I suspect there are some who read this post’s title and cringed a bit. But you know what, sometimes you need a good pop song! (That’s coming from a sworn rock-n-roll-til-I-die person.) And the late Austrian singer Falco has delivered more than a couple of those. While those outside of the German speaking world might think the only Falco song they know is “Rock Me Amadeus,” they’d be wrong. Falco’s track “Der Kommissar” was a hit in the United States and the United Kingdom for After The Fire once the lyrics were translated and loosely adapted into English. Guilty pleasure? Maybe. But Falco’s unique lyric delivery and catchy hooks will help you to process and comprehend what you’re listening to. And rock out. That’s why this month’s German language music recommendation is none other than Falco.
Johann Hölzel is better known by his stage name Falco. His confident delivery and style blending singing and rapping was considered part of the New German Wave movement in music. His albums, released throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, were pure chart gold in the Austrian and, to a lesser extent, German and Swiss markets. Although he unexpectedly died young at the age of 41 in 1998 in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, like many long dead musicians, there seems to be no shortage of posthumous releases. Casual fans, like myself, would be more than satisfied with a greatest hits collection to practice their Austrian-tinged German to his tunes. Personally, I’m more of a fan of his high energy, catchy singles than his ballads (I’m not a big fan of ballads, generally speaking). Tracks like “Rock Me Amadeus,” “Der Kommissar,” “Vienna Calling” and “America” are pure guilty pleasure gems while even a slower track like “Jeanny” has its moments.
Go ahead: indulge yourself and your ears.