You Belong on the Radio - German Singles Charts (4)

Long time, no post. German charts, lyrics, let’s do this again (even if it hasn’t been so long since last time – it’s amazing how many of the same songs can be found here two months later).

#2 Glasperlenspiel – Geiles Leben

The song is a kind of break-up song or at least a goodbye song to someone who lives an excessive life, too excessive for the narrator.

Ich hab' 'ne Weile gebraucht, um zu verstehen
Dass die Zeit reif ist, um jetzt zu gehen
Ich wünsch' dir noch 'n richtig geiles Leben
Denn wie du dich veränderst, will ich's mir nicht geben

It took me a while to understand

That it’s time to go

I wish you a really awesome life

Because the way you are changing, I don’t wanna be around for it

Going further, the narrator seems to address someone who has become famous and thereby very rich.

Ich seh' doch ganz genau, dass du eigentlich was Anderes willst
Ich wünsch' dir noch 'n geiles Leben
Ab jetzt wird es mir besser gehen
Vergiss den fame, all die Villen und die Sonnenbrillen
Ich fühl' jetzt ganz genau, dass ich das zu meinem Glück nicht brauch'

I can clearly see, you actually want something else

I wish you an awesome life

I’ll feel better from now on

Forget the fame, the villas and the sunglasses

I feel very well right now, that I don’t need that for my happiness

It goes relatively deeper too with lines like Don’t you notice you’re slowly disappearing or It’s not about what others see in you and even I’ve learned I have to go my own way. Look, the song has good intentions, pointing in the right direction, but it’s somewhat superficial about it. Can you imagine anyone listening to this and rethinking their lifestyle? This is better than songs celebrating this lifestyle, but it’s like the teenage version of the criticism of it.

#5 Sido feat. Andreas Bourani – Astronaut

There is almost an own genre of songs that are generally critical of society and how things are going, but so non-specific and broad that they are not more than a status update. There is no digging deeper, no ideas for change. This is one of those songs.

Wir laufen rum mit der Schnauze voll, die Köpfe sind leer
Sitzen im Dreck bis zum Hals, haben Löcher im Herz
Ertränken Sorgen und Probleme in 'nem Becher voll Wein
Mit einem Lächeln aus Stein, uns fällt nichts Besseres ein (…)
Die Stimme der Vernunft is' längst verstummt, wir hör'n sie nich' mehr
Denn manchmal ham' wir das Gefühl, wir gehör'n hier nich' her
Es gibt kein vor und kein zurück mehr, nur noch unten und oben
Einer von hundert Millionen, ein kleiner Punkt über'm Boden (…)
Wir alle tragen dazu bei, doch brechen unter der Last
Wir hoffen auf Gott, doch ham' das Wunder verpasst
Wir bauen immer höher, bis es ins Unendliche geht
Fast 8 Milliarden Menschen, doch die Menschlichkeit fehlt

We walk around being fed up, heads are empty

Are stuck in a rut, holes in our hearts

Drowning our sorrows in a cup of wine

With a stony smile, we can’t think of anything better

The voice of reason silenced for a while, we can’t hear it anymore

Sometimes got the feeling, we don’t belong here

There is no back and forth, only top and bottom

One among hundreds of millions, a little dot above the ground

We all add to the problems but break down under them

We hope for God but missed the miracle

We build higher and higher, reaching eternity

Almost 8 billion people but no humanity

It’s this mix of everything, a conglomerate of unspecified discontent that everyone can agree with but no one has to think about. What’s the way out here?

Ich heb' ab, nichts hält mich am Boden, alles blass und grau
Bin zu lange nicht geflogen, wie ein Astronaut
Ich seh' die Welt von oben, der Rest verblasst im Blau
Ich hab' Zeit und Raum verloren, hier oben, wie ein Astronaut
Und beim Anblick dieser Schönheit, fällt mir alles wieder ein
Sind wir nicht eigentlich am Leben, um zu lieben, um zu sein? 
Hier würd' ich gern für immer bleiben, doch ich bin ein Wimpernschlag
der nach 5 Milliarden Jahren nicht viel mehr zu sein vermag

I lift off, nothing holds me down, everything pale and grey

Haven’t flown for too long, like an astronaut

I see the world from above, the rest fades into blue

I lost time and space, up here like an astronaut

And seeing this beauty, I remember it all

Aren’t we actually alive to love, to be?

