The album 18 has already been on the market for two and a half months  , but it was not until September 30 that the album was finally available on vinyl.  Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp have teamed up for the longplayer over the past few months, leaving everything that went through the media behind. For many, it was a big surprise that actor, musician and artist Depp came on the tour of the guitar virtuoso – but his presence ensured sold-out houses. The concerts themselves were rather mediocre, they had their weaknesses and actually only shone through the half-hour appearance of the Hollywood beau. Beck himself is a pure instrumentalist and that may work on record, live it’s pretty boring for most people after a few numbers. In Munich on the Tollwood, you soon didn’t even know what to show on the screen, except for a change from close-up of Beck’s guitar and the overall view on stage. The initial euphoria of the audience, which had come to 90% because  of Depp, also quickly subsided. Overall, the concert was one of the worse for me, not because the two did not confess their husband, on the contrary. Musically pretty good, especially the part where both artists were on stage (the rest of the musicians present unfortunately stayed too much in the background and cheated out of their applause), but if you pay 1 € per minute, then someone else than Jeff Beck must  be standing there. Or Johnny Depp. The potential was exhausted far too quickly, there was no end at all, the two simply left the stage and the audience remained waiting, then helpless and in the end quite speechless. The concert still ranks at the bottom of my previous concert visits and I am still annoyed by the arrogant appearance.

Back to the album, of course that was also alluded to. The two have mixed well-known and newly composed things. Between the cover versions of many a historic song, there are new treasures, which allegedly also contain side blows to Amber Heard, Depp’s ex-wife, with whom he was in a dirty court battle for a long time. But the first song doesn’t want to know anything about that. “Midnight Walker”, written by Irish musician Davy Spillane, who released the song in the 1990s in typical Irish style with pipes and a lot of tragic calm.  Beck reinterprets the song, doesn’t take away its melancholy, but of course uses his guitar to portray it. A quiet introduction that takes the listener out of everyday life, takes him on a journey through 18  and fits a bit to the dreary autumn weather. Like a long intro, the song nestles against the eardrum. Good choice. Killing Joke  stands in stark, breakneck contrast to this. The power number “The Death  and Resurrection  Show” had been celebrated at the concert and provided a dancing tent on the Tollwood with a red light show and immense power. Already the original breaks out quite a bit, but Beck and Depp give these drums, this driving rhythm even more power – also on the album. Here the song seems more modern at first, then a bit restrained, until it breaks out completely and becomes a danceable number for almost every disco. In 1977 Dennis Wilson released   a wonderful love song, which received far too little attention in my eyes. Lyrically after the first verse not further demanding, but with enough expressiveness and like a tender embrace. Already Wilson sang with a roughened and melting voice. Now it is for the girls of course the ballad par excellence, when  Johnny Depp  takes on the number. Live he sings with his eyes closed, feels the song, longs for the comfort that is in him. You stay true to the piano, but then incorporate a beautiful guitar solo by Beck, of course. You stay very close to the original, don’t do anything really new, but you don’t have to. The title of the next song already seems less romantic. If we were just very tender and in love, longing for the sweetheart, we are  now in the middle of the “Sad  Motherfuckin’ Parade”, written by Beck and Depp  and   interpreted again and again with a lot of old hatred for the ex-wife. Whether Depp really thought of Heard, remains to be seen. The rhythm picks up this strangely menacing, but does not become aggressive. Depp sings very deeply, again and again this “Big Time Motherfucker” comes in with a distorted voice, already abundantly peculiar, waiting, almost lurking. Maybe a little different than you expect, I don’t really warm up with the song, because I can hardly classify it for myself. “Don’t talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher  follows.  Quiet, instrumental number that completely takes out the hatred, this lurking, the waiting for the next argument and grounds the listener again. These are the quiet moments in the 1980s films, when she walks through the empty Beverly Hills mansion with a glass of Scotch in her hand in a breath of nothing and with a tearful face thinking of the husband cheating on her. Well, according to the title, it’s more about the togetherness in the beach house, sitting on the veranda, watching the rain and letting your hair ruffled by the cool sea breeze. Here, of course,   Jeff Beck dominates   again with his guitar skills and you can see him directly in front of him, tenderly stroking the strings. Enough of that, because now it’s time again: Johnny, your  turn! I think it was the first song you knew from the new album and with which you really got hot on the record. “This Is  a Song for  Miss Hedy Lamarr” made Google glow, because surely many had to read who Lamarr was. Actress, inventor, lover, flew