Mixtape | 99 Luftballons

Du hast. Du hast mich. So goes one of Rammstein‘s classics. You’ve heard of them, right?! Or krautrockers Kraftwerk.

Well, these two – among others – are quite fitting to the German stereotype. So I’ve come to debunk this myth that they are cold, surly people and their language sounds ugly and hard (‘hard’ as in ‘not soft’ because ‘hard’ as in ‘not difficult’ is definitely true!).

Germans are, in fact, pretty loving AND loveable people! I lived with a local family in a little village near Frankfurt a few years ago and found myself missing that life these past couple of weeks and listening to all those tracks that helped me understand der, die, das and the difference between akkusativ and dativ cases (yeah right, a lifetime wouldn’t be long enough for that!).

Anyway, today’s mixtape brings you a bunch of German love songs (or Liebeslieder) so the world (cause I have SO many readers…) can also fall in love with that great nation of soppy folks.

It consists of mostly mainstream pop music such as Wir Sind Helden (they played at the old London Astoria back in 2006!), Juli*RevolverheldSilbermondPhilipp Poisel (the German Ed Sheeran) and German Idol alumni Yvonne Catterfeld among a few others.

*Fun fact: Juli‘s “Tränenschwer” holds a special place in my heart as it was the first song I heard and understood in full what it was saying! That’s not the fun fact for you though as you probably couldn’t care less. This song also caught my attention for sounding A LOT like another one I had heard before in English performed by an American popstar in 2004…can you guess which?! I might actually send you a prize (even if you get it wrong, really. Basically just because I’ll be really happy I have at least ONE reader so, please, don’t be shy!). The German one was released 3 months after the American. I’m not quite sure who made a version of who though.

I won’t translate every lyric of every song because who has time for that?! (me. I do. But I’m job hunting at the moment and gotta get back to writing all those exciting cover letters) so let’s pick a few and check out how romantic these guys can get…

I think about 99.7% of Juli‘s songs are about love.

One of my favourites is “Regen und Meer” (Rain and Sea). I love the sound of it, the rhythm and I can still picture a friend of mine dancing around pretending to look for something as they sang “[ich] lauf blindings durch die Straße. Hier bin ich, doch wo bist du?” (“[I] walk blindly through the streets. Here I am, now where are you?”). My guess is the dude ran away right after the first verse where she sings about watching him sleep…er, psycho alert! (“und ich zuseh wie du schläfst“)

Soll das alles sein? Should that be all?
Ich war so lang allein, I was alone for so long
Es war alles ganz in Ordnung, It was all in order 
Ganz okay, und dann kamst du. All ok, and then you came along (I mean, c’mon! #sorelatable)

Und jetzt verlass’ ich deine Stadt, And now I leave your city
Ich seh’ zurück und fühl’ mich schwer, I look back and feel full of sorrows (“feel shit”, that’s what she meant)
Weil g’rade angefangen hat, because it has just begun
Was du nicht willst und ich zu sehr. the thing you don’t want and I want too much (told ya, the signs are all there…psychooo)

Ich bin der Regen I am the rain
Und du bist das Meer. and you are the sea

But I think that’s the only Juli song we should slightly worry about the subject’s mental health. Some others are sweet like most Germans are (Hitler was AUSTRIAN!) and they can also get a little raunchy! I mean, Elektrisches Gefühl, Electric Feeling, wooooah.

Let’s move on to…Xavier Naidoo. I’m not quite sure who the equivalent would be in the UK, but he’s a pretty big deal in Germany. Legend has it that he was snubbed for the World Cup 2006 opening ceremony in favour of Herbert Grönemeyer because he isn’t the stereotypical German (he’s of Indian decent). Organisers claimed it was because Grönie was more like a German institution in music but who knows?!

He’s a bit of a nutter though. He claims the Federal Republic of Germany doesn’t exist and that the country is occupied by foreign, enemy forces. He was also up for representing Germany in the Eurovision 2015 but was vetoed because apparently he’s had some homophobic songs recently…I mean, the last place homophobes belong in is an Eurovision stage!

Naidoo’s career started out in the 90s but really only solidified about a decade later when he also collaborated with many other musicians such as the all male vocal group Söhne Mannheims.

One of his biggest hits when I was there was Dieser Weg, which is a pretty good explanation about how life works:

Also ging ich diese Straße lang, und die Straße führte zu mir. 
So I walked along this street, and the street led to me
Das Lied, das du am letzten Abend sangst, spielt nun in mir.
The song that you sang last night, is now playing in my mind
Noch ein paar Schritte, und dann war ich da, mit dem Schlüssel zu dieser Tür.
A few more paces and then there I was with the key to this door
 
Dieser Weg wird kein leichter sein, dieser Weg wird steinig und schwer.
This path will not be easy, this path will be stony and hard
Nicht mit vielen wirst du dir einig sein, doch dieses Leben bietet so viel mehr.
You won’t agree with many, but this life has so much more to give
 
Es war nur ein kleiner Augenblick, einen Moment war ich nicht da.
It was only a little blink of an eye, one moment I wasn’t there
Danach ging ich einen kleinen Schritt, und dann wurde es mir klar.
Afterwards I took a step and then it was all clear to me
 
Manche treten dich, manche lieben dich, manche geben sich für dich auf,
Some kick you, some love you, some surrender themselves for you
Manche segnen dich. Setz dein Segel nicht, wenn der Wind das Meer aufbraust!
Some bless you. Don’t set your sail when the wind flares up the sea

…which is all true and poetic but not a love song (super catchy though!), so we’ll go for his hit ballad “Ich Kenne Nichts (Das So Schön Ist Wie Du)” I Don’t Know Anything (as Beautiful as You)

I thought I’d share a different version of it though…the 2006 season of Deutschland Sucht den Superstar (German Idol!) had the half Italian, half German, Nevio Passaro covering it and it was a big deal at the time as all the contestants were always singing Anglo-American songs and, although this one starts out in English, it ends in German and everyone went apeshit (in a good way) because he was singing in German! I mean…it WAS the German Idol after all, but ok…I do like his version a lot more but watching the performance now, just over a decade later, is kind of funny.

