There are certain constants in life that come to form the invisible pillars of the world. I had one of mine knocked down the other day. Not an important one, but one you take so for granted that everything seems trembling and scary afterwards. It is this: German pop music is crap. German pop music has always been crap. (The exception that proves the rule, by the way, is Trio — I can’t conceive of Nina Hagen as a pop star. And Nena were crap.) Germany is the source of very many wonderful things in life, but pop music? Not one of them.
And then, this week, I dropped in on Ectomo to find them talking about a new song by Peter Fox, vocalist with the awful faux-reggae band Seeed. I mean, these people are so bland you can listen to an entire album and simply not notice. Seeed never quite grasped the difference between "chilled" and "actually fucking dead." So I didn’t have great hopes for Fox — who looks like some laboratory cross between Ben Templesmith and a young Ron Perlman — as a solo artist, but decided to make with the clicky anyway.
I’ve found myself listening to it every bloody day this week.
You’ll note that Peter Fox moves like a German pop star. Can’t dance, vestigial sense of rhythm, gurns at the camera (his other videos as a solo artist attempt to invoke the one thing Germans shouldn’t be allowed to essay beyond their own borders — comedy). The monkey masks are, shall we say… questionable.
But something about the combination of the circling strings, that threaten at any moment to burst out into the refrain of "The Big Country" (or its detournment for "The Only Rhyme That Bites"), and the clattering precision of the Cold Steel Drumline (stick out the video past 3.30 to see them fucking around)…
God help me, I know it’s German pop, but I can’t help listening to it.