Alphaville, “Forever Young”

The lyric-writing technique for “Forever Young” included some mashing up of familiar parts into an unpredictable whole.

 

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When Bob Dylan sang “Forever Young” in the early '70s, he did so in the context of a prayer for a newborn child. It makes sense then that when Alphaville delivered an entirely different song with the same title in 1984, they turned that quest for eternal youth into a first-person plea. It was the Me Decade, after all.

Alphaville was a German group that came in on the tail end of the synth-pop craze that held sway for much of the first part of the '80s. Bernhard Lloyd and Frank Mertens handled the keyboards on their debut album, also titled Forever Young, while Marian Gold did the singing. The title track was the third single released, and although it only squeaked to #65 on the Billboard charts, a dance remix gained traction in the clubs and extended the song’s shelf life.

In an interview for an Alphaville fan magazine in 2014, Gold explained that his lyric-writing technique for “Forever Young” included some mashing up of familiar parts into an unpredictable whole. “What I personally often find intriguing is to read aimlessly through movie- or book- titles and arrange them according to sudden inspirations,” he said. “A prominent example for that is ‘Forever Young.’ ‘Heaven can wait’, ‘Diamonds are forever’, ‘We are watching the skies’ and so on are all more or less quotations from movies. The creative part is to put them into a new environment where they miraculously change their meaning into the desired direction.”

In the original version of the song, Gold floats upon a bed of sighing synths, giving the whole production a weightless, dreamy feel. There’s not... Sign In to Keep Reading

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