Last week, the popular German darkwave band Blutengel released a new album called Fountain of Destiny that is comprised entirely of ’80s cover songs.
It’s a fun album—more on that below. But some of the response from Blutengel’s fans wasn’t as supportive. Several messages on Facebook feature sentiments like these: “It’s a shame that you didn’t use the time for a new Blutengel album” and “I’m not a fan of cover versions.” (Both comments are translated from German.)
If you’re not into cover songs, fear not. Blutengel responded directly to the criticism on Facebook with this message: “The new, regular album is already in the box and arrives in the summer.” There’s no title or tracklist yet, but I’ll update this post when we get further info.
I’m kinda surprised by the strong reaction to a covers album. Blutengel has been on a nostalgia trip lately, and they’re no stranger to covering ’80s songs. In 2019, they followed their last album, Damokles, with a set of covers called Demons of the Past. It included “Send Me an Angel” and the perennially covered Visage classic “Fade to Grey.”
Cover songs aren’t the only way Blutengel is mining influence from the ’80s. Last year, Blutengel mastermind Chris Pohl launched a side project called She Hates Emotions that was strongly influenced by ’80s minimal synthpop. I named She Hates Emotions’ debut album, Melancholic Maniac, number 14 on my list of the best synthpop albums of 2020.
Listen to Fountain of Destiny
I’ve been listening to Fountain of Destiny all week, and I love it. The album contains Blutengel’s interpretations of 10 iconic hits from the ’80s, including one of my favorite songs of all time, “Forever Young,” as well as two original tracks.
It’s a nice collection of synthpop classics and big radio hits that are Blutengel’s personal favorite ’80s songs. On Bandcamp, Chris Pohl says it represents songs “that seemed to me from today’s point of view not of this world.”
The most successful versions are the songs you’d least expect Blutengel to cover, like Mike + The Mechanics’ symphonic rock anthem, “Silent Running,” while synthpop standards like “Forever Young” and “Ship of Fools” don’t sound as exciting.
For me, the standout track is “Alone,” which features beautiful vocals from Ulrike Goldmann and dramatic piano that gives the song a darker, gothic touch.
Here’s the complete tracklist along with the names of the original artists:
- The Wild Boys (originally recorded by Duran Duran)
- Forever Young (originally recorded by Alphaville)
- Hymn (originally recorded by Ultravox)
- Down In The Park (originally recorded by Tubeway Army, Gary Numan’s first band)
- Alone (originally recorded by i-Ten, made famous by Heart)
- Silent Running (originally recorded by Mike + The Mechanics)
- Nobody’s Diary (originally recorded by Yazoo)
- Dr. Mabuse (originally recorded by Propaganda)
- The Sun Always Shines On TV (originally recorded by A-ha)
- Ship Of Fools (originally recorded by Erasure)
- Unsere Zeit
- Journey to the Edge of the World (Instrumental)