This topic is part of the weekly 10.000 songs, 10.000 opinions. In this, every week another song from the Acclaimed Music song top 10.000 is selected for discussion. The song is chosen completely at random, through random.org, making the selections hopefully very varied. The only other rule in this is that after an artist has had a turn, he can’t appear for another ten weeks. The idea for this topic came to me because I wanted to think of a way to engage more actively with the very large top 10.000 songs that Henrik has compiled for us, while still keeping it accessible and free of any game elements. Yes, that’s right, no game elements. You are free to rate the song each week, but I’ll do nothing with this rating. I want it to be about people’s personal reviews and hopefully discussions. So in reverse to other topics on this site I say: “Please comment on this song, rating is optional”.
Earlier entries of this series can be found here: archive.
“Auf einem Platz in meinem Herz/ Steht dein Name an der Wand”
111. Tomte – Ich sang die ganze Zeit von dir
Album: Buchstaben über der Stadt.
Acclaimed Music ranking: #8229.
Song ranking on Acclaimed Music in the artist’s discography: 1st, the only one.
Ranks higher than Flux by Bloc Party, but lower than Be Not So Fearful by Bill Fay.
Place in the Acclaimed Music Song Poll 2015: Unranked.
Written by Thees Uhlmann, Dennis Becker, Timo Bodenstein, Oliver Koch and Max Martin Schroeder.
Produced by Swen Meyer & Tomte.
Vocals by Thees Uhlmann.
Guitar by Thees Uhlmann, Max Martin Schroeder & Dennis Becker.
Drums by Timo Bodenstein.
Bass by Oliver Koch.
Keyboard by Max Martin Schroeder.
Once upon a time in Germany, not so long ago, there was the Hamburger Schule. This was a musical movement of independent rock. There are many mysteries surrounding it. Some say it still exists, while others say it never existed at all. Sure, the bands were real. There was Tocotronic and Blumfeld and Die Sterne and many others. But they denied to be part of a movement. Some of them weren’t even from Hamburg at all.
But what do we talk about when we talk about the Hamburger Schule? Well, there’s the problem: it is very ill-defined. It all started during the late eighties when a couple of bands started to make music in unpopular genres, something which reached its high point in the mid-nineties. What genres? Punk, grunge, experimental music, even electronica. The movement was much promoted by the German music press who wanted to capture the astonishing range of creativity going on here, outside the marge of what was popular. Seattle brought grunge to the world at the same time, so why shouldn’t Germany have something as big as that? Many acts came from Hamburg, so there, let’s name it after that. There are a couple of things the groups have in common. They sing in German (mostly), which isn’t always the case in Germany. They are politically minded (mostly). But that’s it. There was no uniform sound.
This left a lot of people bewildered. The bands that were lumped together in this group treated it mostly with annoyance. Why would a punk band be said to be from the same ilk as an electronic act? The critics hyped the Schule, but nobody seemed to be too happy about it. So basically immediately when the “movement” peaked around 1995, it came crashing down. Why? Because by then even soft rock and radio pop was included. The Schule had lost its purpose, if it ever had one. It also never caught on with media abroad, which the critics seemed to hope for.
An end to something that never really started? Not quite, because a couple of years later, some new bands started to claim they were influenced by the Hamburger Schule. Again, this led to much confusion, because of course the bands didn’t seem to have much in common. One of those bands was Tomte. They didn’t sound like grunge, punk, or electronica. They sounded like… Britpop?
Tomte would slowly, but surely become one of the most popular acts of the so-called resurrection of the so-called movement. At first they were only a critical darling, but their 2006 album Büchstaben über den Stadt (translation: Letters over the City) also brought them mainstream acceptance. The most famous song from that album, and really its only hit, is this week’s entry: Ich sang die ganze Zeit von dir (translation: I Sang the Whole Time About You).
The Britpop band Tomte most resemble is Oasis and this song might be their Wonderwall (I don’t have clue whether they like the comparison, but I really don’t care). It is a love song, whose words are like a grand statement. This love can push away the darkness. There are a couple references to death in the lyrics, but it is clear that the feelings the singer has for the woman of his dreams will keep him going. Heck, even when he would die, he would do so while holding a heavy shield with her name engraved on it. Her name is also engraved in a hole in his heart and he wishes she could see it.
German reviews praise the lyrics as some of the most romantic ever written. And yes, they are pretty good in their bigger-than-big declaration of love. The lyrics are also the best thing to be found here. Ich sang die ganze Zeit von dir hasn’t made much of an impression outside of Germany (which admittedly, few German language songs did) and it is hard to think that someone would love this song without commanding the language. I speak German reasonable well and can understand these words, but still I feel something is missing here, musically speaking. If the Hamburger Schule was supposed to be musically adventurous, it isn’t clear with Tomte. It sounds somewhat catchy, but no one can deny the lyrics have to do all the work.
Tomte went on a hiatus in 2010. They haven’t disbanded officially, but they haven’t been heard of since a one-off concert in 2012. All members have other projects now. The end of the Hamburger Schule? Or does something as loose as this never end?
Not much to say here. There is only a non-vocal version for those of you who include German language songs in your karaoke.
To celebrate the existence (?) of the Hamburger Schule I included some tracks here by its most prominent acts.
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