 

Anyway…I just laughed my head off while googling Nevio because I just saw he’s half wearing a mask on an album cover and remembered the producers/judges/whoever at the time thought people were voting for him because he was handsome so he wore a mask for his following performance. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up!

Speaking of German Idol…one of the winners of contests past was Yvonne Catterfeld. For her I can definitely find an equivalent: Kelly Clarkson. Only, while Clarkson sings about how her life’s a billion times better after getting rid of the asshole, the German popstar channels her inner Juliet in Eine Welt One Dich:

Ich will nicht fühlen, was ich fühle, I don’t want to feel what I’m feeling
Nicht glauben, was man mir erzählt. Not believe in what somebody says
Ich will nicht hassen, wen ich liebe, I don’t want to hate whom I love
Wenn mir deine Liebe so fehlt. If your love is missing from me
 
Diese Bilder von dir rauben mir den Verstand, These photos of you rob me from what I learnt
Sind wie Schüsse ins Herz, ins Gedächtnis gebrannt. Are like shots to the heart burnt in my mind
 
 Ich will nicht geh’n in eine Welt ohne dich. I don’t want to carry on in a world without you
Nichts ist so leer wie eine Welt ohne dich. Nothing is so empty as a world without you
Nichts ist so leer wie eine Welt ohne dich. Nothing is so empty as a world without you
 
Nur mit Tränen im Blick denk’ ich an dich zurück. Only with tears in my eyes I think back at you
Wenn ich geh’, wird der Abschied sehr schwer. When I leave, partying will be very hard
Nichts ist so leer wie eine Welt ohne dich. Nothing is as empty as a world without you

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Sounds like she was about to pull a Hannah Baker and leave a song trail instead of audiobooks on tapes…but I’m happy to report that, a decade later, Yvonne is alive and well. The person who wrote that song, however, I’m not quite sure…

To be honest, going back to Rammstein, “Du Hast” is somewhat of a love song too…at least for their standards. It’s a bit of a wedding vows parody and full of double meanings as explained by someone around the internet.

If the line is read as “Tod der Scheide” it would be “until the death of the vagina” and not “until death, which would seperate” (“Tod, der scheide”). The whole song is a play on German wedding vows (Wollen Sie einander lieben und achten und die Treue halten bis dass der Tod euch scheidet? – Do you want to love and respect each other and to remain faithful, until death seperates you?). Instead of answering with “Ja,” Till says “Nein,” finally answering the question he said nothing to in the beginning.

So you see?! Germans are not only romantic (sometimes too much!!) but they DO have a sense of humour as well!

And it’s with the most beautiful song in all of the Deutschland that we end this thread.

Behold, legendary punks, Die Ärzte*:

Apologies for a shitty playlist, actually. Spotify UK doesn’t offer much in the Deutsch department…and vielen Dank to my dear Freundin Dani Mysterio for contributing to the playlist with the latest German heartthrobs!

*Männer Sind Schweine Men Are Pigs

Hello, darling, I love you.
You’re the only one for me.
It think the others are all dumb.
That’s why I’m courting you.
You’re so different, totally special.
I always notice such a thing quickly.
Now undress and lie down.
Soon it’ll be dark, soon it’ll be nighttime.
A word of warning is advisable:
Men are pigs,
Don’t trust them, my child,
They all want just one thing,
‘Cuz that’s just how men are.
A man doesn’t feel like a man until
he can take care of you.
He lies like a trooper,
just to get you in bed.
And then in the morning,
he has no idea what your name is.
Reckless and unihibited,
Feelings are alien to him,
For him, love is the same as a loss of semen.
Girl, that’s why you need to be aware:
Men are pigs,
Don’t ask for sunlight,
Sadly, there are no exceptions.
There’s a pig hidden in every man.
Men are sows,
don’t belief a single word they say.
They swear they will always be true,
Then are gone the next morning [yeah, yeah, yeah]
[“What did I do to make you distress me and say, you don’t love me anymore?”
“You don’t have the slightest idea what love is. We don’t even know each other.”]
And, in case you make a mistake,
And catch a husband,
your noble suitor mutates
into an animal right after the wedding.
He then shows you his true self,
completely unshaven and rank,
drinks beer, watches TV and quickly becomes fat.
And burps and farts in the marriage bed.
Then you’ve got King Kong as your husband.
That’s why I’m telling you, please always think about:
Men are pigs,
Don’t trust them, my child,
They all want just one thing,
They are blind to true love.
Men are rats,
Approach them only with cunning,
They want to copulate with everything.
That with three it’s not in the trees.
Men are pigs,
Don’t ask for sunlight,
Sadly, there are no exceptions.
There’s a pig hidden in every man.
Men are cars,
Only without a spare tire. [yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah]
Leftist pigs, horrible pigs,
Disgusting pigs, horrible pigs,
Dumb pigs, dumb pigs,
Horny pigs
Leftist pigs, horrible pigs,
Disgusting pigs, horrible pigs,
Stinking pigs, leftist pigs,
Horny pigs
Leftist pigs, horrible pigs,
Disgusting pigs, horrible pigs,
Dumb pigs, Nazi pigs,
Horny pigs
We don’t want any cops*
horrible pigs, horrible pigs
Molitav-Cocktails and Stones against the cops.
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