high, fell low – and Johnny Depp  writes an almost tender, defending song for her. “Don’t believe, I can’t   believe,  I won’t  believe  humans  anymore” – a line  that fits Depp’s life and here I would make a much more direct reference to him than with other songs to    Amber Heard . He sings reservedly, calmly, a bit sadly, live in the right places with his eyes closed and melts women’s hearts. Again, a guitar solo, which does not break out, does not bring in any hardness, but retains the quiet style. “Who’s going to   stand  up  to  give  you  relief”, he asks and one inevitably remembers the trial, but the song must have already been written and in dry cloths, but there was also a process preparation, of which the world has noticed less and in which exactly this question has certainly been asked several times. Again a quiet number by Brian Wilson  and the Beach Boys: “Caroline, no”. However, it remains instrumental and Beck only lets his guitar speak. Sad, melancholic, but fits very well and compensates for the previous song. Back to 1965, to Smokey Robinson, Warren “Pete” Moore  and the Miracles. “Ooo   Baby Baby”, that was already a languid number at that time, which made women’s hearts beat faster and melted. So now in the Beck-Depp version, slightly different from the original and almost a bit too quiet, too trivial, one expects more than a 1960s blend. “What’s  Goin’ On”, another cover, slow, a bit swingy, but somehow the air is out. The pep of the album has diminished damn well and you now walk somewhere through the 1960s and remain there, knocked off, with a little too little self-interpretation. You are almost disappointed and afraid of the next number, because it is one of the songs that have been covered so often that you can no longer count it – and that you are not allowed to cover, because in most cases it goes wrong. “Venus in Furs” by the grandiose Lou Reed. It starts strongly, with power, with an abundance and a clear portion of self-interpretation. No cheap copy or desperate attempt to  imitate Reed, which is very positive.  Depp sings deep, almost smoky, calm, does not let himself drift, but has this mystical-erotic, dark in his voice, which fits perfectly to the song. Very successful cover, which really fits everywhere and can stand well next to the original. After that, it becomes quieter and a little more chastening. “Let  It  Be Me”  by Manny Curtis, interpreted by countless artists, including the Everly Brothers, Elvis and – my personal favorite, Willy DeVille. This typical wedding song is sung very slowly, a touch too tragic, but it serves its purpose. Still, I’m not quite convinced. Maybe the Janis Ian cover will make it   . “Stars” describes the rise and fall, the sometimes quite tragic life of the idols we adore. And Johnny Depp  sings as slowly and lovingly, as quietly as a great ballad singer. You take the song completely from him. At times only he can be heard with a piano in the background, now and then a few chords on Beck’s guitar, really nicely done, terribly sad and yes, once again you can’t help but relate this interpretation to the life of the actor. For six and a half minutes you languish through a Hollywood life, determined by others and intended for the entertainment of others. A bit thoughtful, sad, but doesn’t hurt.   John Lennon‘s “Isolation” closes the album. What begins quietly is finally sung more powerfully to the microphone, in places almost defiantly. At the end, Beck  shows once again what he can do on the guitar. From.

You can’t help it, most of the songs and the mood that the album brings with it inevitably make you think of Johnny Depp‘ public private life of the last few months. How much is really due to his inner self, the quarrel with Amber Heard  and stepping out of the silence remains his secret forever, but one thing must not be forgotten: While the world has been breathlessly following the trial and watched the revelations of hatred, violence, suffocation, drugs, feces, make-up and acting, the album was already arranged,  allegedly, the two have been working on it for three years, one may include a corona-related interruption, but much happened long before the trial. So what we cheerfully relate to the process actually has nothing to do with it. With the shared past of the tragic Hollywood couple – maybe so. However, Jeff Beck fades into the background here – and probably completely consciously and intentionally. It was clear that the world  would pounce on Johnny Depp,  precisely because of the trial, precisely because he was on everyone’s lips and precisely because  the  beautiful femininity stood and stands behind the Beau for very different simple and honorable reasons.  Beck himself doesn’t seem to care, he gets involved, you can grasp his virtuoso guitar playing in many places, hear him, feel him, and if we are honest, in the end only counts that the cash register rings. The cover versions are well chosen and in most cases also very well interpreted, some things fall a little behind the original, because it is only sung and the own contribution is too low. Depp  himself shows himself here as a thoroughbred musician, of course you overhear his guitar, but his voice is also the central point here. From delicate tones to rough sounds, he has a large repertoire and displays the variety, his ability to interpret songs, to make them tangible, almost visible. 18 is a thoughtful album for the darker season, for pausing in life, a bit of self-pity and very little hope.