In the period between the pioneering “Autobahn” and the band’s breakthrough-album “The Man Machine”, Kraftwerk road the edge with the cool avant-garde album “Trans-Europe Express”.
The lyrics on this album are quite sparse, giving way to a great portion of hypnotizing music which captures a feeling of almost “eerie warmth”. Both music and lyrics illustrate the mechanical routine of modern ways of life, as robots and machines become more and more part of our daily activities.
But on the other hand, robots resemble man, as man seems to resemble robots. This is properly proofed by the strong repetitive track “Showroom Dummies” when they break through the glass to go disco dancing.
In fact, this song is Kraftwerk’s first multi-language song, as next to the English one also versions in French (“Les Mannequin”) and German (“Schaufensterpuppen”) were composed.
But one can’t overlook the fascinating centrepiece “Trans-Europe Express”, which is a journey by train through Europe but one of fascinating and hypnotizing character.
The track gently flows into “Metal On Metal”, and almost seems to touch ambient-ground when we get to “Franz Schubert”.
All in all, “Trans-Europe Express” is an inventive piece of art offering gentle melodies over an array of consistent beats as the various themes expand.