Archive | December, 2011

Musical Advent Calender: Die Ärzte – Yoko Ono

24 Dec

We come now to the last door. Finally the day is here. My roommate’s excitement has reached a level that is keeping her from eating and is starting to worry me a bit. Anyway, I wish you all a merry Christmas. I hope, you can be with people you like and eat good food and get some presents and rest. The final band of this highly selective journey through the German music scene is Die Ärzte.

Oh, that band..sigh.. Where should I start? They have been around for a long time. This self-proclaimed “best band of the world” from Berlin has made fun of boy bands, Nazis, misogynists and politicians. They sang about “monsterparties”, incest, bestiality and islands in the North Sea. They are famous for their comedic talent and the fact that they have been censored a couple of times. I personally believe they are at their best when they write beautiful heartfelt songs about love and breaking up. With this impressive body of work it is hard to choose one representative song. Over the years they have musically somewhat strayed from their punk rock background but they kept a delightful “I can do whatever I want”-attitude which is probably best seen in this piece of genius. “Yoko Ono” was the third single of the ninth studio album. The song is 30 seconds long and the 45 second video made it into Guiness world records as the shortest music video. Enjoy!

 

Lyrics:

Du hast mir nichts als Pech gebracht
Hast mich nur belogen
Du hast mich lächerlich gemacht
MEIN KONTO ÜBERZOGEN
Du nervst noch mehr als Yoko Ono
Gehst mir tierisch auf den Sack
(Du) haust nicht ab aus meiner Wohnung
(Du) hast einen beschissenen Musikgeschmack

Musical Advent Calender: Clueso – Keinen Zentimeter

23 Dec

Only one more day to go and my roommate is dizzy with excitement. She is three.

Today I present to you a Wunderkind of sorts. A couple of years ago Clueso came out of nowhere. Of course not completely out of nowhere. Judging from his skills he had spent the bigger part of his life making music, but he demonstrated that the days of the music industry as such were numbered. Instead of chasing a record deal with one of the big firms he just founded his own record company Zughafen in his hometown Erfurt, no, not Berlin or Hamburg, Erfurt. He produced an album and later signed on with the label Four Music, which was founded by the aforementioned Fantastischen Vier. He is in complete artistic control and you can tell. It is just so refreshing to see a musician up there and not a singing and dancing poodle.

The other impressive thing is that he effortlessly wanders between the genres without losing credibility. He is doing bad-ass hip hop one day and the next day he comes out with this song.

“Ich will keinen Zentimeter mehr zwischen uns/ ein Fleck ohne Kontur/ Ich will ein Anfang mit mehr Tiefe/ mit mehr Hintergrund/ ein Ende ohne Zensur.”

– I don’t want another centimeter between us, one blot with no outline, I want a beginning with more depth, with more background, an ending without censorship

Ah, great lyrics make me happy.

And here are the lyrics.

Clueso – Keinen Zentimeter (2007) from kieft on Vimeo.

Musical Advent Calender: Rio Reiser – Für immer und dich

22 Dec

It’s two days till Christmas Eve. In Germany that is the main day of the festivities, or at least it is the best because that’s when the presents are given and you try to be only with people you genuinely like. Well, that’s how we do it in my family anyway.

Today I give you an artist I genuinely like. Unfortunately he died in 1996 at the young age of 46. Lucky for us, though, he left behind a lot of beautiful and most of all powerful songs. He came to fame with his band Ton Steine Scherben, who were spearheading the left squatters/anarchist movement in the 70s and early 80s with songs like “Keine Macht für Niemand” – no power for anybody. Their drummer once destroyed a table with an axe during a political debate which was broadcast live on national television.

Rio Reiser, who had been the singer of Ton Steine Scherben, later continued successfully as a solo artist. This love song is one of the fiercest pieces of music I have ever come across. If you ever feel bad, lie down on the floor in the middle of the room, put on headphones and listen to this anthem at full volume. It helps.

“Egal wie du mich nennst/ egal wo du heut pennst/ ich hab so oft für dich gelogen/ und ich bieg den Regenbogen/ für dich und immer für dich/ für immer und dich”

– No matter what you call me/ no matter where you crash tonight/ I lied for you so many times/ and I’ll bend a rainbow/ for you and always for you/ forever and you

Here are the very beautiful lyrics.

Musical Advent Calender: Juli – Geile Zeit

21 Dec

Okay, let me think for a second. This band is tricky. I mean, I have to concentrate really hard to free myself of the stereotypes surrounding them. Juli was part of a wave of German singing pop-rock bands that came up a couple of years after the millennium (the other big player was “Silbermond”). These bands had something in common, they were all musically good but not mind-blowing. Their lyrics were not bad but flirting a little bit too much with the current youth slang at the time. They made pretty music. I guess you can sum it up like this: They didn’t offend anyone. You know. Pleasant. Nice.

And so they became a favorite mocking target for all the indie rockers, hip hoppers, singer/songwriters out there. They were not even accused of being sell outs. They were just so… pop. (Imagine somebody saying that word with disgust.)

