 2009
"Ich tuh dir weh," "P*ssy," NB: Rammstein recorded two shows but have not officially released the video yet.
Made in Germany 1995 - 2011
December 2, 2011