Learning a foreign language is a challenging and lifelong process. It requires a lot of energy and dedication. To truly master a language, it is not nearly enough to just go to lectures and learn all the grammar and set vocab lists. You need to immerse yourself in it, to experience it not only as a learning material but as something that is a part of your everyday life (which is what a language is – it’s not something you memorize, it’s something you live). With some languages it is easier than with others – for example, surrounding yourself with English is not difficult at all, as English already is everywhere (think of most of the songs you hear on the radio, most of the films and TV shows you watch etc.). But what if you want to learn another language? Well, that’s what I’m here for!
In this post I decided to share with you my 10 favourite German songs that I, a student of the German language, listen to all the time. Listening to music is something you can do on the go and if the songs you listen to are in your target language, you’re having fun & you’re learning at the same time. I understand how hard it can be to find some good songs in your target language that you enjoy listening to. Hopefully this list will give you some inspiration and motivation to improve your German. (And even if you don’t learn German, you can still listen to these. They are great songs, no matter the language.)
1) Nena – 99 Luftballons
I love this song. It’s very well-known – so much so that it even has an English version (which does not do this one justice in the slightest). It’s my go-to song when I need to get in my ‘German-zone’ – I listen to it before exams, before class or when I just feel like practicing my German. Everyone I played this song to instantly loved it – even though some of them don’t even know/like German. I’m telling you, if there is one German song you should listen to, it’s this one!
2) Debby van Dooren – Ich bin bereit (Moana/Vaiana)
I’ll be honest with you – I’ve still not seen Moana. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this song, right? I started listening to this when my friend Denisa spammed me with like 5 versions of this songs, each in different language: and of course I would fall in love with the German one. It’s beautiful, meaningful and since it’s also Disney, the language is quite clear and easy to understand – aka the perfect song.
3) Der Nino aus Wien – Praterlied
Speaking of clear German… this one doesn’t have it. I have been listening to this song for more than a year now and I still only understand the bare minimum. However, the song is great and especially useful when you want to hear some Austrian German in action.
4) Geier Stutzflug – Bruttosozialprodukt
This song makes me feel all kinds of things, mostly happiness. The melody is so cheerful and very much not what most of my friends listen to – meaning I get very weird looks whenever I decide to play this song out loud. But you know what? I don’t even care, just let me jump around to this!
5) Howard Carpendale – Ti Amo
I actually listen to this song in two different languages: the original Italian version by Umberto Tozzi, and the German version by Howard Carpendale. I love them both equally and I would wholeheartedly recommend you listen to both of them.
6) Heisskalt – Dezemberluft
This song was recommended to me by one of my friends from Germany. It’s not something I would usually listen to but I actually quite enjoy it. It’s on the more melancholic side of things and I would even go as far as to call it poetic. Why don’t you give it a listen?
7) Udo & Jenny Jürgens – Liebe ohne Leiden
Yes, I realize that most of the songs I listen to are from the 80s – but honestly, it’s always been that way. This song was recommended to me by Spotify and instantly ended up in my German playlist!
8) Wiener Blond – Der Letzte Kaiser
Another song from Austria that I listen to quite often. Again, this one is very popular amongst my friends because it’s such a beautiful song! It’s about Vienna and it’s quite recent (see, not all the songs I listen to are old). Unlike Praterlied, this one is actually not that difficult to understand even though they do sing in an accent.
9) Phil Collins – Ich bin unterwegs
Did you know that Brother Bear (or should I say BärenBrüder?) is my favourite Disney film of all time? Well, now you do. This song is my favourite from the film and I listen to it both in English and in Czech. And since I found the German version, I also listened to that!
Fun fact: The German versions is actually sang by Phil Collins who sings the English version. He also recorded the French, Spanish and Italian versions.
10) Falco – Der Kommissar
You didn’t think you could make it through this list without a Falco song, did you? I absolutely love this guy! His songs are fun and creative, his videos make me laugh and he is one of the reasons I love German so much (even though he does throw around some English from time to time). I wasn’t sure which one of his songs I should put on this list (other candidates were Jeanny and Rock me Amadeus) but I decided to go with this one as it’s currently my favourite.
Also, it was in Friends in one of the most hilarious scenes (featuring fat Monica).
These are my top 10 favourite songs in German. I hope this gave you some inspiration. Feel free to share with me some of your favourites and let me know if you enjoyed this post. I also have a pretty impressive collection of Italian songs I listen to, so if you are interested, I could also write that. Last but not least, here’s a bonus song to make you laugh (requires 0 German language knowledge):