It’s been a while since I visited this series and it’s been a while since I was able to visit Europe. And while the aftermath of that clusterfuck of Brexit continues to rumble like a storm of twattery kept going by the deliberate ineptitude of those pocket-lining cuntish cockweasels, continued progress in vaccinations and such means at least visiting Europe is now back on the horizon. So it seemed a fitting time to revisit this series and the ‘wheel of Europe’ has landed upon Deutschland.
I’ve spent no time in Germany but, if progress continues and plans hold, it’ll be a stop on my drive cross-continent next year. We’re all pretty familiar with certain aspects of Germany – the history, a few car brands, the sausages and the beer, Oktoberfest… But what about music?
I know, it’s gonna be a tricky one, what has Germany given the world of music after all? Alright, apart from Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Schumann, Mozart, Wagner and half of Milli Vanilli?
What fits in this blog’s particular wheelhouse from the country of Rammstein and Krautrock?
Kokomo – Kaputt Finker
Kicking off with some post-rock because I really dig Kokomo. Hailing from Duisburg, a city which sits at the junction of the rivers Rhine and Ruhr, Kokomo were one of the first post-rock bands I found when I started getting into the genre’s newer offerings from Europe via Aloud Music. As much as I gravitated toward the Spanish post-rock scene, Kokomo (not sure if they took the name from the Beach Boys song) Kokomo have the good stuff and ad a harder edge to their sound that hits the spot.
Hans Zimmer – Leaving Wallbrook / On The Road
Born in Frankfurt in 1957, Zimmer grew up in West Germany and has credited his mother’s survival in WW2 (the family is Jewish) to her escape to England in 1939. Zimmer’s career took off in 1988 when Barry Levinson asked him to compose some original music for his film Rain Main. I love that film – I don’t often take this blog to the movies but it’s a real quiet gem where much attention was deservedly given to Hoffman but the Cruisester turns in a career best with real character work and a genuine arc – and it’s one where the soundtrack fits perfectly and Zimmer’s original work is highlight amongst era-specific cuts from Bananarama and Etta James’ timeless ‘At Last’. From there he’d go on to score and elevate some cracking films, a few duds of course and Pearl Harbour (where’s that turd emoji?) but it’s always his contribution to Rain Man that comes to mind for me.
Sportfreunde Stiller – Ein Kompliment
Hailing from a town not far from Munich, these apparently football-obsessed (won’t hold it against em) fellas have been at it since the mid-nineties.
Unheilig – Hinunter bis auf Eins
They sure seem to love a bit of the industrial and harder-hitting stuff in Germany. While that sort of thing isn’t usually my cup of coffee (you’re not gonna see ‘Du hast’ on this list) Unheilig weren’t too shabby at all, they combined a bit more of the electronic and lighter elements into their particular blend.
Scorpions – Wind of Change
Yes, I know; it’s cheesier than a snack at 62 West Wallaby Street but could we talk about German music without mentioning Hanover’s Scorpions? Responsible for some of the most offensively awful album covers out there, holders of numerous mullet-championship trophies… sure. But this song resonates with me…. I’ve got a real interest in the fall of the Berlin Wall (to which I’m indebted to for all that’s good in my life) and the era of Perestroika.
My early years were spent knowing two Germanies (not to mention Yugoslavia) and precious little about what was happening on the other side of the Wall. I know now that my childhood on one side was very different to that of my wife’s on the other side under the rule of Ceaușescu and I’ve spent a lot of time learning about those movements which bought about such a monumental change in countries throughout Eastern Europe and the stories of those who made the ultimate sacrifices in trying to break free, those who lost their lives trying to cross the Berlin Wall or swim the Danube and those who stayed in hope. This song – which was written after Klaus Meine had visited Moscow at that movement’s height – and its message has long been associated with that moment in time and continues to set me off to reflecting on history whenever that whistle arrives.
It was either this or ’99 Luftballoons’. In fact, fuck it: let’s have both and end on an upbeat note…
11 thoughts on “Out of Europe: Five from Germany”
This post is making me realise that I know a bunch of 1970s German arty stuff, but nothing really after that….
It’s not a country that makes a real impression on the international music scene – I’d wager it’s the language, much like Dutch / Flemish it’s quite heavy but I found a good few songs in Flemish when I touched on Belgium
Japan is easily my most listened to non English country.
Hahaha, 99 Luftballoons has made my day.
A mixed bag here for me. I liked the post-rock tune but I find that for me, a little goes a long way. BTW, my son left Pray For Sound. He eventually realized that it was all well and good but he’d much rather be in a band that sounds like Nirvana or Green Day. Not sure if he’s enough of a leader type to pull that together. He is still somewhat of a free spirit and set solo across the country to see Utah, Colorado, and other points West.
The Zimmer tune makes me want to see “Rain Man” again. As it happens, my wife works with autistic kids. I liked the football guys but they lost me when they sang. Maybe I’m too American-o-centric but it’s really hard to listen to non-English lyrics. I’ve never been a big Scorpions fan but I appreciate the sentiment in the song. The world turns. One day the wall comes down and everyone’s free. The next day America utterly abandons Afghanistan and everyone’s shackled.
“99 Luftbaloons” was always a hoot. I was wondering where that hot chick is now. Turns out that, according to Wikipedia, with that tune and her solo career, she’s the most successful singer in German pop chart history. Go figure.
A band I always liked from Germany was Triumvirate. ELP like.
Forgot to say I have a Peter Gabriel album that he sings in German.
Really? Blimey – I’ll have to take a butchers
You’ll have to translate that slang fella. I like it but would like it better if i knew what the hell it meant.
= Take a look / investigate
Very good. I will use that today on my Gal. I kind of had an idea that was it.