Neue Deutsche Welle, or German New Wave, is a term that encapsulates many different sub-movements in music of the German world, generally from the late 70’s to the late 80’s. It ranges from kitsch to extremely obscure and experimental trials. The movement pioneered noise and industrial music, and influenced the international music scene, while often remaining very much underground. All electronic musicians owe a legacy to them, as well as many classic british bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Blur to name a few.
Trio – Da da da (ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht aha aha aha)
An emblematic piece of the genre that you might well know already. Minimalist, funny, catchy, efficient altogether.
Fehlfarben – Ein Jahr (Es geht voran)
This song is taken from an album that is often considered a classic in Germany, Monarchie und Alltag (Monarchy and the Everyday). Punky, swinging; one could be reminded of Brit Pop.
Peter Schilling – Major Tom
This list would be incomplete without songs about space conquest. It’s interesting how the rather aerial chorus is superposed over the compact and grave beats.
Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (D.A.F.) – Alles ist gut
Choosing a song from D.A.F. was not easy, they have such a varied and interesting discography. This one however reflects a few important aspects: a dark atmosphere, repetitive rhythms and simple though conceptual and suggestive lyrics.
Foyer des Arts – Wissenswertes über Erlangen
Slightly experimental and extravagant, and admirably enjoyable at the same time.
Kraftwerk – Das Model
Kraftwerk, one of the most influential bands of the last century in all possible genres, had to appear in this list. This song was released in 1978 in the album Die Mensch-Maschine (The Man-Machine), two years before the wave.
Abwärts – Computerstaat
The first hit by what became a classic punk band in Germany, which sounds a bit clearer and more metallic than could be expected from the style.
Rheingold – Dreiklangsdimensionen
This one is slightly softer, one could even hear shades of disco in the muted guitars.
Liaisons Dangereuses – Los Niños del Parque
It is hard to believe, but this piece was released in 1981. Don’t be mistaken by the French band name and the Spanish title, it is well and truly a German band.
Grauzone – Eisbär
If you too would like to be a polar bear, then you might identify with this massive hit by Grauzone.
Einstürzende Neubauten – Yü-Gung (Fütter mein Ego)
“Feed my Ego”, by absolute pioneers of post-punk industrial music. Be careful not to murder concubine and children while listening to it.
Xmal Deutschland – Ozean
To conclude on a sweet note. This band, although singing mainly in German, ironically had more success in England than in their home country.
Bonus : Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (D.A.F.) – Die fesche Lola
See this as the Cognac that comes to finish off the meal. It would be heavy on an empty stomach, but after that preparation, you should be able to enjoy it. DAF’s very personal cover of a song made popular by Marlene Dietrich
By Hippolyte Pier Astier