Picking a name for a band can be a difficult task. It can imply certain things, such as the sound or style of the group’s music. So much like the band names Jethro Tull refers to an entire rock group and not merely an individual, German rockers Jennifer Rostock are a quartet and not a solo act. Although it is not really a coincidence that the band’s frontwoman is also named Jennifer.
Since the late 2000s, the Berlin-based rock group has been extremely prolific. They have released five full-length albums, a couple of live albums, and a compilation album of their unique brand of hard rock with nods to pop, punk, and metal.
So this month, it is time to get to know the rock group Jennifer Rostock and learn German with music!
Get to Know Jennifer Rostock
Jennifer Rostock was formed in 2007 by childhood friends Jennifer Weist and Joe Walter who grew up on the Baltic Island of Usedom.
Years later in their early teens, the pair reconnected. Walter saw Weist perform at a karaoke show and invited her to join his school band, No Fame. The band and their music changed over the course of a few iterations. They played music in English, then music in German, and juggled various band names and line-ups.
After graduating from the Gymnasium, the pair moved to Berlin. It is in the German capital that they met bandmates Alex Voigt, Christoph Deckert, and Christopher “Baku” Kohl.
The group’s name, however, was bestowed upon them by accident. While at a Berlin recording studio, the studio’s staff would repeatedly refer to them as Jennifer Rostock. The group figured it was a blend of Weist’s name and a vague reference to their North Sea roots.
Today, their original line-up remains in place. Weist on vocals, Walter on keyboards, Voigt on guitar, Deckert on bass, and Kohl on drums.
The Music of Jennifer Rostock
Their 2008 debut album, Ins offene Messer, shows that the young band is strong, confident, and planning to stick around. The album careens wildly at times, trying to show off what they can do. Sometimes trying to show off everything that they can do. The band seems less interested in appealing to every listener than in pleasing themselves. But the single “Himalaya” seems to bridge the gap as poppy and likable while remaining quite edgy.
Their second album, 2009’s Der Film, comes across initially like a concept album: a futuristic film score. But as the band settles in, the album veers into pop rock. The album has some guitar-centric parts while Weist squeals with commanding punk rock vocals. The single “Du willst mir an die Wäsche” is as bubblegum as Jennifer Rostock is willing to get. The result is a mid-tempo bouncy track with a melodic chorus.
By their third album, 2011’s Mit Haut und Haar, Jennifer Rostock are old hands at this music thing. The album shows that, philosophically, little has changed for the group. They have fine-tuned certain aspects of their music, but they are still unafraid of taking some chances. This album sees Weist, in particular, as willing to take risks. She pushes her vocals farther, dipping her toe into a spoken rap-like delivery, such as on “Meine bessere Hälfte.”
With the band’s fourth album, Schlaflos from 2014, it almost feels like Jennifer Rostock has finally shown up. If there ever were any inhibitions, they are fully gone. Driving guitar riffs and moments of aggressive screamo vocals (and yet more brazen rap) set the tone for the first half of Schlaflos. The second half of the album, meanwhile, is more thoughtful and full of ballads. The album’s title track is a somber moment that slowly gains momentum and builds rich dynamics.
Roughly a decade after first forming, the band released their fifth full-length album, Genau in diesem Ton. Brash and bold, Jennifer Rostock have always been unapologetic and never been willing to limit themselves. This album is no different. At full speed and full volume, the band takes a punk rock approach with strong messages about sexism and politics. There are risks like the rhythmic and genre-bending “Hengstin,” an in-your-face love-it-or-hate-it track that is Jennifer Rostock’s answer to a feminist anthem. But they are still accessible with upbeat rock pop tracks like “Uns gehört die Nacht” and the more melodic “Wir waren hier.”
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
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