Well, it’s happening. I had originally planned to never review music in this blog, but I just can’t help it.
From September 2008 to September 2011, my life was tragically music-less. From 2008 to 2010, I was in grad school. I can’t listen to music and work, and with the exception of the occasional dance party, all you ever do in grad school is work. Therefore, my M.A. consisted of two years of silence. Afterward, I was working several teaching and odd jobs, which left only the car ride to and from work for music. That year coincided with my addiction to the Diane Rehm Show, so still no music.
Enter Germany 2011. With my new-found abundance of free time, I could actually read the articles from my Paste magazine subscription, watch Viva (German MTV), and listen to the radio. I have also seen some amazing choir and organ concerts at local churches. What finally tipped the scales, though, was the mix CD my colleague made for me of the 50 best German songs. I forgot how much I love music!!! German music!!!
In each of these posts, I will tell you about an artist or group. Hopefully it will spark or rekindle your own love for Teutonic beats. Personally, I’m having a great time. Here goes:
I’m going to start the series with one of my old favorites. The group is Wir Sind Helden (We Are Heroes). Their big hit in 2004 was “Denkmal,” but they continue to rock. Think Cardigans, with electronic touches, a sense of humor, something dance-y that reminds me of the Rolling Stones, and something grungy that reminds me of the 90s. My favorite songs: Guten Tag, Von hier an blind, and Denkmal (aber natürlich). Check them out and enjoy!
While I’m reviewing popular music, I also want to take a minute to shout out to the amazing musicians I’ve seen live recently.
- Gabriel Isenberg – music director for the St. Viktor church in Damme, and rock star organist. I don’t know anyone else my age doing tangos on the pipe organ, or with a pipe organ in his living room. Rock on, Gabriel. Rock on.
- The Norddeutscher Figuralchor – All of you out there trying to up your bourgeois street cred will love this group’s greatest hits of German-speaking composers, complete with Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Brahms’ “Ave Maria,” and Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor” (Look it up. I know you know it.) All you choir enthusiasts out there will love Mahler’s “Scheiden und Meiden,” which sounds like spring, and Knut Nystedt’s “Immortal Bach,” which sounds like human voices that have abandoned their bodies and transcended into pure sound. This concert is worth the 20 Euro ticket.
If, as many studies suggest, humans are hardwired for music, those of you out there making it are certainly a little more human than the rest of us. Respekt.
Do you have a favorite German artist or band? Let me know on the “German Music” page. Danke!