30. Benzin (Rosenrot, 2005)
It took them a decade, but Rammstein finally wrote a song about gasoline and its… fiery qualities. Till’s growled chant of ‘BENZIIIIIN!’ has become something of a calling card for fans the world over, and Christoph’s sparing blasts of double bass during the climax are properly thrilling. Serving as Rosenrot’s lead single and enjoying a spot in the setlist before anyone had even heard the recorded version, Benzin is every bit as explosive as its namesake.
29. Asche Zu Asche (Herzeleid, 1995)
Rammstein had demoed and live-tested a bunch of Herzeleid’s material before recording it, but Asche Zu Asche seems to be something of a late bloomer. Herzeleid is the first place it turns up, and what an entrance – Paul and Richard riffing in unison, letting up during the verses only to be replaced by some comically timed breakbeats. In the hands of someone else, this would sound really stupid. Good job, then, that Rammstein go so hard during Asche Zu Asche, even the keyboard solo sounds like it could grab you by the neck and give you a swirly.
28. Haifisch (Liebe Ist Für Alle Da, 2009)
Something of a straightforward song for Rammstein, Haifisch still manages to be one of their strangest. The chorus’ structure and melody recalls Mack The Knife, a near-100-year-old piece with lyrics from playwright Bertolt Brecht; the toned-down, minimal gain applied to the barre chords in the bridge almost sounds like an indie band could play it, were it not for the grandiose keys pushing through the background. This really shouldn’t work, but as Rammstein have proven time and again, sometimes doing the wrong thing makes it right.
27. Ausländer (Rammstein, 2019)
Twenty-five years into their career, and Ausländer was sonic proof that Rammstein were fresh and fruity as ever. Flake goes full-on Eurotrash with his hyperactive keyboards and clippetty hand-clap effects, as if Pitbull is mere seconds away from leaping into the chorus and shouting ‘Mr. Worldwide!’; the rhythm section lays down a simplistic, juddering bedrock for Till to fire off brash ‘sleep with me, yeah?’ proclamations in various languages such as Russian, French, Spanish, Italian and – yes, for us at the back! – English. As usual, he’s using shagging as an allegory for something more profound, this time being the migrant crisis and what it is to be a foreigner, or an ‘ausländer’, to use its Deutsche name. Who thought geopolitics could be so twerkable?
26. Mann Gegen Mann (Rosenrot, 2005)
Rammstein have often played the ‘straight-guys-baiting-homophobes’ card. Mann Gegen Mann, or ‘Man Against Man’, is fairly straightforward – it’s a man describing his gay fantasies, all the while being reminded of the judgement he faces for just being himself. It’s a heavy topic done justice, in particular, by the rhythm section; the song opens with a subdued bassline and fluttering hi-hats, ending with Christoph and Oliver driving everything home double-time.
25. Frühling In Paris (Liebe Ist Für Alle Da, 2009)
The Rammstein ballad is a tricky beast. Get it wrong, you come off a little naïve – Seemann, from their debut, is evidence of this. But get it right, and you end up with a poignant moment for an album and live show. Frühling In Paris is beautiful, delicate, its dainty acoustic timbre setting the scene for Till and Oliver during LIFAD’s tour, illuminated by a single lightbulb. The chorus, lifting lines from Édith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (you know the one, stop pretending), swells in its second round, during which the curtain dropped behind the band to reveal a harsh, industrialised scene to conduct the rest of the gig. Sure, the song’s about getting a blowjob from a sex worker in Paris, but that doesn’t mean it can’t sound lovely.
24. Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen? (Herzeleid, 1995)
The first Rammstein song, from the first Rammstein album. That thudding, Ministry-ish riff sets their stall out nice and early – Till bellowing ‘RAMMSTEIN!’ makes it quite clear that yes, this is what Rammstein sound like. It’s brutish, emotional and kind of goofy. That screaming noise, alongside the cocking shotgun, are both sampled from the videogame Doom: Christoph played it so much, he ended up using it as his middle name for songwriting credits – turns out there’s too many damn Christoph Schneiders in Germany.
23. Bück Dich (Sehnsucht, 1997)
It’s the one that got Rammstein arrested in America for simulating sodomy on stage, but Bück Dich does deserve to be known as more than just ‘the bumming song’. The riff is harrowingly blunt, accentuated by that clanging keg-hit; twinned with Flake’s creaky, hydraulic-sounding keys and Till demanding you bend over, Bück Dich is an industrial metal masterclass.
22. Waidmanns Heil (Liebe Ist Für Alle Da, 2009)
LIFAD is an odd-sounding album. It’s a wonderful listen, but its more organic production tends to get a hard time for having too many straight-up ‘metal’ moments. Waidmanns Heil features plenty of these, Christoph’s feet having the time of their lives, Till clearly revelling in the sheer pace of it, bellowing over the chorus like a man who’s just had his pint punched out of his grip. Yeah, it’s heavy metal, and it’s glorious. As an aside, the ‘Waidmanns heil’ is a German hunters’ greeting, which makes the panting dog noises seem a bit more normal. A bit.
21. Pussy (Liebe Ist Für Alle Da, 2009)
Rammstein rarely pander to English ears, and when they do, it’s because they have a point to make. Pussy is a scathing send-up of sex tourism, backed by Flake’s moistest performance to date through the chorus – if those keys were people, they’d be seventies softcore porn stars. Quite fitting, then, that the boys released a full-on porn flick to accompany the song, Till’s declaration of ‘You’ve got a pussy, I have a dick!’ being rather literal.