Like any good fan, I follow the music websites, blogs and fan sites of the artists I particularly like. As we have established, it is Mostly Matthias. There are a good many German artists whose work I admire, politics and personal beliefs aside. My German isn’t good enough to pick up on subtle messages of allegiance or proselytizing. The music is what matters. It is where my soul goes and how my spirit heals when I listen that matters. 2015 is a great personal year for German music… in my opinion.
2015 is starting to sound like 1986 and 87. Currently on Spotify you can hear Nena’s new album. She has been absent from the music world while she has been fulfilling her other passions… mostly raising a family and enjoying her time as Oma. That is not to say that there have not been albums during the last few years. They have been mostly remixed versions of the songs that proved to be most popular. This is the first album in a long time that is all new titles and not reinventions of the old.
Oldschool is very much an album from the 80s. It is pure Nena. This is the Nena that I have been missing. The Nena of 99 Luftballons, Dreh Dich, Du bist mein Geheimnis, and Irgendwie Irgendwo Irgendwann. It feels a little Siouxsie and the Banshees sometimes. Sometimes you can feel the spirit of the New Wave movement in every music phrase. The first song I listened to from the album was Magie. Pure 80s magic. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole album, I suggest also, Jeden Tag and genau jetzt.
Herbert Grönemeyer has a new album out this year as well. Dauernd Jetzt. It reminds me of Bochum in that his voice takes center stage with this album. In recent releases sometimes I felt that he was being drowned by instrumentation. Dauernd jetzt brings him back front and center. Now, the funny thing about this album is that the first track, Morgen, sounds like it could be from the Sherlock soundtrack. I’d like to leave you with a video, but they have not made it available in the USA. For Copyright reasons. Bah!
Both of these albums, and the New one from Matthias, take me to a place where I was very centered. I was grounded in the full knowledge of who I was and had set a course to be true to that self. I wore all of my flags proudly and at full mast. During the last couple of decades, I slowly slid into the character of myself that made others happy. It wasn’t even a pale shade of who I was. And as I am scrambling to climb back into myself and own who I am, these albums come at a time when I really need the support. Elements of everyday life attack the flags of my personal territory, the parts of me that if distilled would be the essence of who I am, as do hurricane gales attack schooner sails. Jsut as when I was 17, I find the best support in music.
In this instance, the music is a bridge between the two times. The confident and self directed 17 year old me can step over the pain of the last 20 some years into the rest of my life which will be free from the struggle to conform. For I will not. I will not bring people into my life because others think I should. I will not marry someone to prove that I am normal and not gay. I will not allow other people to tell me how I can and can not make a living to suit their opinion of who I am. Any one who can not see me for who I am is not going to be in my life.
As I write I wonder if this belongs in a German culture album. It seems too personal for what I have been posting. Then again, I am German (mostly). Somehow, I think that everything that I am and the struggles that I have are tied up in being German. The more I think of it, the more I see how the struggle to be who I am mirrors my Grandparents’ experience in Detroit during the Great War. They were praised on one hand for being German. On the other, no one could tell the difference between them and the Nazis. And for my Jewish Grandmother the difficulties had to be astronomic. Be American but be German and Jewish because that is all you know how to be… how do you do that?
How do you ignore the formative parts of yourself to please others and not go stark raving mad? I couldn’t do it. I tired to be something else, something acceptable. Then I met the exchange students and realized I was fine how I was. Slipped in an effort to please people who should never have been in my inner circle to start with. And now I have be reclaim that. It is a common enough struggle that it can not be labeled as strictly German. Though I share the struggle with my Grandparents, albeit without the threat of artillery or Joseph McCarthy’s prying eyes, it seems silly to label it a German struggle. In the grand scheme though… Germany has only been a unified country for a few decades of its unstable history.
Loosely unified tribes, loosely governed factions always trying to keep true to themselves and fighting off “foreign” influence amidst fluid borders… yeah, that seems to be the German struggle. Always invaded, never certain of peace long enough to be truly comfortable… no wonder we are a stubborn people. It seems as if history says it is okay to be French and English, Spanish and Italian but Germany always has to be divided up and spread out among the rest of the world. That it stands fast and will not yield, sometimes going overboard in its own defense (Nazis) and still tries to be helpful… I am SOOOOOOO GERMAN!!!!!!!
Or I am way off base in my musings. Any thoughts?