18 April 2015

Germany #1: Variety of styles

In today's post I am featuring some of my favourite German artists. Especially the two soloists have been my favourites for a long time; nearly a decade if I recall correctly. I tried to pick different kind of songs from different years for a variety. All the same, I love all of these songs.

Wikipedia: Germany

Germany is one of my favourite countries when it comes to music. I think I would place the country in a top3 for European countries. There is much good music coming from there. This of course can partly relate to the fact that it is one of the most populated countries in Europe. And being surrounded by so many other countries, there must be all kinds of influences flowing to the country. I already have two more German music posts planned for the future, but let's start with this one now.

First up is Sarah Connor. The name you might be familiar with from the Terminator franchise, where there is a character of this name (who also had her own TV-series). The singer Sarah Connor does not have anything to do with the franchise, though maybe she possibly has taken her stage name from it? Sarah has been singing most of her life and she started releasing music in 2001. She is currently set to release her eight studio album, first in German. Besides from her musical career, she can be known from a reality show following her and her now ex-husband's wedding and she was a judge in the first three seasons of German version of the X-Factor.

The song above is called From Sarah With Love. This was one of Sarah's very first singles. It is a ballad telling a story of lost love and how Sarah is now after the years going to write him a letter confessing her feelings. It is the most successful of all Sarah's songs and it charted high all over Europe, including four number one spots. And I can tell that here in Finland it was all over the place back in 2001/2002, and it only charted third here. You can still occasionally hear on the radio, so it has reached a position of a classic song.

I was a huge fan of this when it was released back in 2001, even though I was just 10 or 11 years old when I first heard it! My love for this song has carried through these years, so I dare to say this song can have an affect on multiple generations. It is very touching and beautiful, both music- and lyrics-wise. And I really love Sarah's vocals here, especially towards the end. If one can find a song touching still after more than 13 years of first hearing it, there must be something truly special in it.

In my opinion Sarah's voice fits all kinds of different songs. She has ie. gorgeous ballads and catchy dance songs. At one point I use to listen to her debut album, Green Eyed Soul, all time and I named it as one of my all time favourite albums. I still love that album, but she has carried on making great music after it too. Her debut was more of soul (as the album name can tell) and R&B, and her most recent albums have been more of dance-pop. I always (or at least most of time) like it when an artist can evolve with time.

The song above, Cold As Ice, is from her most recent album Real Love. It shows a whole different side from Sarah than From Sarah With Love. It is a dance-pop song with a strong beat. Lyrics tell a story of the singer being in love with somebody and if she can not have him she will turn cold as ice and eventually will freeze. This is, according to Wikipedia, one of Sarah's lowest charting singles, though in my opinion 16 is a very good position, but obviously comparing to Sarah's other singles it is low, since most of her singles have charted in top5 with multiple in the number one spot. Though personally I do not give much value to charts anyway.

I really like the music; It is very dancy and strong with something dark in it. The lyrics are somewhat like in regular club song, but there is still something special in them. Sarah's voice sounds interesting and it matches the music great. This must be my favourite of Sarah's uptempo songs.

From Sarah With Love was a single in 2001 and part of her Green Eyed Soul album released in the same year. Cold As Ice was released as a single and on an album Real Love in 2010.

Next up is a German girl group called Queensberry. The band was formed in the seventh German season of the Popstars reality show contest; A show which has produced multiple highly successful bands (and soloists) worldwide. Queensberry had good success with their first two albums, but their third one lacked success. The band broke up in 2013. Throughout the band's time there have been many nasty things said about the girls (true or not, I do not know nor care since this is a music blog) and some have said they have a questionable reputation. Is it just me or do the reality show contestants always get the meanest haters? For me it is the music that counts.

Too Young (above) is the lead single from Queensberry's second album and their second best charting single. The song tells a story of a lost love and of being care-free as young. It is a dance-pop song with kind of summery feel to it.

I myself have not been very rebellious and careless as a youngster, so the lyrics do not hit me emotionally, though I still can feel a emotional charge in them. The music on the other I love a lot. It feels light yet catchy and dancy. There is almost something magical in it. The girls' voices give a nice additional tone to it. The music can be found a bit sad, but it is the vocal, especially in the chorus, that create the shade of the lost love to the song. Overall I find this song fairly refreshing.

Too Young can be found on Queensberry's album 2009 On My Own and on the deluxe edition of their 2008 debut album Volume I.

And last up is a singer called LaFee. Born as Christina Klein in 1990, LaFee is still very young, but already highly experienced singer. Her first album was released in 2006 when she was only 15 years old. She has released in total five studio album, one of them consisting of English versions of her previous songs and a best of album. Mostly she sings in German. Her early material belongs in the genre of alternative rock, but later on she switched to pop music.

The song above is called Heul Doch. It is an alternative rock song. The English version is called Shut Up and you can listen to it here, though I must warn you it is full of swearwords (so NSFW). I do not know what the lyrics mean, but based on the overall sound, the music video and the lyrics of the English version, I doubt it is anything nice. Heul Doch means Go Ahead And Cry. It is LaFee's best selling single to the date.

I really love this song. It is dramatic and dark, and the music is very strong. Even though it is a rock song, it still manages to be highly catchy, thanks to those "heul doch" -parts. Based on the English lyrics I think it is better not to understand the lyrics, maybe. I really love LaFee's vocals. The song is complex without being too complicated, so it is quite interesting. The changes in the music and vocals keep me interested all the way through the song. I first heard this years and years ago and I still love this. I believe this was the first song I heard from her and it got me into her music.

After releasing her greatest hits album in 2009, she made a major change in her image and in her music. Her music until that time was rock music with strong worded lyrics. At least her English songs were filled with swearwords and I believe so were the German ones. To be honest at some parts at sounded already kind of ridiculous, like they tried to fit in as many swear words and insults as possible. Now do not get me wrong: I really love her music, even the English songs, but this kind of image and language fits only to rebellious teenagers, if even them. After hitting the twenties it only comes of as childish and silly. So I am really happy she changed her style in time.

Her more recent material feels more mature and more real. She released one album in 2011 with her changed image and since then she has been in a hiatus preparing new material for her comeback. She just recently released a new single, which has made me curiously wait for her new songs. Back in 2011, she released the song above, which is called Ich Bin. The title means I Am and the song is quite dramatic change from the previous material (likes of Heul Doch). It is a pop ballad with meaningful lyrics.

I have read the lyrics now, but even before that I found this song very emotional. I do not know what exactly makes the affect, but the song comes off as loaded with lots of emotions. The music is very beautiful and LaFee's vocals brilliant. I am not very easily emotionally affected by songs, but this really hit me deep.

Heul Doch was released as a single and on a album Jetzt Erst Recht in 2007, Ich Bin in 2011 as a single and on a album called Frei.

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