So, it’s time for the charts again and also time to look at Germany again, just like in the beginning. Which was over two months ago, but I still have to search for new songs now. But there are enough, so let’s get started!
German Charts on October 3, 2014
#1: The Avener – Fade Out Lines
So, that’s the number one right now. One of the advantages of not knowing a lot of what’s “hot” right now, is that I can go at these songs with an open mind. If there is one thing that fascinates me, it’s songs like this, which sound unspectacular but manage to talk about some relevant issues. I mean, this is a no.1 hit that tells us everything is falling apart, we’re all scared and fucking up our lives. Again, I’m not sure how many people who like and listen to this song realize that, but the lyrics are unambiguous.
Life was full and fruitful
And you could take a real bite
The juice poring well over
Your skins delight
But the shadow it grows
And takes the depth away
Leaving broken down pieces
To this priceless ballet
When exactly was life “full and fruitful,” I wonder? When the narrator was younger? And how did it get so dark? I mean, it couldn’t get much darker, right?
We are all plunging straight towards our own decline
The shadow grows without ever slowing down
We are heading straight
Into the fade out line
Or it could. Don’t you have to wonder how a song with such a message manages to top the charts? Don’t we have to feel pretty bad about ourselves to accept such lyrics? The lyrics apparently are from a different artist, but that doesn’t change anything. Now look how the record company, Universal, describes the song (in German, I couldn’t find an English version):
A lovely infectious melody, sexy vintage sounds and a positive attitude to life, that reminds you of the Californian sun and the golden 50s.
Now that’s what I call marketing. Lyrics that could push anyone who’s suicidal off the edge are sold as a positive attitude to life. That’s amazing.
#4 Revolverheld – Lass uns gehen
Okay, a band I have been used to hate in the past and that I’m actually surprised to still see around. It seems they also have a positive attitude on life, because they can’t wait to leave everything behind because the world seemingly sucks.
Bist du auch so gelangweilt
Genervt und gestresst von der Enge der Stadt?
Bist du nicht auch längst schon müde
Der Straßen, der Menschen, der Massen
Hast du das nicht satt?
[Are you also bored
Annoyed and stressed out by this narrow city?
Aren’t you also tired for a while
Of the streets, the people, the masses
Aren’t you fed up too?]
While I would agree with the basic idea of “Our society doesn’t work, let’s find something else,” I don’t think that’s what they are really trying to say. What they are actually doing is whining. Oh man, everything sucks, don’t you hate it, too?” They are no solutions or even thoughts just a lot of platitudes connected with a terrible summer hit beat. The lyrics are terrible. But what’s worse is that they pretend to be profound and poetic. Do we really need anyone else to tell us that “everything has become too fast”? Of course they say something about our society which seems to have forced them to make this awful song, but it means nothing. They just suggest moving away where “people don’t ask so many questions.” Right, because asking questions is the real problem.
#8 Fences feat. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Arrows
And some more depression and negative feelings. It’s really amazing how many people make joyful songs about feeling miserable. Here we have, parental conflicts:
He kicked me out
When I told him I lived this way
He doesn't own me
Unhappiness with your own art and suffering from being famous:
So in truth he never wakes up
Another day rushing to his death
Out of breath on the treadmill of the famous
He makes mistakes tells stories to his paintbrush
And when the world finally sees his art
He wishes that he never would have made it
And of course fear and the desire to escape:
I came too far, I'm too great
But I'm too scared and I'm too afraid
Afraid to stare this world into its face
I'm almost done, I'm driving lost
My eyelids closed, light turns to grey
The cameras off, the show is over
You close the curtains and just escape
It’s not a bad song, I think, as the lyrics are more subtle and the music not annoying. But three songs in a row lamenting, well, just living in this society and wanting to run away. Anyone still doubting that we should change something? That things are not going well? I rest my case. Until the next song.
#11 Calvin Harris feat. John Newman: Blame
Oh, Calvin Harris, you of one of the worst videos from last episode. What is this one about? Pointless sex of course. Waking up, not knowing who that person is next you and then refusing to feel guilty about it, finding excuses.
So blame it on the night
Don't blame it on me
In that typical Harris/charts style the music keeps beating along and the lyrics are sung passionately. The lyrics that say, “Fuck no, I didn’t do anything wrong, I’m just a victim here.”
Can't you see it? I was manipulated by it
Too little to the dawn
I had no choice in this
I was a friend she missed
She needed me to talk
If you read those lyrics you could believe this is a reflective satire of male denial, but does anything indicate that? Any wink in the lyrics? Anything in the music? No, it really sounds like a huge pile of self-pity. Again, self-pity for sleeping with someone you don’t really care about or know. With the disco beat pumping away any probable criticism.
#12 Farin Urlaub Racing Team: Herz? Verloren
Ha, this is like the antithesis to Blame. Farin Urlaub, never one to easily fall into clichés but instead making fun of them, sings from the point of view of a man who loathes in self-pity because he just wants to have all the women he can see. There are justifications and pretense, but contrary to Calvin Harris, here the satire is obvious. It’s funny, the story of a man pretending to only be a victim of his emotions, when it’s actually just his penis, like in all those other summer songs we’ve seen already.
Bitte sei mir nicht bös
Ich bin polyamorös
Ich bin mal wieder dabei mein Herz zu verlieren
Weil wir Männer nur für Liebe existieren
[Please don’t be mad
I am polyamorous
I’m only about to lose my heart again
Because men like us only exist for love]
It’s quite brilliant actually and so perfect to have this in the charts with all the other sexist bullshit.
#13 The Script: Superheroes
You know, sometimes life sucks and all you need is a song that picks you up and gives you hope. Or something. The song starts off with people feeling bad (wow, surprise, huh?)
All his life he's been told
He'll be nothing when he's old
All the kicks and all the blows
He won't ever let it show
But the song of course needs to turn this around, to be an inspiring ballad.
When you've been fighting for it all your life
You've been struggling to make things right
That's how a superhero learns to fly
Every day, every hour, turn the pain into power
All the hurt, all the lies
All the tears that they cry
When the moment is just right
You see fire in their eyes
“Oh, come on”, you say, “that’s really a sweet thing to say, right? Leave them alone!” Sorry, no chance for that. My problem is that the song basically sells the idea (and that’s a common one in our culture), that you need to suffer before you get better. As if you have to feel pain to feel happiness. Sure, there’s this saying that all the bad things makes you appreciate the good things even more and while it’s hard for me to agree with that, I could live with it. But this song (and many other songs and stories) work with this idea that pain and suffering is necessary, that we have to overcome obstacles to achieve something. And that, I think, is just soothing propaganda to make us accept all the bullshit we have to face in our society every day. “Life sucks!”, “Life’s hard!”, “Life is not a fairytale.” No, it’s not, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare either. It’s not life that sucks, but this culture we’re living in. We can’t change life, but we can change our culture. Big difference. And I’d like to believe you can be a superhero without the tragic backstory. And I say that as a comic nerd where this is never the case.
That’s all for today. It was fun again, see you next time!