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*, Revolverheld, Silbermond, Philipp 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:
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:
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