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Finally, music in German – and it shows once more, how rich in expression the German language actually is!

Nadine.jpg
Most of the music that is played on German radio stations, in clubs and on TV is in English. It has been that way for decades. The German language was not cool enough, the good stuff came from abroad: the US, UK and so on. The only music in German was the so called Schlager music, a kind of old fashioned country music.
This changed in the late 1970 and early 1980’s as the result of an underground movement, when the UK Punk and New Wave was interpreted by German artists using German lyrics. This movement was later called “Neue deutsche Welle” (New German Wave). Some of the most famous musicians included Nena, Falco, and DAF. This opened up the doors for artists in the 90’s to try to introduce the German language into other styles of music like Herbert Grönemeyer, BAP, Die Toten Hosen (they are currently more popular in Argentina than in Germany, still playing in German), Die Ärzte, and Fanta Vier.


Yet a more remarkable trend developed in more recent years as more and more bands and solo artists started singing in German. Now, every day there is popular music in German on the radio! In the 90’s just a couple of bands were successful playing in German. Now it is hip to sing in German and a lot of previously unknown bands are becoming popular. Due to this movement within pop music, the so-called “Neue neue deutsche Welle” (New new German wave), other styles of music like German Hip Hop found a bigger audience, too. It is not a taboo for German artists anymore to sing in German. Now they might still be played on the radio and find a big audience.
Some of these artists are now playing with the variety of the German language that seems to have been forgotten since Goethe and Schiller. These new musical poets develop puns, play with ambiguous meanings of words and provoke a more active processing/awareness of the richness of the German language. Others are just using the German language in their usual way of talking to each other, without a deeper meaning of this use, just because it’s natural to use it. And this opens up German-speaking music to every kind of listener, no matter which age level, no matter which lifestyle they prefer – now there is music in German for them, too.
So nowadays in Germany it is not that uncommon to listen to German music on the radio. In contrast to other countries, like France, Germany doesn’t have a law stating that radio stations must play at least a certain percentage of music in the official language. This movement developed on its own. Let’s see if it is just a passing fad or a long lasting change.
To give you a better idea what this music actually sounds like, here are some music videos of different artists of different styles of music.
Wir sind Helden – Nur ein Wort (with English subtitles)

Juli – Die perfekte Welle

Text of Die perfekte Welle by Juli in German and the English translation

German

Perfekte Welle
Mit jeder Welle kam ein Traum,
Träume gehen vorüber,
dein Brett ist verstaubt,
deine Zweifel schäumen über,
hast dein Leben lang gewartet,
hast gehofft, dass es sie gibt,
hast den Glauben fast verloren,
hast dich nicht vom Fleck bewegt.
Jetzt kommt sie langsam auf dich zu,
das Wasser schlägt dir ins Gesicht,
siehst dein Leben wie ein Film,
du kannst nicht glauben, dass sie bricht.
Das ist die perfekte Welle,
das ist der perfekte Tag,
lass dich einfach von ihr tragen,
denk am besten gar nicht nach.
Das ist die perfekte Welle,
das ist der perfekte Tag,
es gibt mehr als du weißt,
es gibt mehr als du sagst.
Deine Hände sind schon taub,
hast Salz in deinen Augen,
zwischen Tränen und Staub,
fällt es schwer noch dran zu glauben,
hast dein Leben lang gewartet,
hast die Wellen nie gezählt,
hast das alles nicht gewollt,
hast viel zu schnell gelebt.
Stellst dich in Sturm und Schreist,
ich bin hier ich bin frei,
alles was ich will ist Zeit,
das ist der perfekte Tag dafür.
English
Perfect wave

With every wave came a dream
Dreams pass
Your (surf)board has grown dusty
You have many doubts/Your doubts foam over
You have waited your whole life
You have hoped that it exists
You have nearly lost your faith
You have not moved a bit
Not it slowly approaches you
The water hits your face
You look at your life like it is a movie
You cannot believe that it breaks
This is the perfect wave
This is the perfect day
Simply let yourself be carried by it
Best do not think about it at all
This is the perfect wave
This is the perfect day
There’s more than you know
There’s more than you say
Your hands have already grown numb
You have salt in your eyes
Between tears and dust
It’s hard to still believe in it
You have waited your whole life long
You have never counted the waves
You have not wanted any of this
You have lived much too fast
You face the storm and scream
I am here, I am free
All that I want is time
This is the perfect day for it
Sportfreunde Stiller – Ein Kompliment

Clueso – Gewinner

Text of Gewinner by Clueso in German and the English translation
German
Gewinner
An allem, was man sagt, an allem, was man sagt ist auch was dran
Egal, wer kommt, egal, wer geht, egal, es kommt nicht darauf an
Ich glaube nichts, ich glaub an dich, glaubst du an mich, ich glaub ich auch
Ich frage mich, ich frage dich, doch frag ich nicht: „Fragst du dich auch?“
Ich bin dabei, du bist dabei, wir sind dabei, uns zu verlieren
Ich bin dabei, bist du dabei, sind wir dabei, uns zu verlieren?
Ich bin dabei, du bist dabei, wir sind dabei, uns zu verlieren
Ich bin dabei, bist du dabei, bin ich dabei, uns zu verlieren?
Leichter als leicht geht es vielleicht, leichter als das, was vielleicht war
Leichter als leicht, es ist nicht weit von hier zu dem, was noch nicht war
Suchst du mich, dann such ich dich, ist die Versuchung groß genug
Ich lass es zu, komm, lass es zu, komm, lass es uns noch einmal tun
Ich geb nicht auf, gehst du mit mir, gehst du mit mir mit auf uns zu?
Fällt dir nichts ein? Komm, leg nicht auf, komm, reg dich auf und komm zur Ruh
Winner
Whatever is said, everything that’s said, there is something to it
No matter who comes, no matter who goes, no matter, it doesn’t matter
I believe nothing, I believe in you, do you believe in me, I believe I do that too
I ask myself, I ask you, but I don’t ask: Do you ask yourself, too?
I’m about to, you’re about to, we’re about to loose ourselves
I’m about to, are you about to, are we about to loose ourselves?
I’m about to, you’re about to, we’re about to loose ourselves
I’m about to, are you about to, am I about to loose ourselves?
Easier than easy it may happen, easier than that, what maybe happened
Easier than easy, it’s not far from here to what hasn’t been yet
Are you looking for me, then I’m looking for you, is the temptation strong enough
I let it happen, come let it happen, come let’s do it one more time
I don’t give up, do you walk with me, do you walk up to us with me?
Don’t you come up with something? Come, don’t hang up, come, become upset and come to rest

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