by: DJ Ötzi
Two years after the incredible success of the comeback album Sternstunden (2007) and its blockbuster hits "7 Sünden" and "Ein Stern (Der Deinen Namen Trägt)," DJ Ötzi returned with Hotel Engel, a similar album that holds together better but whose hits aren't as impressive as those of its predecessor. The standout hits on Hotel Engel, "Noch in 100.000 Jahren" and "Tränen," are still first-rate volksmusik, make no mistake, even if they're less impressive than "7 Sünden," a collaboration with Austrian volksmusik star Marc Pircher, and "Ein Stern (Der Deinen Namen Trägt)," a collaboration with Austrian schlager star Nik P. "Noch in 100.000 Jahren," the album's lead single, was written by German producer/songwriter Dieter Bohlen, the longtime host of the television show Deutschland Sucht den Superstar who is perhaps best known musically for his work with Modern Talking in the mid-'80s and more recently with Mark Medlock. An infectious partymusik song à la "Ein Stern (Der Deinen Namen Trägt)," it clearly aims to recapture the magic of that international chart-topping blockbuster hit and comes awfully close -- a little too close for comfort, though, as it comes across like a studied rewrite rather than an original effort. Sequenced directly afterward, the gentle schlager duet "Tränen" with Kate Hall is in sharp contrast to "Noch in 100.000 Jahren" and is somewhat atypical for DJ Ötzi, who is chiefly known for partymusik, not ballads. A well-executed song all the same, it was written by Swiss pop singer Florian Ast, who is credited with penning eight of the 13 songs on Hotel Engel. The abundance of Ast compositions helps give the album a fairly consistent voice, and indeed, Hotel Engel holds together better than its predecessor, even if its hits are less impressive. The album closes on a somewhat strange note with an English-language rendition of the Neil Diamond crowd-pleaser "Sweet Caroline" that is another highlight. While Hotel Engel can't possibly rival the incredible success of Sternstunden, which marked a sensational comeback in DJ Ötzi' s up-and-down career, it's a respectable follow-up effort that should please dedicated fans of the Austrian superstar.