What Is Rammstein’s New Song ‘Zeit’ Really About?
You may have seen Rammstein's new video for "Zeit" — the debut self-titled single from the German band's 2022 album. But what is the song really about and what symbolism exists in the video? Here's our day-one theory about "Zeit."
First off, let’s check out some of the English lyrics to "Zeit," which is German for "Time":
Some should, some shouldn't
We see, but we are blind
We cast shadows without light
Rammstein may be referring to Plato’s allegory of the cave, in which the philosopher ruminated on the nature of belief versus knowledge. Essentially, imagine yourself chained to the wall of a cave for your entire life, facing the blank wall. As a fire burns behind you, shadows cast themselves across the wall, but because you’re unaware of the fire’s existence, you perceive the shadows as the beings themselves, rather than a reflection of those beings. It’s a thought experiment that separates perception vs. reality, along with how individual perspective can dilute the truth of a situation.
With that reference in mind, "Zeit" is about the cyclical nature of humanity. In the "Zeit" video, the sands of time pour upon a group of blindfolded women who are giving birth. But the sands of time also swallow the members of Rammstein, perhaps depicting time as the bringer of both life and death. The sands of time also surround Rammstein’s caricature of the Grim Reaper, who can been seen holding the newborn children. Death is inevitable, thus the Reaper has us from the moment we’re born.
Death comes into play at the very beginning of the video, where the members of Rammstein have drowned after being thrown off a rowboat in rough seas. The video then cuts to men in the throes of war being cut down by enemy fire, then to a shot of children playing war with tree branches as rifles, as if they were predestined to die fighting for their country.
After us there will be before
Youth turns into hardship
We keep dying until we live
The song’s lyrics also express Till Lindemann’s yearning to hold onto precious moments. In "Zeit," a farmer embraces a loved one as the Reaper appears. The tender moment suddenly ends as the woman walks toward the Reaper. The farmer runs to stop the inevitable, but the Reaper takes his bounty, sweeping the woman into the sands of time. The man holds his beloved in his arms and looks up, realizing he will too, one day, be swept into the sands. This is likely is a visual representation of the song's chorus:
Please stop, stop
It should always go on like this
It's so beautiful, so beautiful
the perfect moment
In our opinion, the key line in Rammstein’s ‘Zeit’ is:
I'm lying here in your arms
Oh, it could be forever
But time knows no mercy
The moment is already over
As the meme says, time is a flat circle. The cycle (birth, war and death) will repeat over and over as we’re bound by our flawed perceptions (Plato's allegory of the cave) and our willful denial of the inevitable (the Reaper).
Check out our theory on Rammstein's "Zeit" above and click here for all the info on Rammstein's new album.