The most comprehensive list of German Pop Music genres available on the Internet!
The Music Genres List site covers many of the most popular styles of German Pop music (not that there’s that many!), we hope this becomes the definitive list of German Pop music genres on the Internet, send an email to add @ musicgenreslist dot com if you feel any German Pop music genres are missing and we’ll add to complete the music list.
The spiteful stereotypes about German arrogance and triumphalism that persist in British tabloids may be rooted in jingoistic prejudice rather than postwar experience but there’s no denying the quiet confidence with which the nation views its role in European economic, artistic and sporting affairs. The same hasn’t always been true for pop.
Anywhere that produced Can, Kraftwerk and Sash would be justified in carrying itself with a swagger but the myth persists, not least in Germany itself, that the country’s music scene has tended to be a poor relation of the US and UK. A crucible for pioneering experiments that would help shape most of the records in today’s international charts, Germany has constantly been a creative force to be reckoned with. It’s impossible to do more than scratch the surface in 10 songs, but here are some classic clips to serve as a reminder that German pop has always been as exciting as any of its rivals.
While the prototype Beatles were toiling away in the nightclubs of Hamburg, much of Germany was smitten with the syrupy sweetness of schlager, a northern European take on American easy listening that remains popular and defiantly unfashionable in equal measure throughout the country today. Conny Froeboss, a Teutonic answer to Debbie Reynolds, was one of the genre’s biggest names. A headstrong teen star from the days when parental defiance meant staying out past curfew rather than mooning over sparkly vampires, her big-screen musicals produced a string of radio hits, like Lady Sunshine und Mr Moon, whose charms have lost none of their lustre over the years.
Although the charts would remain the domain of schlager and oom-pah-pahing folk-pop for some time to come, the late 60s and early 70s saw an extraordinary explosion in the number of bands on the fringes of the mainstream trying to redefine the boundaries of popular music. Combining elements of the thriving heavy metal, prog and krautrockscenes on Walk Alone, Hannover’s Eloy were emblematic of the period. The accompanying video, which saw the band capering about like a hairy McFly, should serve as a reminder to some of the more humourless current exponents of progressive rock that there’s no prohibition on enjoying themselves.
Kraftwerk brought the wild experimental ethos of the 70s firmly into the mainstream. With an imaginative visual identity and songs that had the uncluttered simplicity of nursery rhymes, they remain one of the few groups in history with equal appeal to analogue synthesiser fetishists and small children who like dressing up as robots. Containing the seeds of electro-pop, house and hip-hop, Trans-Europe Express ranks amongst the most influential singles ever recorded. Few songs have so perfectly mirrored the combination of romance and awe-inspiring engineering that makes high-speed train travel unique.
Argument still rages as to whether it was a legitimate scene or a tag invented by enterprising record labels but the Neue Deutsche Welle, or German new wave, was unquestionably responsible for some of the best European pop of the early 80s. The synth-heavy post-punk movement spawned little more beautiful than Grauzone’s spartan Eisbär, a song dated only by its suggestion that polar bears have less to worry about than humans. Victim of a surprising number of Eurodance cover versions over the years, the original got a second wind in 2006 thanks to the nation going temporarily crazy over Berlin zoo’s temporarily adorable fluff-ball Knut.
From Boney M to the Goombay Dance Band, German Eurodisco deservedly ruled the continent at the start of the 80s. Although never a significant hit in the UK, perhaps because it’s physically impossible for native English speakers to hear “Venezuela” rhymed with “tequila” without wincing, Arabesque’s Midnight Dancer was one of the era’s most entertaining efforts. As a solo synth-pop star and the voice of inexplicably successful new-age-claptrap peddlers Enigma, lead singer Sandra Lauer went on to sell an astonishing number of records but never improved upon her early glitter-spangled work.
Of all the European stars mistakenly thought of as one-hit wonders by the rest of the world, Nena might be able to claim the most cause for grievance. Britain was apparently more interested in her armpits than in follow-up songs to 99 Red Balloons, but she is closing in on 30 years at the top of the German charts. Helping make the Neue Deutsche Welle sound a major commercial force, songs like the brilliant Nur Geträumt and Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann fizzed with an irrepressible energy.
Offering a less abrasive alternative to the Neue Deutsche Welle, Italo-disco found few more enthusiastic adopters than Germany. Borrowing the synth style forged in the clubs of Rome and Rimini, acts like Fancy and the unfairly maligned, but admittedly ridiculous, Modern Talking took the country by storm in the mid-80s. Fancy’s Slice Me Nice, a masterpiece of elementary electro-pop, was rarely bettered. The video, in which he stalks a girl in stockings around a derelict building while softly intoning that he’s “like a pie made for hungry guys”, manages to be simultaneously one of the most unintentionally hilarious and unintentionally terrifying things ever filmed.
Berlin’s current status as the global capital of cutting-edge electro is undeniable but German dance music’s greatest period of commercial success came with the unstoppable rise of Euro-house two decades earlier. Stars like Snap, Haddaway, Real McCoy and Culture Beat only had a handful of hit singles each but collectively came to dominate the international charts in a way no other mainland European country had ever done before. Trying to pick a favourite song from a parade of iron-clad techno-pop classics would be a fool’s errand but Culture Beat’s glorious Mr Vain, with its rollicking beat, diva vocals and stilted rapping, comes as close as anything to summarising the spirit of the genre.
They may have famously cancelled a UK concert because Health and Safety officials refused to let the lead singer set himself on fire but Rammstein, perhaps Germany’s biggest recent export, have always had a softer side. Although more usually associated with blood-and-thunder industrial metal, slow numbers like the wonderful Ohne Dich have often shown them at their best and arguably had a greater influence on the subsequent direction of the nation’s rock scene. The DNA of grandiose ballad Seemann has reappeared in some of the most successful German albums of the last 10 years, most notably Unhelig’s septuple-platinum monster Große Freiheit.
It’s not often that hands-in-the-air trance DJs wrestle with issues of national identity and latent guilt but Paul Van Dyk’s exceptional Wir Sind Wir suggests they should have a stab at it more frequently. Released during a period of economic downturn and growing resentment directed towards the underperforming east of the country, the single had no lesser ambition than to help redefine what it means to be German in the postwar, post-unification era. Coming to the conclusion, although via different reasoning than Ke$ha, that “we are who we are”, Wolfsheim vocalist Peter Heppner calls for the still-divided country to let go of the past and pull together again.
Article: Guardian Newspaper