Vinyl Vlog 107

Vinyl Vlog 107

Friday, 27 November 2015
TITLE: Vinyl Vlog 107
A deeper look at the grooves pressed into the Black Friday-released reissue of the ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ 7” single by Falco.
DATE: 11-27-15
WRITER: Bill Adams

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It might sound like an unusual endorsement, but few singles are so historically impressive as Johann “Falco” Hölzel’s “Rock Me Amadeus.” Released in 1985, the song marked both Falco’s greatest hit as well as illustrating just how quickly rap had extended its musical reach around the world. Thirty years later (and now seventeen years after the artist’s passing), the song remains an unlikely plot point in the growth of rap, but what’s more impressive is how relevant the song seems to be now – particularly given the digital revolution’s predisposition to sourcing in different electronic influences in much the same way “Rock Me Amadeus” did decades ago.

Listening to this single now, it’s hard not to draw parallels between the pastiche pop production styles of 1985 and those of 2015. On the A-side of this single, a staggeringly dense wall of “digital” synths, samples of voices and other sounds and a thumpy, unmistakably retro but danceable beat form the bed upon which Falco stands as croons lecherously into his microphone. Now, it is important to point out that trying to decipher what Falco is singing about is near impossible unless you’re fluent in German but, even then, the lyrics are fairly inconsequential (the song’s about a guy – he’s a drunk punk from Vienna and he’s in debt); the way the song gets over is on the beat and the sensory depriving stature of the samples. In print, it might not sound like a convincing argument for a hit, but “Rock Me Amadeus” works in practice more than it does in theory.

The idea of a song working better in practice than in theory is also true of the B-side of “Rock Me Amadeus” but, there, not only is the punk influence more obvious, the song has aged better too. “Vienna Calling” lives up to the standard implied by its name (it’s sort of a take-off on “London Calling” by The Clash) in that it begins with an idea of The Clash’s scrubbed-up version of punk and adds a few more new influences to take the music in a new direction – much like what “London Calling” did. Here, a meticulously clean backdrop of synths and a clipped and clean, programmed beat give the song its unstoppable, danceable step before a clean-toned guitar adds the swagger to make a retro dance club hit. Trying to even play it on a retro night now (without cutting it a lot with newer material) would be a bit of a stretch, but the song still plays well as more than just a museum piece; there is value here which is greater than just nostalgia, and curiosity seekers are invited to get down to their local record store, find a copy and find out what it could mean for them.



The “Rock Me Amadeus” 7” single by Falco will be released on November 27, 2015. Track a copy down at your favorite participating independent record sto

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