She grew up with it; she cannot help it.
My mom was born right after World War II and in her youth she danced to Freddy Quinn, Caterina Valente, Peter Alexander, Roy Black and an occasional Elvis. She genuinely likes two things; Heimatfilm and Schlager, so I had the pleasure of growing up with plenty of them. Now I am stuck with a strange Eurovision addiction and a real love for kitschy aesthetics.
Schlager is a genre of pop music in German speaking countries but also well-loved in many corners of the world. Call it entertainer music in Las Vegas, Levenslied in the Netherlands or Pimba in Portugal. In Scandinavian and Eastern European countries Schlager is especially popular. It borrows from country, electro, folk, jazz and opera to name a few and it has somewhat become an umbrella term for cheesy music. You know the kind that is about love, rhymes nicely and has a catchy chorus you can still sing along to at 3 in the morning.
While 1950s Schlager can be heartwarmingly corny and romantic, today’s modern Schlager may simply make you cringe. Instead of real instruments, a keyboard and super simple lyrics are often enough. Generally, Schlager is not the music connoisseur’s favorite and is often regarded as kitsch and lower class entertainment. In Germany Schlager had somewhat of a revival in the 90s and is still influencing popular music. A good example for this is Après-Ski; party pop with trivial lyrics and often vulgar innuendos. Some of it is pretty bad taste.
The Moral of the Story is that after all these years I spent rebelling against my upbringing, I feel a strange form of comfort and nostalgia listening to this kitsch. (Well, some of it, but of course, in a totally ironic kinda way.) This year I did not get a satisfying Eurovision fix and still feel strangely inspired to put on bad music. It seems like a good time to introduce a new feature. Let’s call it Schlager Sunday. In this series I would like to introduce to you German Schlager and songs from other places that fall (sometimes unwillingly) into this category. Stay tuned…
If you are interested in a little history about Schlager or would like to find out more about popular music in Germany check out Deutsche Welle.
According to the Urban Dictionary Schlager has a few other meanings. Do you think they are making this up?
Free image from Pixabay.