WTF YOU SAYIN….in German?

I look forward to doing this post the most. Looking for indie bands in other languages is actually a lot harder than I thought. Often they sing in English (especially if they are European), so that they can appeal to a much wider audience. Today for no particular reason, I chose to look for some in German.

From Hamburg, Gemany, comes Tocotronic a band that’s been around since 1993. They haven’t been commercially successful but have a pretty steady fanbase. 8 million plays on for an indie band is pretty good, ain’t it? Considering the fact I had no idea what the were saying at first, the music itself can be still pretty catchy. Mein Prinz is a rather upbeat rock song which upon researching is actually pretty deep and spiritual. It’s about a state of being and having purpose in life. You an probably guess the title means My Prince, which is a reference to God.
Tocotronic-Mein Prinz (Single Edit)
The second track I’ll share with you is Die Idee Ist Gut, Doch Die Welt Noch Nicht Bereit which in English translates to The Idea is Great But the World is Not Ready Yet. I wish English songs could be so deep in meaning. Here are the English translation to the lyrics:

Do go to the train station
in the so-called springtime
say “Hello” to a stranger
who comes off a train
buy him a coke
in the cafeteria vis-a-vis
perhaps he has some problems
and wants to talk about them

probably he has no time at all
the idea’s great but the world not ready yet

do drive by bike
in a different urban area
say “Hello” to a girl
who has overlooked you at first
buy her ice-cream
stracciatella or nut
perhaps she’s depressed by something
she needs to talk about

probably she has no time at all
the idea is great but the world not ready yet

yesterday, at half past two a.m.
I made a song
and I call a friend
in the middle of the night
And I sing it to her through the phone
and it says “I love you”
shortly before I hang up
I feel ashamed

probably she has no time at all
the idea is great but the world not ready yet

Wasn’t that a tear jerker? I almost feel like recording a cover to this myself, in English just so the lyrics could be appreciated. I miss when song writing was about the beauty of a simple story.
Tocotronic- Die Idee Ist Gut, Doch Die Welt Noch

Hope I have enlightened you a little to listen beyond your scope of English speaking Western music. See you next week


4 comments for “WTF YOU SAYIN….in German?

  1. aeneuman
    March 23, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    very good choice.
    probably the best german indie band.

    sometimes, they do it even in english. :)

    another recommendation:

    greetings and all the best from germany,

  2. March 23, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    yeahhhhh perfectt choise !!
    Tocotronic is one of the best in germany.

    But you have to check some bands like Jupiter Jones (“Newcomer”), Kettcar (from Hamburg, very very nice)….

    We also have indie bands in germany ,too !!! hahahahahaha

    the best from germany,

  3. March 26, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    I have this weird double standard in my head that perks up whenever I hear non-English speaking music. I love the fact that they’re staying true to their culture (I fully endorse bands who buck the trend of performing in English; like those who stubbornly choose to perform in Canadian), but I end up immediately blowing 99% of them off because I don’t understand what they’re saying. Rap is the same… but most of it just sounds really goofy to me when done using international dialect. RZA released a compilation a few years back showcasing MCs from around the world. I’m usually down for nearly anything Wu-related, but it didn’t sit well with me at all. Unfortunately, Tocotronic aren’t unique in this regard.

  4. March 26, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    I understand that language can be a barrier in capturing people’s attention, especially in this day and age when you can find thousands other bands you can actually understand. I just thought it would be interesting to find things that aren’t in English :). I love how different languages have different inflections and things they need to think about when singing that play a part into their music. I hope that you’ll find something you like in these posts one day :D

    Tocotronic actually sing in English too.

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