Don’t hate us because we’re pop

it’s spring and my tolerance for pastoral kitsch goes way up. I’m sure yours does too, so if you’re in the mood for wallowing in inexpressible longings, you need Maximilian Hecker's new album, (charmingly titled) "Rose".

His last album, "Infinite Love Songs", was perfect for cold winter days, drinking hot chocolate and watching snow fall while your heart snapped bitterly in two. A backdrop to reading a Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre novel, and drowning in consumer-weary angst. The epitome of Mitte.

"Rose", produced by the legendary Gareth Jones (Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode, Bad Seeds, etc.) has a richness of sound and subtlety not heard on "Infinite Love Songs". It is picture perfect, rain-drenched, tender piano melancholy. The ego turned inward. Heart-breaking and faltering vocals, repeating, ad infinitum: I love you, I want you, I need you, heal me, hold me. Yeah, it sounds like kitsch, doesn't it? Ah, but kitsch is a cynical, world-weary label when the violins are playing and the lovebirds are singing. It must be poetry. Who's to say, "Hold me now, heal my wounds" isn't genuinely meant, when it’s repeated to such a point of spiraling desperation you just can’t ignore it anymore? The boy means it, and it’s bloody beautiful.

I dare you to let yourself be seduced by the truth that lies at the heart of every cliché. That’s what it’s about with Maxi. With the rose as a symbol of divine love and the boy in the bow tie with the young Galahad haircut and the tragic gazing eyes. Maximilian holding his candle in the wind and embracing pop with the reverence of a monk.

And the concert? Well, I’ve never really seen Maxi in concert, but this time he’s got a band, and I’ve heard damn good stories of him getting drunk, running through the crowd and singing Lionel Richie's "Hello" – all in no particular order. Oh, so he does have a sense of self-irony, after all...