I’d like to stay here forever, but I’m just the bat of an eye

Who, after five billion years, doesn’t want to be much anymore

It is not surprising that this song appeals to many people. I can’t really blame it for its superficiality, for its blandness, its lack of focus. It tells us generalities to comfort us, talks about escaping the misery because we can’t imagine any way out, feeling tired of living in this culture without ever identifying the problem. That is what we do in our culture, joining hands in feeling discontent constantly but worn down so much that trying to change something seems like too much of an effort. And we are told that we can’t change anything anyway. There is some promise of love to keep us going, escapism to keep us distracted and so we float above it all while being stuck. In a weird way the song is another component that keeps us from “living” by giving us the impression that it makes us feel alive.

#11 Matt Simons – Catch & Release

How about another dose of “This life (read: culture) drives us all crazy”?

There's a place I go to
where no one knows me
It's not lonely
It's a necessary thing
It's a place I made up
Find out what I'm made of
The nights are stayed up
Counting stars and fighting sleep

If you want to know if something is cultural, just ask who can relate to those lyrics. I’m sure many do and it says a lot about our culture if it seems normal to want that, a place to escape to from everyday life. Because, if everyday life is so unbearable, than surely something must be going really wrong, right? But we don’t think about that because it’s just normal that everyone feels like that. That’s why all of these songs exist and are popular. Instead of making us question our way of life it strangely confirms it for us. This made me think of Dan Carlin’s expression of logical insanity that he used in a brilliant episode of his Hardcore History podcast to try to explain Hiroshima. The idea that you get used to a certain level of craziness that it becomes normal.

Everybody got their reason
Everybody got their way
We're just catching and releasing
what builds up throughout the day

Notice how the “just” makes it seem completely normal? It’s normal to “build up” something you have to “release”, it’s an integral, basic part of our lives to be frustrated and stressed. It’s easy to see that you accept a lot more craziness, if that is the baseline for normality.

#15 Charlie Puth – Marvin Gaye

The title of this song seemed really odd to me but when you look at the lyrics, it’s embarrassing. Why would you use the name of this famous singer for a stupid sex song?

Let's Marvin Gaye and get it on
You got the healing that I want
Just like they say it in the song
Until the dawn
Let's Marvin Gaye and get it on

We got this king size to ourselves
Don't have to share with no one else
Don't keep your secrets to yourself
It's karma sutra show and tell

I like that he has to explicitly explain the reference, making the basic concept even more useless. We talked about sex songs before and this is nothing special, just the same old “Let’s fuck” in slightly more lyrical terms. Or as thought up by a teenager?

And when you leave me all alone
I'm like a stray without a home
I'm like a dog without a bone
I just want you for my own
I got to have you babe

Another line is It’s so subtle but it’s really, really not.

#16 OMI – Hula Hoop

It wouldn’t be the charts without the sexist song, I guess.

And when she pass me by and gave a wink and smile
And I was on cloud 9, oh
The way you move your hips and lick your lips

The way you dip you've got me up so high
And girl you've got that body with them curves,
Like a bugadi I just want to drive, oh
And girl you know
Round and round your lovin wakes me up,
Like a hula hula hoop

Oh dear. The way this moves from flirting to objectification is disorienting.

"Students, do you see the stylistic devices in this poetry?"

"Yes, there are too similes: “Like a bugadi” and “Like a hula hula hoop”. Both turn the object of desire, the woman, into an actual object that can be controlled and used to the narrator’s pleasure."

"Well done, you get a purple star, you may sit down now."

See you next time for more.