German Music: More Than Just Nena

In today’s world, it’s pretty much a given that the charts are going to be dominated by songs in English. Sometimes the occasional Spanish or French song will pop up but for the most part English is what’s in. For that reason, music in other languages, especially German, has been overlooked. No one really thinks about German music because let’s be real, German isn’t the prettiest of languages. I mean Nena is cool and don’t get me wrong I love 99 Luftballons, but how much depth German music really have?

This was all before I enrolled in a German intensive immersion program last summer and I was only allowed to listen to German music for 7 weeks. At the end of those 7 weeks I was very, very pleasantly surprised at what I found. German music is a lot more complex than 99 Luftballons and electronic club music. In fact, in recent years the German music industry has boomed and many young artists and band have started singing and recording in German versus English. The result is  a deep genre of music featuring rock, pop, and rap to name a few.


Here are some of my favorite German artists and groups that I would highly recommend:



TELE– Founded in Freiburg, this indie-rock band released their debut album Tausend und ein Verdacht in 2000 and since then they have produced three other albums, including my favorite Jedes Tier. Their chill, rock vibe features songs about love and everyday life and greatly draws influence from 80’s rock.

Recommended songs include:

Wir Sind Helden– Another great pop-rock group is Wir Sind Helden. The group, fronted by lead singer Judith Holofernes who also has a solo career, was founded in 2000 and their music’s serious themes often greatly contrast with their upbeat melodies and sound. Wir Sind Helden is also known for their collaboration with other artists, such as Tele.

Recommended songs include:

CRO– One of the German artists that has managed to cross international boundaries, CRO is one of my favorite German singer/rappers. Carlo Waibel, under the stage name CRO and behind his trademark panda mask presents smart, sophisticated lyrics with strong melodies that are catchy and fun to listen to. He has been called the “Future of German rap” and even coined his own genre of hip-hop and rap known as Raop.

Recommended songs include: