Because of the supposedly controversial lyrics of Ballermann’s song “Layla” by DJ Robin and Schurz, the song was banned from playing at folk festivals in Würzburg and Düsseldorf, sparking a lively debate online. Musicologist Marina Forel found the song “too sexist,” but understands why it’s dominating the charts.
“Leila” is a modern party song. Attractively produced. “When I first played it, I thought, ‘Oh, this could be something,’” says musicologist Marina Forell, who has researched the world of hit songs at the University of Leipzig. “The positive impression disappeared when he started singing. However, Forell, He said, catchy tone. Maybe that’s the recipe for success. Maybe people want a festive song after the epidemic years. Forell is a clear stance on the content.
“I find the song very sexist,” Forel says. The woman who sang around was extremely sluggish in her body. In addition, prostitution is little celebrated as a way of life, although it is known to have a downside. Prostitution is often associated with human trafficking and coercion, and often does not have any self-empowerment about it.
Layla is not alone
If you listen to these party songs, you’ll also find songs like “Beate, die Harte” or “Anna-Lena” (“Geiler Ass, geiler Blick, geiles Stück”). Are there often sexist lines of text? “Yes, the impression is correct,” says musicologist Forel. Many songs revolved around drinking and going on vacation. But of course there are songs like “Big Tits, Potato Salad”, which are really on the borderline of good taste and of course sexist.
“Big Tits, Potato Salad” is a song written by Ikke Hipgold whose real name is Mathias Distel. He also launched his music company “Layla”. He is now promoting the #freelayla petition online with other artists. The accompanying text reads: “Against censorship! For life after Corona! For artistic freedom!” Several thousand people have signed up online so far.
Pop and shack doesn’t hit the current Ö3 show
In Ö3, “Layla” is played only as part of the “Ö3 Autria Top 40” show – where it is currently taking the lead – but not in the regular programme. “The following applies to ‘Layla’: German hit songs and cottage songs are not affiliated with Ö3 group. We have played this title so far as part of the weekly ‘Ö3 Austria Top 40’ show, but not on the current Ö3 programme. We will be there and we will stay, on least as long as the song is #1 on the charts,” says Ö3 announcer George Spatt to ‘Courier’.
Party songs offer an escape from reality
If you ask Forell why people like these songs at all, it reminds them of their context. These songs are only heard by a few at home, and their primary use is after skiing, at carnival, in Mallorca. For some, the vacation at Ballermann is intentionally reserved. A kind of experiment space was created there. “And a lot of people left that.” On vacation, people go to the sea, and the rules of everyday life are no longer important. Then the good taste is left at home too.
Artistic freedom justified?
Musicologist Forle is surprised that artistic freedom is sometimes used as an argument. “In my opinion, trying to treat 50 percent of humanity with respect and not as a piece of meat does not cancel out the culture,” she says. The song is not generally prohibited and will not be banned. Everyone can listen to it privately and on Mallorca. The song no longer plays in some contexts.
rap vs schlager
Furrell has already thought of the argument that there are sometimes worse lines in rap. One difference is how the music is used. Rap music with super soft lyrics doesn’t get much air. There is a difference between listening to music with friends and a small group. Or if you use it to express the opinions of thousands of people at a folk festival. Where there are also women who might feel uncomfortable in a hot, drunken atmosphere and with such a song that men roar upon. I found that the decisions in Würzburg and Dusseldorf were correct.
In Schlager’s world, Forell also noticed a different development. She handled pop hits, with Andrea Berg, Helen Fisher, Vanessa May, Beatrice Egli. There are also truly feminist songs, such as “The First of Your Kind” by Helen Fisher or “Anders is Good” by Michelle.
One surprise out there this year is that Ballermann doesn’t always have to be controversial – a remix of “We Say Thank You” by Flippers. Relatively harmless, he says, “Love is when you kiss tenderly.”