Outside of German-speaking countries, Herbert Grönemeyer is most likely discovered in schools during a language lesson where the German teacher, weary of imparting the quite foreign vocabulary and definitely difficult grammar of her adopted tongue, would most gratefully play the pop singer-songwriter’s songs. They have depth and speak with feisty lyricism of social and human issues that transcend its original country’s borders (Marie, Sie magt Muzik nur wenn sie laut ist) and with warmth and serenity about letting go, almost of the fight, just for the time it takes to take a breath, a break (Halt mich).
Grönemeyer is not about a voice, a glitter or a superficial noise. There is entertainment there, no doubt, as the music is popular and music celebrities collaborations have been notable (Amadou and Mariam, Charles Aznavour and more). There is indubitably a barrier in a language not widely understood. However, there is under all this a definite message and his songs legacy is impressive and worth revisiting. His best of truly revisits his immense legacy yet if I were to chose ONE album to get from the singer-songwriter, it would it be Gemischte Gefühle his amazing debut release which gives at a glance the overall portrait of a musical dreamer, lover and fighter.
Herbert Groenemeyer in ten songs
1. Marie Marie carries the world on her shoulder and this is not just a wonderful blend of all the abilities of Groenemeyer, be it musically or lyrically but a fantastic musical oeuvre showcasing his capacity for observation and expressing empathy 2. Mensch One of Groenemeyer’s main successes, this introspective track received the Echo Award for Music Video of the Year and was the artist’s first number one single in his country. But what makes it such a success is its lyrical and musical richness 3. Halt mich The way to describe this exquisite pop ballad is to translate its main chorus “Halt mich ein bisschen biss ich schlafe can” , hold me just a little so I can sleep, exactly what the song does for the listener who is back from their everyday struggles 4. Ich hab’ dich lieb The second track from his second album Zwo, another word for two in the German language. The pace mirrors the romantic nature of the song albeit the story of an ending. The live version carries the full emotional burden especially as the crowd echoes the singer. 5. Total egal 6. Musik Nur, Wenn Sie Laut Ist The story of a deaf girl who only likes music with a bass guitar well because that is all she can hear and feel has moved many a listener and highlighted the musician’s abilities for storytelling and emotional depth 7. Kaufen Groenemeyer often puts the pace up experimenting with all sorts of genres and infusing them in his work. The song Kaufen is one of those examples that helped maintained his music at the forefront of the music scene and fashion 8. Mes emmerdes The Duet with Charles Aznavour in German and French shows his great manipulation of the foreign language and a great choice of musical piece on a legendary collaboration 9. Ich Hab’ Dich Bloss Geliebt 8. Luxus 9. Onur One of the singles from his debut album Gemischte Gefuhle (Mixed Feelings), Onur shines out by its clever exploration and denunciation of a topical theme: the situation of former Turkish ” guest workers ” in an increasingly xenophobic Germany. 10. Will I Ever Learn (Duet) (feat. Antony) The track’s 2008 inclusion of a duet with English singer and composer Antony Hegarty now known as Anohni shows the breadth of his collaborations, having worked with other international stars such as Charles Aznavour (2009) and Amadou and Marjam (2006).