Berlin. You may have to open a beer to try. To see how Ballermann works, you can listen to the playlists. So you’ll probably come across “Layla”: The song, number one on the German charts, has generated a lot of controversy this week. He should not run at the folk festival in Würzburg and at the Dusseldorf fair. And the reason is the text: “I have a brothel – and my mother’s name is Layla. She is the most beautiful, the youngest and the horniest.”
If you listen to the playlists, you’ll find songs that even politicians danced to (“Make the hub pivot; screw, screw, screw up; do the 117 helicopter…”). Mickey Krause sees the sunrise over Mali in ‘A Week Awake’. And maybe you can sing along to “The Train Without Brakes”: “Döö-döö-döö-dööp”.
There are songs with titles like “Saufi saufi” (“I’m partying too hard, I’m a drunk”). Alcohol is a recurring motif anyway: for example in “Dicht im Flieger” (“And I’m soon sitting in a plane again. It doesn’t matter, because my head turns to La – Lalalala…”). Concert hits are a controversial phenomenon.
Why did DJ Robin and Schurz’s song “Layla” take first place on the German charts? Musicologist Marina Forel has conducted research in the world of pop music at the University of Leipzig and is the editor of Suspicious Popularity in Music: Why We Like What We Are Ashamed of.
“Leila” is a modern party song. Attractively produced. “When I first wore it, I was like, ‘Oh, this could be something,'” says Forel. “The positive impression disappeared when he started singing. However, the song is catchy. Maybe that’s the recipe for success. After the pandemic years, people might want Only in a party song. The script was discussed for days. The city of Würzburg banned the playing of “Layla” at the Kilian Folk Festival. At the Dusseldorf fair, shooters, as organizers, banned the song in their marquee. Tent operators and other ride operators were advised not to play.
“I find the song very sexist,” Forel says. The woman who sang around recedes into 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. If you’re listening to party songs, you’ll also find songs like “Beate, die Harte” or “Anna-Lena” (“Geiler Ass, geiler Blick, geiles Stück”). Are there more sexist lines of text? “Yes, the impression is correct,” says Forel. Many songs revolved around drinking and going on vacation. But there are also texts like “Big Tits, Potato Salad” that fall within the bounds of good taste and gender discrimination.
Musicologist Forel is surprised that some argue with Leyla about artistic freedom. “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 and will not be banned. Everyone can listen to it privately and on Mallorca. The song no longer plays in some contexts.
As for the argument that there are worse lines in rap, Forel says: The difference is how the music is used. Rap music with extreme lyrics doesn’t get as much airtime. 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 feel uncomfortable in a hot drunken atmosphere and with such a song that men sing. I found that the decisions in Würzburg and Dusseldorf were correct.
Why are songs like this so popular? She explained that these party songs are only heard by a few at home, and the 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 that’s where a lot of people leave.” On vacation, people go to the top and good taste is left at home.
In the world of pop, Forell also noticed another development: she engaged with pop songs, 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 hit this year shows Ballerman doesn’t always have to be controversial – a remix of Flippers’ song “We Say Thank You.” She innocently says: “Love is when you kiss tenderly” Julia Kilian
By Friday evening, about 39,000 people had signed an online petition under the hashtag #freelayla. This was started by the record company “Summerfield Records”, which released the song. The director is Matthias Distel, better known as ballerman singer Eki Hepgold.