And a little bit of information about the history of Alphaville
Alphaville was formed in early 1982, as a trio consisting of Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd (whose real name was Bernhard Gössling) and Frank Mertens (whose real name was Frank Sorgatz). The band was initially named Forever Young.
After changing the name to Alphaville — by influence of the 1965 Jean-Luc Godard film —, the band released in 1984 its first album, Forever Young. With ten tracks, the record has the group's two biggest hits, Big in the Japan, and the eponymous Forever Young. Marian Gold wrote Big in Japan after listening to a namesake English punk band, that was active in the late seventies. One of the band members was Holly Johnson, that would achieve greater fame as the lead singer of the British pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Unconfortable with the new found fame, soon after Forever Young was released, Frank Mertens left the band. He was replaced by Ricky Echolette (whose real name was Wolfgang Neuhaus). Alphaville released another two albums in the eighties, Afternoons in Utopia, in 1986, and The Breathtaking Blue, in 1989. These albuns spanned successful singles, like Jerusalem, Dance With Me and Romeos.
After the eighties was gone, though, the band's popularity begin to decline. Nevertheless, by this time, Gold successfully transformed Alphaville from a primarily studio-based project into a solid live act. From then on, Alphaville would become primordially known as a live concert band.
In 1992, the band released one of their most acclaimed compilations, First Harvest 1984–92. In 1994, they released their most experimental, eclectic, original and audacious album to date, Prostitute. This album was widely praised by critics for its versatility and creativity, and was also a relative commercial success, despite the fact that — by this time — the band was no longer under the spotlight. Its global fan base was reduced to a compact, but substantial cult following.
From this point onwards, Alphaville would become almost exclusively a live concert band. Although several compilations, collections and remixes would be released over the years, for more than a decade, Alphaville would not release another album.
In 2003, Bernhard Lloyd left Alphaville, leaving Marian Gold as the only original remaining member. For live shows, Gold is backed by a cohesive and competent team of musicians.
In 2010, Gold released the album Catching Rays on Giant, and in 2017, Strange Attractor, both under the Alphaville moniker; nevertheless, for a long time now the band, in practice, doesn't exist anymore, and has become merely a solo project of Gold.
In the nineties, Gold has tried his hand at a solo career; in 1992, he released the album So Long Celeste.
With ten tracks — 1) And I Wonder; 2) The Shape Of Things To Come; 3) Heart Of The Flower; 4) One Step Behind You; 5) Sirens (Excerpt From Elegy); 6) What Is Love?;
7) Today; 8) Peace On Earth; 9) Sweet Needles Of Success; 10) Roll Away The Stone; —, this album is an interesting musical experiment. Initially conceived as a purely rock album, the final version was modified to sound more like Alphaville, though some songs retained a very rock 'n' roll atmosphere, with the track Peace On Earth displaying a very Billy Idol type of vibe, resembling songs like Mony Mony and Trouble With the Sweet Stuff.
In a general evaluation, So Long Celeste is a magnificient work, though most of the time effectively sounds like an Alphaville album. With exceedingly marvelous songs like And I Wonder, One Step Behind You and Sirens, this album can be classified as a relevant, gracious and wonderfully versatile work of art, though ocasionally falls in a more generic direction.
With hardly any memorable songs, United manages to be satisfying, but its stylistic limitations are too afflictive, even for the excessively simple synth-pop standards of Alphaville. After the first song, the album manages to be tolerable. Songs like Say It Ain't So, Joe, Change The World and Cosmopolitician are graciously conceived melancholic anthems of depressive splendor, though these tracks eventually fall in severely predictable sonorous territory.
While some passage are indeed very beautiful, Gold exaggerates on the emotional density crafted into each one of these songs. Suffering from a severe lack of versatility, in the end, United is a reasonable, but almost completely forgettable album, that doesn't manage to achieve the moderate greatness of its predecessor.
Marian Gold apparently has ceased to release albums under his own name, because it doesn't attract so much attention as the Alphaville alias. Since for a long time now Alphaville has been mostly a live band — that lives off almost exclusively exploiting its old hits, and for this reason is seen by many as a nostalgia act —, the need to release new material in the market has practically ceased, since it has almost no demand. For this reason, Gold releases new material only sporadically, and always under the Alphaville name.
Although it does not seem, Marian Gold is sixty-five years old now, but keeps rocking as Alphaville's frontman and main driving force. We certainly expect him to continue, for many more years to come.