Monday, December 13, 2010

Years Later, the Dream Is Still Alive

For the past several months, I've been without the use of my iPod car converter, so I've had to kick it old-school and rely on CDs for my listening while driving around. And although I have a certain "regular rotation" of favorite driving music, I've also taken advantage of the opportunity to bust out some music that I haven't listened to in a long, long time, which includes this great old song from my college days:

The group M√ľnchener Freiheit, known simply as Freiheit over here, came to the attention of U.S. audiences when the above song was featured in the soundtrack to the movie Say Anything. That movie starred John Cusack, who was a favorite actor of my sister's when she was in high school and college. She decided she wanted Freiheit's entire album, Fantasy, which I bought for her for Christmas. And after a single listen, I was also hooked and promptly bought another copy for myself.

This song, "Keeping the Dream Alive," was by far my favorite; with its Beatlesque harmonies and sweeping orchestral accompaniment, it has been described by a YouTube commenter as the "best Paul McCartney song Paul McCartney never wrote," and I've always found it to be very uplifting. A lot of the other songs on the album (which is still available in its German-language version but sadly out-of-print in English) are also quite reminiscent of the Beatles, but even the other songs are perfectly serviceable Europop that has stood the test of time reasonably well.

By the way, M√ľnchener Freiheit is still very much a band, having released 17 albums since they started in 1981, though the (shameful, in my opinion) lack of enthusiasm over here for their English-language version of Fantasy meant that all their subsequent recordings have only been recorded in German. (Listen to their vocals, and you'll marvel at how well they sing in a foreign language; only a few words of one song, "Diana," gives any indication of an accent.)

One other note of interest: Evidently the wintertime release of this song in the U.K. has turned it into a minor Christmas classic over there, where it still gets a lot of airplay at this time of year. (And it reached a few more American ears a few years ago when it was featured on American Idol, a show I've never watched.)

Enjoy this blast from the past, which is a great song deserving of more recognition over here.

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