Monday, September 2, 2013

The Sounds of Germany

So, Hunter and I are part of this Internet group that makes mixes. Every month, a few people make a mix and then share it. This month was Hunter's and my turn, so we decided to make a mix that approximates what you might hear on German radio. I will post the links first, and then the text that we included with our mix for you to enjoy. Said text was written mainly by Hunter, although the footnotes are mine.

    [Edit: I removed the dropbox link because it occurred to me that just posting songs for free download might not be exactly legal.]

So, we’ve been in Deutschland for over three months now, and we thought we might try to share a little of one of the ways in which Germany is different from the good old U.S.A.—namely, that German radio stations have no format whatsoever except “hits.” As in, from any decade, country, or genre, all back-to-back. So, the following is just a mix of songs that, like German radio (which, although we don’t just listen to the radio, one can often hear it in bars/cars/restaurant-ars), has no regard for smooth tempo/thematic/stylistic/temporal transitions. In particular, these songs are ones that we’ve heard an inordinate number of times, both on the radio and from street musicians. Some of these have been on other mixes, but if anything, that just emphasizes the “inexplicably keep hearing them” nature of these songs. Oh, and I’ve blind-idiotly translated them all into German, just for fun, although perhaps also as a nod to Germans’ love of dubbing (in movies and TV, at least). It should be clear which song is which. The order here is an attempt to recreate the madness, but of course shuffling is allowed in this case.

1. „Was ist Liebe“ von Haddaway
I had to look up who actually sings this. And no, this is not just a “wouldn’t it be funny if they played this on the radio a bunch here” entry.

2. „Gummi-Keks“ von The Chips
We really did hear this in a bar somewhere, and plus if this is just a “current top 40 hits“ list, that doesn’t really get the point across.

3. „Glück haben“ von Daft Punk
I suppose this one is sort of cheating as I think it’s pretty much everywhere. But the funny thing is like you hear it in a taxi with a 50-year-old German guy driving.

4. (Ich kann nicht mir helfen) mich verlieben“ von UB40
Yep. That happened.

5. „Wenn ich jung sterben“ von The Band Perry
I don’t know that I (Hunter) had ever heard this song before, but Scarlett heard it a few times and now it’s on the list.

6. „Irgendwo über dem Regenbogen“ von Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
I’m not sure that it is actually possible to convey how often we’ve heard this song on radios.
You’d need both hands.

7. „California Liebe“ von Tupac (mit Dr. Dre)
I don’t know what Germans know about Compton.

8. „Letzten Freitag Nacht“ von Katy Perry
Among the places I heard this: in the office of the Foreign Affairs secretary in the Forschungszentrum.

9. „Ich folge Flüsse“ von Lykke Li
I think it was actually only recently that I first heard this song as originally performed (in Germany, I mean), but we’ve heard at least three different street musicians (and one band playing an outdoor concert) singing it.

10. „Jambalaya“ von The Carpenters
On the one hand, this was played (by a German woman) for us to hear. On the other, the CD was already in her car’s player. You decide.

11. „Ich glaube, ich fliegen kann“ von R. Kelly
Not to put some R. Kelly on the list, but here’s some R. Kelly on the list.

12. „Ich liebe es“ von Icona Pop
So I get the impression that a lot of people don’t like this song? I’m not generally a huge fan of like bouncing dance pop, but I kind of dig it.

13. „Stadt New Orleans“ von Arlo Guthrie
I think it might have actually been the Willie Nelson version.

14. „Moderne Liebe“ von David Bowie
Seems there’s a lot of „liebe“ happening on this list. We only heard this song a lot in that it recurred in Frances Ha, but too bad.

15. „Jung und schön“ von Lana del Rey
So okay there’s a couple of songs on here that are a bit too recent to really qualify for a “why do I keep hearing this?”. Oh well.

16. „Mein Hertz wird weiter gehen“ von Celine Dion
In addition to hearing it on radios, we’ve heard people just walking down the street singing this. Not always drunk people, either.*

17. „Amerika“ von Rammstein**
We haven’t heard a lot of actual German music that we’ve recognized, which isn’t that surprising in that we don’t know all that many German songs (some Rammstein and some Die Prinzen, who we didn’t put on here, but look up “Deutschland” or “Gabi and Klaus” if you don’t know them. And I mean we know “99 Luftbaloons,” but sadly we haven’t heard that yet).

*I'm not even joking, one time at 10:00am I could distinctly hear some dude singing along to a recording of this song, I mean singing along impassionedly.

**I heard this in the park; some old dude was listening to it on a boombox. Also, they still have boomboxes here.

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