Udo Lindenberg

Dröhnland-Symphonie

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Dröhnland Symphonie is one of Udo Lindenberg's most ambitious albums, a conceptual piece that drops the Panik Orchestra off in the frozen wastes of Greenland with just a string section and some penguins for company -- and then sets the huskies on them. You can hear the dogs approaching throughout the opening "Dröhnland Ouverture," and it's almost a letdown when normal service is resumed on the following, sort-of-Stonesy "Ole Pinguin." Almost. Dröhnland Symphonie was considered something of a shocker on release, a step back from the musical and political volcanoes that earlier Lindenberg albums had danced around -- all the more so since the renunciation of his earlier, green-faced, witchy-hatted persona admitted an almost wholesome-looking young man, who probably wouldn't say boo to a polar bear. Repeated listens, however, revealed a musical maturity that, while scarcely a surprise, came as a relief nevertheless. Dröhnland Symphonie is late-'70s rock at its best, a deliberate body-swerve away from the punk rock that earlier albums did so much to anticipate, and perhaps the first step on the road toward Lindenberg's eventual (and still vibrant) superstardom. And today, the album really doesn't seem so shocking after all.

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