I’ve got a suspicion my fondness for all things German happened in 1979 when Barcelona defender Miguel successfully managed to kick an important Fortuna Dusseldorf player off the pitch during the opening minutes of the Cup Winners’ Cup final in Basel.
Johan Cruyff had retired, I’d eaten the last of the Edam and my peculiar juvenile leanings towards continental Europe began to shift. A sort of geopolitical wobble that landed on West Germany. But in spite of the excellence in organisation, engineering, Adidas and Puma, three World Cup finals and perfecting the bicycle kick, one thing Germany was not noted for: popular music.
In 1982 Nicole won Eurovision for West Germany with Ein Bisschen Frieden (and I really should have the ability to type a German Scharfes S). Prior to that Germany chose the old schlager-meisters themselves Dschinghis Khan to add a bit of oomph in Isreal and came 4th!
But things have changed since then. To any doubters out there that German music died with Beethoven and Wagner, try this selective sample of Goth/dance/metal/pop/rock and whatever and long for a Huf Haus of your own somewhere in deepest Bavaria.
Schiller – Breathe
Christopher von Deylen formed Schiller (named after the poet) along with Mirko von Schlieffen in 1998. Von Deylen is all that remains, but the electronica continues. The sample I’ve chosen here is from a live show featuring guest Swedish singer September. His collaberation with Der Graf from Unheilig gave me ideas for a promotional video which has yet to see the light of day, but Schiller lie in that zone between trance and Jean Michel Jarre;
Blutengel – Kinder Dieser Stadt
Blood Angel; one for those from the dark side who like to move in the gloom. Chris Pohl is the object around which Blutengel orbit. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing Pohl was joined on vocals by Ulrike Goldmann and in my opinion stepped up a gear with the album Monument in 2013. Some of their visual material is unflinching, but Kinder Dieser Stadt can be watched on an office computer with the sound turned up…
Unheilig – Zeit zu Gehen
I discovered this lot when Der Graf turned up in the middle of a Schiller concert to perform Sonne. Don’t bother trying to buy tickets for Unheilig because Der Graf has called a day on the project, however, I could be cheeky and suggest you try to buy tickets next time Rammstein are on tour because Unheilig sometimes stray into mimic mode and have an unnerving similarity to some of Rammstein’s more popular songs. But they’re more than that and the albums Gipfelsturmer and Modern Zeiten are worth putting your hand in yer pocket to buy.
Das Gezeichnete Ich – Weil du da Bist
It’s hard to tell which is the song and which is the singer, but Berlin musician Henry Funke is the voice and songwriter. The name comes from a poem by Gottfried Benn (you can tell I’ve been translating the German Wikipedia site), but I still don’t see how the name translates into Subscibed I. I subscribed, verb? Das Gezeichnete is a noun… Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Ask a human to translate it, not a machine.
For Eurovision, he submitted Weil du da Bist (Because You’re There) and you might need to translate the lyrics to understand the video, which features German actress Veronica Ferres displaying the most demonic grin this side of Who Among Us… and getting angry with a sniper’s rifle. All jolly good fun, and the song is the most ridiculously foot tapping pop song you’ll hear in a lifetime.
(I had nothing to do with the screen grab above; it’s an automated Youtube thing!)
Rammstein – Reise Reise
After the Rammstein-lite version, Unheilig, comes the dreadful real thing. And I mean dreadful in its literary sense. Named after a disaster at an airshow, Rammstein have been bothering audiences since 1994. Reise Reise is the opening track of their Volker Ball tour and leaves nothing to the imagination. You can read How I Discovered Rammstein here.
(The original video was blocked by UMG-MK, but now it’s back, so FUK-U UMG-MK!)
And of course there’s Toten Herzen, except they’re not German (Anglo-Dutch) and don’t sing in German, so we’ll have to leave it there.
Why don’t you add your own German musicians to the comments section and give us all a treat.