Humanities › Languages Translations of 3 of Rammstein's Top Hits A German Band Surrounded by Controversy Share Flipboard Email Print (L to R) Rammstein members Paul H. Landers, Oliver 'Ollie' Riedel, Christoph 'Doom' Schneider, Till Lindemann, Christian 'Flake' Lorenz, and Richard Z. Kruspe. Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images Languages German History & Culture Basics Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Grammar English as a Second Language Spanish French Italian Japanese Mandarin Russian English Grammar View More Table of Contents Expand An Introduction to Rammstein Rammenstein Albums The Controversy That Surrounds Rammstein "Amerika" Lyrics "Spieluhr" (Music Box) Lyrics "Du Hast" (You Have) Lyrics by Hyde Flippo Hyde Flippo taught the German language for 28 years at high school and college levels and published several books on the German language and culture. Updated January 29, 2019 Rammstein is a famous German band whose music is best described as dark, heavy rock. They are somewhat political and often take on social issues in their songs and that has led to controversy. Whatever your take on Rammstein's political views, the band's lyrics are also a lesson in German. If you are studying the language, you might find these lyrics and the English translations to three of their most popular songs helpful. An Introduction to Rammstein Rammstein was formed in 1993 by six men who grew up in East Germany and were all born after the Berlin Wall went up. They took their name from the American Ramstein air base near Frankfurt (adding an extra m). The band's members are Till Lindemann (b. 1964), Richard Z. Kruspe-Bernstein (b. 1967), Paul Lander (b. 1964), Oliver Riedel (b. 1971), Christoph Schneider (b. 1966), and Christian "Flake" Lorenz (b. 1966). Rammstein is a unique German band in that it has managed to become popular in the English-speaking world by singing almost exclusively in German. Most other German artists or groups (think the Scorpions or Alphaville) have sung in English in order to reach the English-language market or they sing in German and remain virtually unknown in the Anglo-American world (think Herbert Grönemeyer). Yet, Rammstein has somehow turned their German lyrics into an advantage. It certainly can become an advantage for learning German. Rammenstein Albums "Herzeleid" (1995)"Sehnsucht" (1997)"Live aus Berlin" (1998, also a DVD)"Mutter" (2001)"Lichtspielhaus" (2003, DVD)"Reise, Reise" (2004) The Controversy That Surrounds Rammstein Rammstein has also stirred up controversy on their road to fame. One of the most famous incidents occurred in 1998. It involved their use of clips from the work of the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in one of their music videos. The song, "Stripped," was a cover of a Depeche Mode song and the films used spurred protests against what some saw as a glorification of Nazism. Even before that well-publicized incident, their lyrics and images had given rise to the criticism that the band has neo-Nazi or far-right tendencies. With German lyrics that are often far from politically correct, their music was even linked to the Columbine, Colorado school shooting in 1999. Some British and American radio stations have refused to play Rammstein songs (even if they don't understand the German lyrics). There is no real evidence that any of Rammstein's six eastern German musicians themselves hold such right-wing beliefs. Yet, some people are either a little naive or in denial when they claim that Rammstein has done nothing to lead people to suspect the band of fascist leanings. The band itself has been a bit coy in their claims of "why would anyone accuse us of such things?" In light of some of their lyrics, they really should not pretend to be so innocent. The band members themselves have admitted they intentionally make their lyrics ambiguous and full of double entendre ("Zweideutigkeit"). However... we refuse to join those who totally reject artists for their supposed or actual political views. There are people who won't listen to Richard Wagner operas because he was antisemitic (which he was). For me, the talent evident in Wagner's music rises above other considerations. Just because we condemn his antisemitism doesn't mean we can't appreciate his music. The same goes for Leni Riefenstahl. Her former Nazi connections are undeniable, but so is her cinematic and photographic talent. If we choose or reject music, cinema, or any art form only for political reasons, then we are missing the point of art. But if you're going to listen to Rammstein's lyrics and their meaning, don't be naive about it. Yes, you can learn German through their lyrics, simply be aware that those lyrics may have offensive overtones of a political, religious, sexual, or social nature that people have a right to object to. Keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable with lyrics about sadistic sex or the use of the f-word - even if it's in German. If Rammstein's lyrics make people think about issues from fascism to misogyny, then that's for the good. If listeners also learn some German in the process, so much the better. "Amerika" Lyrics Album: “Reise, Reise” (2004) "Amerika" is a perfect example of Rammstein's controversial style and it is also one of their best-known songs worldwide. The lyrics include both German and English and it includes countless references about how America reigns over world culture and politics—for good or bad. As you can tell by the last verse (recorded in English, so no translation is needed), this song was not written with the intent of idolizing America. The music video is filled with clips of American influence throughout the world and the overall feel of the song is rather dark. German Lyrics Direct Translation by Hyde Flippo Refrain:*We're all living in America,America is wunderbar.We're all living in America,Amerika, Amerika.We're all living in America,Coca-Cola, Wonderbra,We're all living in America,Amerika, Amerika. Refrain:We're all living in America,America is wonderful.We're all living in America,America, America.We're all living in America,Coca-Cola, Wonderbra,We're all living in America,America, America. Wenn getanzt wird, will ich führen,auch wenn ihr euch alleine dreht,lasst euch ein wenig kontrollieren,Ich zeige euch wie's richtig geht.Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen,die Freiheit spielt auf allen Geigen,Musik kommt aus dem Weißen Haus,Und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus. When I'm dancing, I want to lead,even if you all are spinning alone,let's exercise a little control.I'll show you how it's done right.We form a nice round (circle),freedom is playing on all the fiddles,music is coming out of the White House,and near Paris stands Mickey Mouse. Ich kenne Schritte, die sehr nützen,und werde euch vor Fehltritt schützen,und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss,weiß noch nicht, dass er tanzen muss!Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen,ich werde Euch die Richtung zeigen,nach Afrika kommt Santa Claus,und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus. I know steps that are very useful,and I'll protect you from missteps,and anyone who doesn't want to dance in the end,just doesn't know that he has to dance!We form a nice round (circle),I'll show you the right direction,to Africa goes Santa Claus,and near Paris stands Mickey Mouse. This is not a love song,this is not a love song.I don't sing my mother tongue,No, this is not a love song. * This refrain is used throughout the song, at times it is only the first four lines. In the last refrain, the sixth line is replaced with "Coca-Cola, sometimes WAR,". "Spieluhr" (Music Box) Lyrics Album: "Mutter " (2001) The "Hoppe hoppe Reiter" phrase, repeated often in "Spieluhr" comes from a popular German nursery rhyme. The song tells the dark story about a child who pretends to be dead and is buried with a music box. It is the music box song that alerts people of the child's presence. German Lyrics Direct Translation by Hyde Flippo Ein kleiner Mensch stirbt nur zum Scheinwollte ganz alleine seindas kleine Herz stand still für Stundenso hat man es für tot befundenes wird verscharrt in nassem Sandmit einer Spieluhr in der Hand A small person just pretends to die(it) wanted to be completely alonethe small heart stood still for hoursso they declared it deadit is buried in wet sandwith a music box in its hand Der erste Schnee das Grab bedeckthat ganz sanft das Kind gewecktin einer kalten Winternachtist das kleine Herz erwacht The first snow that covered the gravewoke the child very gentlyin a cold winter nightthe small heart is awakened Als der Frost ins Kind geflogenhat es die Spieluhr aufgezogeneine Melodie im Windund aus der Erde singt das Kind As the frost flew into the childit wound up the music boxa melody in the windand the child sings from the ground Refrain:*Hoppe hoppe Reiterund kein Engel steigt herabmein Herz schlägt nicht mehr weiternur der Regen weint am Grabhoppe hoppe Reitereine Melodie im Windmein Herz schlägt nicht mehr weiterund aus der Erde singt das Kind Refrain:*Bumpety bump, riderand no angel climbs downmy heart does not beat any longeronly the rain cries at the graveBumpety bump, ridera melody in the windmy heart does not beat any longerand the child sings from the ground Der kalte Mond in voller Prachthört die Schreie in der Nachtund kein Engel steigt herabnur der Regen weint am Grab The cold moon, in full magnificencehears the cries in the nightand no angel climbs downonly the rain cries at the grave Zwischen harten Eichendielenwird es mit der Spieluhr spieleneine Melodie im Windund aus der Erde singt das Kind Between hard oak boardsit will play with the music boxa melody in the windand the child sings from the ground Hoppe hoppe Reitermein Herz schlägt nicht mehr weiterAm Totensonntag hörten sieaus Gottes Acker diese Melodieda haben sie es ausgebettetdas kleine Herz im Kind gerettet Bumpety bump, ridermy heart does not beat any longerOn Totensonntag** they heard thismelody from God's field [i.e., a cemetery]then they unearthed itthey saved the small heart in the child * The refrain is repeated after the next two verses and again at the end of the song. * *Totensonntag ("Dead Sunday") is a Sunday in November when German Protestants remember the dead. "Du Hast" (You Have) Lyrics Album: "Senhsucht" (1997) This Rammstein song plays on the similarities of the conjugated forms of the verbs haben (to have) and hassen (to hate). It is a good study for anyone learning the German language. German Lyrics Direct Translation by Hyde Flippo Dudu hast (haßt)*du hast mich(4 x)du hast mich gefragtdu hast mich gefragtdu hast mich gefragt,und ich hab nichts gesagt Youyou have (hate)you have (hate) me*(4 x)you have asked meyou have asked meyou have asked meand I have said nothing Repeats twice:Willst du bis der Tod euch scheidettreu ihr sein für alle TageNein, nein Repeats twice:Do you want, until death do you part,to be faithful to her for all your daysNo, no Willst du bis zum Tod der Scheide,sie lieben auch in schlechten TagenNein, nein Do you want until the death of the vagina,to love her, even in bad timesNo, no * This is a play on two German verbs: du hast (you have) and du haßt (you hate), spelled differently but pronounced the same way. The German lyrics are provided for educational use only. No infringement of copyright is implied or intended. The literal, prose translations of the original German lyrics by Hyde Flippo. Continue Reading Your Kids Will Love These German Nursery Rhymes Can You Sing '99 Red Balloons' in German? Satire Reigns With These Hits From Die Prinzen The Translation of 'Edelweiss' Isn't Exact but Keeps the Song's Tone Using German Music in the German Classroom Why Did the Fab Four Sing in German? It's Time to Sing "Happy Birthday" in German Can You Sing "Mack the Knife" in German? Downloading German Songs from iTunes Find Out Which Films Are The Best For German-Learners There Are Several Ways to Sing 'Happy Birthday' in German What Are the German Lyrics for "Silent Night"? Do You Know How to Sing "Jingle Bells" in German? Learn These Common German Folk Songs History of the German Bible & Well-Known Passages Do You Know the Meaning of the German Carol "Tannenbaum?"