In 2010, 19-year old Lena Meyer-Landrut from Germany became the current Eurovision champion with her upbeat-modern pop song ‘Satellite’. Drawing her voice and influence from top selling British pop chanteuses such as Kate Nash and Lily Allen, she gave Eurovision a commerciality it craved after decade bereft of smash hits; she gave Germany its second victory in its history of Eurovision; and perhaps most importantly gave the original Western European members their first victory in thirteen years. With ‘Satellite’ providing such a grand moment in Eurovision history, its only fitting that the winning song is the one that opens her debut album My Cassette Player.
Whilst the album opens promisingly, the second and title track ‘My Cassette Player’ puts a halt to the enjoyable, catchy tunes delivered by the Mockney. Instead, we are greeted by the whines of young teenage girl laying down accusations of who indeed took her cassette player, like her life depended on it. Further childish behaviour abounds in the song ‘I Like To Bang My Head’, where she claims that when it comes to her love that there is “nothing sweet as” banging her head. The song may share the catchiness of 80’s tune ‘I Know What Boys Like’ by The Waitresses, but it shares its lack of maturity too.
The large majority of songs have come from a forged writing partnership in Stefan Raab and Meyer-Landrut. Unsurprisingly, all of these have a common theme – love. An understandable topic, and one that obviously features heavily on the mind of any 19-year-old. However, the lyrics have a sense of desperation to them.
In ‘Caterpillar In The Rain‘, Meyer-Landrut sings of filling her diary with countless words of fantasy despite the fact it hurts that they aren‘t reality. In Satellite, we are not immune from the acts to prove love, listing all the things she would do to be noticed. As the desperate lyrics gather pace throughout the album, its hard to believe that Lena has any luck in love at all – that perhaps its all very unrequited.
Most telling of all is the song ‘Not Following’. Initially it appears to be a tale of shyness to approach her love, but listening to the lyrics closely, it appears rather more dark.
I wish you would notice me, if not now, eventually.
Then I wouldn‘t have to follow you around and hunt you down
Alas, that’s not just desperation, nor unrequited love. In fact, it’s the definition of what most would call stalking – a behaviour that shouldn’t be applauded nor should be spoon-fed to any impressionable teenage listener. Serious notes aside, the frightening lyrics seem to go beyond the typical and honest material delivered by those Meyer-Landrut emulates – Lisa Mitchell also springs to mind. However, its not so certain whether that’s a good thing for our young Eurovision starlet.
A much more welcome and pleasant surprise of the album is the jazzy feel through the slower tracks on the album. Whilst still delivered Mockney-like vocals, it does show that Lena can deliver more serious tunes and not just the upbeat pop such as ‘Satellite’. Selected covers of Jason Mraz’s ‘Mr Curiosity’ and Adele’s ‘My Same’ are telling in regards to influences and a possible future direction for Meyer-Landrut’s career.
Let’s be honest, if you are looking for another Eurovision-winning song, you won’t find it here, least not in those penned by mentor Stefan Raab and Lena herself. The strength of the writing outside of that partnership is far stronger, and one hopes that this will be the direction they shall take when selecting the 12 songs for the national finals in Germany in 2011. Rumours of some of her competition songs being penned by Guy Chambers (best known in the past as the top selling writing partner of Robbie Williams) would be a welcome relief both in lyrical content and diversity of sound.
Best described as inoffensive, My Cassette Player has no grand highlights outside of the feature track ‘Satellite’. Don’t be mistaken by the tastes of Lena Meyer-Landrut, demonstrated by the acts she chooses to cover, this album is more inclined to target a younger audience. Lyrically and vocally she mimics the honest, no-holds barred approach of Nash, Allen and Mitchell, however the repetition of content and sound falls short of their status as singer-songwriter pop chanteuses of the decade.