As a teen I had an interest in the German language due to a couple of hitch hikers my dad picked up during the summer. Rolf and Jorge were traveling across the US from New York to California when they ran into my Dad in Colorado (but most of that is from another story/blog). I was also very much into Science Fiction. So it was only natural that Peter Schilling would become a favorite of mine.
I bought Error In The System on cassette and simply wore it out. The most recognized single in America is, no doubt, Major Tom (Coming Home). I preferred the German version of the same song though, Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst). Either was fun with the countdown in the beginning of the chorus – 4, 3, 2, 1 / Earth below us, drifting, falling / Floating, weightless, calling, calling, home / Across the stratosphere / A final message, “Give my wife my love” / Then nothing more.
Peter Schilling was probably the first that really got me listening to German version of various songs… well, Peter and later Falco… oh right, and Nena too. Anyway, Error In The System was unique at the time for me because for several tracks on the cassette there was also a counter-part German version.
I think my favorite song on the album was The Noah Plan. Major Tom (Coming Home) was supposed to be the sequel to David Bowie’s Major Tom (about an astronaut), but since I really didn’t know much Bowie at the time it didn’t speak to me as much lyrically (just musically). Getting back to The Noah Plan, the lyrical concept was that we had once again failed our planet…
A million years have come and gone
The Earth is shifting towards the sun
Synthetic atmosphere is lost
And forces the computers off
Communications are confused
The tides reverse
And start a chain reaction
I found that the title combined with the lyrical content really spoke to the Sci-Fi reader in me who enjoyed classics like The Foundation Trilogy, 1984 and The Dispossessed.
(Let’s Play) U.S.A. is another lyrically expressive song that mocked American politics of the 80’s. The song is a very fast beat guitar with with lyrics delivered in an almost very redundant manner. Then a little guitar solo in the middle that is reminiscent of national anthems. And of course the entire flavor of the lyrics are very Sci-Fi like as well…
Won’t it be a lot of fun
Every man will own a gun
Shoot the ones whose point of view
Makes a point that bothers you
Go on and pollute the land
Clean air will be sold in cans
Did you hear the master plan
One nation under disney land
I guess as an American now darn near 30 years older than when I was listening to this on my headphones I should perhaps be offended. But those were the 80’s and they were a different time to be sure.
This was actually one of the hardest of my worn out cassettes to replace. I only found it as a special order, remastered import with both the German release Fehler im System and the American release Error In The System on the same CD. Big bonus for me though because this means that I now have all of the original songs in both English and German versions. Yay me!