Back in 2008, I was doing public relations and a bit of press releases for a theatre play in Stralsund, called „Allein Tanzen“ (Dancing alone) by Gerd Franz Triebenecker. It was philosophical comedy and starred Dirk Moeller, Jürgen A. Verch and Ulla Braunisch. In hindsight, I believe it is one of my favourite pieces from Franz, who I’ve been working and friends with since 2002.
Baby, du hast mir den Kopf verdreht
It was my last year of studying and I had – lo and behold – about all the time in the world, and so I attended most of the rehearsals and probably saw the piece fifty times in total. While shooting photos and writing texts for marketing the play, I came up with the idea of writing and recording something I normally deeply despise – a Schlager, the worst possible form of German folk music. Even though I wasn’t anywhere near as musical and actively playing and writing as now, I couldn’t let this idea slip. So Die Liebe im Visier was born.
The ugly kid
Bearing any deeper sense, and with its plastic and overly simplified structure and sound, Schlager in Germany is commonly laughed at by anyone with a faint sense of musicality. It’s like Bild-Zeitung – everyone knows it’s trash, but still people turn to it and consume it.
Getting to grips with Volksmusik
So, how do you approach a Schlager? I tried to memorise what I heard from my grandma when I was a child – back then, she was listening to Heino and Roy Black as if there was no tomorrow, and no other way of behaving as an elderly woman. I believe I derived most of my inspiration from those two, and listened to a lot of songs in preparation, before I collected what I thought would deem fit for a close-to-nature Schlager. Ultra-cheesy lyrics, never a bit inconclusive or double-layered with meaning, straight to the point. Vocals that make you dream of better times, a better world, or just your weird rich uncle with his gold teeth and overpowering perfume. A beat you could water your plants with. Simple, bell-heavy synth sounds, made in heaven. Orchestral hits to finally deliver the
punch message in the chorus.
I actually tried to hit as many cliches as possible, while still keeping a sense for originality – it shouldn’t be all slapstick. And it worked pretty well, so I thought, well, let’s give people in these times something to chew on.
You can now hear the song and two extra versions on all streaming platforms, or buy it on Bandcamp and the usual places. I threw in one rather elevator-musical chillout piano version (it was the intro of the play) and an attempt at a Trance version, which got actually never into the play itself.