22 Comments

  1. Okay, a quick check with Google Translate verifies that it also means “icebreaker”. I figure that’s in the sense of a tough little ship with strong engines and very strong specially-shaped prow — not “humor or games to get a meeting started on a friendly footing”.

    And Antikörper, as one might guess, is “antibody”. The music, I’m afraid, seems more to be portraying the antigen.

  2. The first time I started the music, it was so loud and raucous that I turned it off before I discovered that the lyrics were in German (I never noticed the title). I do think the song describe the antibody, not the antigen: “I am your antibody, I am your legionary; I set myself to defend for you.

  3. Thanks for that glimpse into the lyrics. I listened to it again with that in mind, and it was kinda nice to see the storyline positioned that way. Like in YA nerd boy tales where the neighbor hulk turns out to be friendly enough, and can buddy up to protect you from the truly nasty bullies waiting behind the school.

  4. @ MiB – I wish I could remember who it was that wrote: “Composing an opera in German is like staging a ballet using the Chicago Bears as dancers.

  5. While it was nice to find a German band singing German lyrics(!) distinguished by being placed on your site, the actual song reminded me of the unholy brainchild between Ramstein and Kraftwerk. Or rather not Kraftwerk, but some abrasive techno-pop. Uncomfortable to hear and listen to.

    @Kilby: About the lyrics, as far as I can make out it’s not about an antibody of antigen at all, but rather a Parasite, taking over your body and reveling in it (“Ich fühl mich wohl so wohl in deiner Haut” something like “I’m feeling fine inside your skin”). It’s basically a horror-song and you are the victim. But some lines just make no sense, like the one about it being a legnionnaire and fighting to the host.

  6. About German opera: Well, while German can sound a bit hard compared to other languages, you might not want to take the band above as an example, they speak (no, this is not really singing) very harsh on purpose to produce a certain general mood. Also, there are German Operas, for example by Wagner.

  7. Markus, Mark Twain reacted to Wagner rather as you do to German technopop: “It took me some time to get myself educated up to the point where I could enjoy Wagner. I am satisfied if I get it in the proper doses but I do feel about it a good deal as Bill Nye said. He said he had heard that Wagner’s music was better than it sounds.” FWIW, my reactions to both parallel yours and Twain’s. But then I’m roughly the same age Twain was when he said that. I can’t say how my years compare with yours.

  8. @LeVieuxLapin : In hindsite, mentioning Wagner might not have been the best line of defense for German as an Opera language. It might be trope codifier for the quote about said German opera above 🙂

    Anyway, I do like techno pop, I just found this particular song very abrasive. I tried to argue that this song sounds aggressive to a German native speaker, but my thoughts might have wandered a bit while typing.

  9. Am I misreading how your quotation marks pair up, or do we think Mark Twain was citing a different Bill Nye than the modern one?

    Before the shutdown shut it down, I was scheduled to go to my first performances of The Ring. My brother and his gf, who have done two or three of these previously, were going to fly in to Chicago for a week, and provide tutorials as needed :-). Ah well, some other year ..,

  10. BTW was it a word that literally means and looks/sounds like “Legionnaire”? If so, then it might be referring to the disease as well.

  11. @Mitch4: think Beau Geste. The song is about the fight between the parasite and the antibody, the latter vowing to destroy and drown every enemy in your blood, remaining faithful to the end and expecting nothing in return, like a légionnaire. “No deserter, ever!”

  12. Mitch4, if you need explanations of The Ring, might I suggest Anna Russell’s The Ring of the Nibelung (An Analysis)? I think there might be versions on YouTube.

  13. .. As it happens, shortly after the cancellations, the Met started their free daily streaming, and I watched Rheingold and Walkure. And text chatted with my brother who was saying “Oh no, it’s one of The Machine productions!”.

  14. As far as German opera goes, for sheer nastiness of vocal sounds nothing beats Brecht & Weill. I know we have quite a number of Brecht & Weill fans here. Here is Wolfgang Neuss singing the song we call in English “Mack the Knife”. Mackie, welches war dein Preis?

  15. @Mark in Boston, Concerning “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer”: Again, the harshness in this song, the rolling (or rather rattling) “R”s and disharmonic music is deliberate, fitting for a song about a thug and murderer named Mackie Messer (“Mack the Knife”). As a native speaker this is quite clearly not how you normally talk or sing, an effect that Ramstein uses and, to get back on topic, apparently Eisbrecher.

    But, of course, this might be my upbringing talking. So, just to get a different perspective, I would like to know if any non-native-German speakers knows a not harsh German song, not necessarily from an opera? What about Nenas “99 Luftballons” (“99 red balloons”) for example?

    P.S.: I must apologize for my penultimate post, it’s full of jumbled sentences, sometimes obscuring the meaning. Should have proof read it again.

  16. I really like “99 Luftballons,” even though I can’t understand a lot of it.

    Some songs, like Pat Buchanan speeches, sound better in the original German.

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