Words of Wisdom

In life, we have to choose between the jeans and the cookie jar. Liz Hurley chose the jeans and I chose the cookie jar

~ Nigella Lawson....(on women's body image and her own voluptuous body)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tokio Hotel and the Songwriters

These boys have been heavily criticized for having their producers and songwriters writing songs for and with them. Even though it’s easy to understand this point of view, it’s even more perplexing to me that those critics can easily ignore the fact that these boys were still legally children at the time their first 3 albums were made.

The first being the Devilish album where Bill Kaulitz was a newly-discovered 13yr old child singer with a big dream.

The second being Schrei when the twins were about 15 and the third Zimmer 483 when only half of the band entered legal adulthood.

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The Kaulitz twins, being around 17, were still grabbing news headlines for every little underage misconduct they committed.

Here we have a group of children who were clear about their career choice since age 9 and what is so wrong about having experienced adults who could provide guidance and proper training? Aren’t adult supervision and guidance the most important part of a child’s formative years?

The teen years are the most crucial time for children to learn about the life they want to lead, the values to hold on to and the foundation to build their future. Let children be children at the time they most need to be. The world today pushes our children to grow up too fast instead of letting them explore their own potential and aspirations at their own pace.

If people want to trash a band for a mere fact that they don’t entirely write their own songs, then many great songs wouldn’t get to be heard. Nearly all the biggest names in the industry have worked with other people. Songwriting, producing, backup vocals and guest playing.

Also, some people were born to produce great work behind the scenes and some people were born to perform and bring this work to the public. In the end, it's the performer who will breath life and soul into the work. If the performer is nothing more than a face, then why do songs sound and feel different from one singer to another? Also, some songs are effectively presented by someone and totally butchered when given to another.

Def Leppard found their direction when they met producer/songwriter Robert John Mutt Lange that he has been dubbed the 6th member of the band.

Bonnie Tyler and Meatloaf built their entire career on the work of Jim Steinman. Celine Dion, Josh Groban and the Corrs had the backup of David Foster at the beginning of their career. Most notably, don’t forget the role of Glen Ballard in Alanis Morissette’s transition from former teen star to the artist that she is today. Even the labeled child prodigy Vanessa Mae had producer/composer Mike Batt composing the majority of the songs on her breakthrough classical pop debut album The Violin Player. There are too many of them to mention.

As for Tokio Hotel, judging from the songwriting credits from the Schrei and Zimmer 483 albums, it is clear that on Schrei, the boys were on their learning phase with only a few of the songs had their songwriting credits on them. By the Zimmer 483 album, the boys have songwriting credits on ALL songs. The most noticeable thing is Tom Kaulitz is the one working more on the music while brother Bill is more responsible on the lyrics.

One must remember that the FOUR boys have distinctively different influences musically and it was important for them to develop their sound within their common ground and having experienced people around actually helped to unleash that. Just ask any established artists who work with different producers and songwriters from time to time.

Interestingly, the Kaulitz twins composed one song Wir Sterben Niemals Aus entirely on their own. Before finding out the songwriting credit for this song, I thought the acoustic version they did for the song was the most mature-sounding arrangement I'd heard from them and certainly on par or at least had the potential to someday join the greats. This is coming from an avid music listener who counts Heart's The Road Home, MSG Unplugged and Dokken's One Night Live as favourites.

Here they are Tokio Hotel performing the Kaulitz-twins-penned Wir Sterben Niemals Aus acoustically.

Leave your prejudice behind and take a listen.
The whole Tokio Hotel and the songwriters issue has been blown way out of proportion by critics.

Music producers are not stupid. They wouldn’t work with somebody who don’t have any substances at all. To label artists talentless just for having songwriters working with them is baseless in most cases. After seeing Bill Kaulitz's performance at the Star Search, I can understand why he attracted the attention of TH producer Peter Hoffmann. He may not be the best singer ever and he certainly has a limited range as a vocalist even now but the boy certainly had stage presence and deep passion for his performance. Those qualities may count for more than a depressed music prodigy can ever give.

Click here at Tokio Hotel Discography on Star Pulse (songwriting credits listed)

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