Sometimes, as the saying goes, opposites attract. So what happens when a former boyband member with roots in blues and soul gets together with a musician who saw great success in the 1980s and for whom songwriting is a major strength? The pop duo ich + ich try to answer that question. The group released three albums in the 2000s so now is a great time to get familiar with their unique brand of pop music.
This month, get to know ich + ich and learn German with music!
Get to Know Ich + Ich
ich + ich, pronounced as “ich und ich” (meaning “I and I”), is Annette Humpe and Adel Tawil. Humpe is best known for being in the 1980s New German Wave (Neue Deutsche Welle) group Ideal. Tawil is known as a member of the late 1990s boy band The Boyz. The pair met in early 2002 in a Berlin recording studio. Tawil was there to sing on a project written by Humpe.
By the following year, the couple had decided to collaborate on ich + ich. In addition to each member having different musical influences, the pair chose to lean into their differences in background when it came to creating music together. Humpe, it was decided, would write the songs and Tawil would take the lead in performing.
The Music of Ich + Ich
The 2005 self-titled debut album from ich + ich reached the top ten in the German album charts. The largely electronic album, with its rhythmic and somewhat moody tracks, is not what is typically considered pop music. There is nothing bubblegum or adolescent about the music. Tracks like the single “Du erinnerst mich an Liebe” are smooth ballads with a bit of an instrumental edge.
The duo’s second album, 2007’s Vom selben Stern, reached the top of the German album charts, went platinum six times, and was the best-selling pop album of the year. The success is even more impressive when you consider that many major radio stations refused to play the album’s upbeat title track (also its first single) because English-language songs were preferred by advertisers.
But it only takes one listen to the album to understand why it did so well commercially. Whereas its predecessor was a bit dark and a bit too cool for school, Vom selben Stern is full of smooth melodies and pop-friendly choruses.
The pair received mixed critical reviews of their third album, 2009’s Gute Reise. But despite this, the album went to number one on the album charts and went platinum five times. The first track and lead-off single, “Pflaster,” feels somewhat reluctantly upbeat and with a touch of Jan Delay-style soul.
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Photo by Olaf Heine, courtesy of Universal Music Germany. This post contains affiliate links.