Now I don’t want to participate in the bashing. I like some of their songs, and the others I just don’t think about. There is so much great music out there. Why waste my time thinking and talking about music I don’t like?

Juli’s first hit “Die perfekte Welle” – the perfect wave – was quickly pulled from radio stations since it unfortunately coincided with the tsunami catastrophe in 2004. They finally made it to the big leagues with “Geile Zeit” – Awesome times. In 2005 hundreds of high schools in Germany used this song as the good bye song for their graduating seniors. I attended my friend’s graduation and thought “That’s a bit on the nose” but then again my year used Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of your life)” so I am not allowed to complain.

And here are the lyrics.

Musical Advent Calender: Xavier Naidoo – Ich kenne nichts

20 Dec

My dear cousin complained about the music selection of this Advent Calender the other day. Now, I am all about pleasing people so I took her advice to heart and give you Xavier Naidoo today.

When I was in high school I listened to his music a lot. He was the first guy who could sing R’n’B in German and not sound foolish. In fact, he might be the only one. At some point he lost me lyrics-wise. And I am weird like that, lyrics can make or break an artist for me. However, the song “Ich kenne nichts (das so schön ist wie du)” – I know nothing as beautiful as you – is really pretty. It makes me feel all warm inside, which makes it a good song for the holiday season.

Don’t be confused by the first part being in English. This was a collaboration with the awesome RZA of the awesome Wu-Tang Clan. After about a minute and a half the German part of the song starts.

 

Here are the lyrics.

Musical Advent Calender: Puhdys – Geh zu ihr

19 Dec

It is time for another oldie. This band was one of the most successful East German bands and unlike others they managed to keep it up and still play the big stages. Today they are the somewhat prototypical “Altrocker” – old men who play outdated rock music that most people like for nostalgic reasons. God, that sounds mean. I actually think they are a great band. They are just not the most vanguard in the music department.

“Geh zu ihr und lass deinen Drachen steigen” – go to her and fly your kite. I don’t think I have to explain that picture. But it might be noteworthy to explain that “Drachen” means ‘kite’ but also ‘dragon’ and “steigen” actually means ‘to rise’. All in all a song with really dirty lyrics, but still subtle. I like.

 

And here are the lyrics.

Musical Advent Calender: Jan Delay und Disko No. 1 – Klar

18 Dec

It’s the last Sunday before Christmas (also known as “vierter Advent”) and we come to yet another music genre that people generally would not associate with the German language.

Jan Delay has had an illustrious career so far. He was a member of a successful hip hop band, gained recognition as a solo artist with reggae songs and drifted into soul music. These days he has joined forces with the band Disko No. 1 and they are doing funk! Yeah baby, German Funk. It is possible, look:

 

Don’t worry if you have a hard time understanding him. Mumbling is his trademark. Here are the lyrics.

Musical Advent Calender: 2Raumwohnung – 36 Grad

17 Dec

It is cold outside, somewhere in Germany is a tornado on the loose and my mum is trying to keep her Christmas tree in the garden from falling over. This is the perfect day to post a song that shows you … wait for it … German Salsa!

Inga Humpe was already successful in the Eighties with a band called Neonbabies. In 2000 she formed the duo 2Raumwohnung with her partner Tommi Eckart and they had a couple of surprisingly successful summer hits. The video features dirty dancing, fancy Berlin women that don’t need bras, and a couple of upskirt shots, just in case you happen to be into that kind of stuff.

Here are the lyrics in German and English.

Musical Advent Calender: Herbert Grönemeyer – Flugzeuge im Bauch

16 Dec

Oh, he is another truly great one. My mum actually introduced me to his music at a very young age. And he is still around, touring, making albums. I have to admit, in recent years his ability to write strong and powerful lyrics has somewhat overtaken itself. His current songs are still good, but I prefer the old stuff, when he was singing about alcohol, break-ups, his hometown and that children should take over the world. Today it is all a bit too poetic and metaphorical for my taste.

Here is one of his greatest hits: “Flugzeuge im Bauch” – airplanes in my stomach. Raise your hand if you’ve never felt this way:

“Gib mir mein Herz zurück/ du brauchst meine Liebe nicht/ Gib mir mein Herz zurück/ bevor es auseinander bricht/ Je eher, je eher du gehst/ umso leichter, umso leichter wird’s für mich”

– Give me my heart back/ you don’t need my love/ give me my heart back/ before it breaks apart/ the sooner, the sooner you leave/ the easier, the easier it will be for me

And here are the lyrics.

Musical Advent Calender: Tokio Hotel – Durch den Monsun

15 Dec

We come to now to another one of the four German bands with world fame. In 2005 their first single “Durch den Monsun” came out and instantly caused something resembling Beatle-mania. The singer Bill was only 16 at the time. After this initial success in Germany and Austria they recorded an English album, toured the world and got all kinds of international awards.

What I find most notable is the fact that they are from Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt. This is one of the poorest federal states with astronomical unemployment rates and generally not much going for them. I think the last celebrity from that region was Luther. So you go, boys! Represent!

Here are the lyrics.