Regardless of your experience as a German language learner, if you’re into rock or punk then you’ve likely heard of Die Toten Hosen. The punk rock band are internationally known despite the fact that their music is chiefly in German. The music of Die Toten Hoten is exactly what you’d expect from a popular punk rock band: it’s high energy, catchy and, simply put, fun. If you’re looking for a German language band to sing along to to help you practice your German skills, Die Toten Hoten might just be the band for you.
Die Toten Hosen have been around seemingly forever. I know I was listening to them long before I had any significant interest in learning German. For years I listened to songs like “Hier kommt Alex” and “Bayern,” not fully appreciating their lyrics. (Today, as an FC Bayern supporter I won’t hold the latter song against them. It’s a pretty funny song.) But what’s great about punk rock is the lack of pretension. The lyrics might be delivered quickly and they might take some grammatical liberties, but they’re usually easy to understand and, for that reason, ideal for someone learning the language. And like with most punk rock bands, Die Toten Hosen have strong political convictions. Most recently the band were in the German press for their 2012 song “Tage wie diese,” which was used by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party after their 2013 election win — much to the dislike of the band (who avoid specific political affiliations) and they made their feelings quite clear.
Because of their longevity, Die Toten Hosen have plenty of music to keep you busy. They’ve even got an album of covers — “Never Mind the Hosen, Here’s Die Roten Rosen” — that’s a lot of fun and you might just recognize a few of the songs from their original English language versions. The one album you’ll want to “avoid” is the accurately titled “Learning English, Lesson 1,” in which the band do English language covers of songs. Not the most helpful or productive for us German learners!
Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page.