- Counter-Currents Publishing - http://www.counter-currents.com -

Rammstein’s “Amerika”

Posted By Greg Johnson On February 22, 2012 @ 2:54 pm In North American New Right | Comments Disabled

[1]

Rammstein drummer Christoph Schneider plants Old Glory on the next planet over

1,254 words

In 2004, the German “New Hard Rock” band Rammstein released their fourth and greatest album, Reise Reise [2] (Arise, Arise). The second single from Reise, Reise is “Amerika,” which was released on September 13, 2004 and immediately leaped into the top 10 charts across Europe. The video of “Amerika,” directed by Jörn Heitmann, was filmed August 6–7, 2004 at a ruined cement factory near Berlin.

“Amerika” is one of Rammstein’s catchiest and most cutting songs, featuring such immortal rhymes as Wunderbar/Wonderbra. The video is also highly entertaining.

http://youtu.be/hBgAQc-MnGM [3]

Here is a translation of the lyrics (they rhyme in German, of course):

We’re all living in America
America is wonderful
We’re all living in America
America, America

When there’s dancing, I want to lead
even if you’re whirling around alone
Let yourselves be controlled a little
I’ll show you how it really goes
We’re making a nice round dance
Freedom is playing on all violins
Music is coming out of the White House
and Mickey Mouse is standing in front of Paris

We’re all living in America
America is wonderful
We’re all living in America
America, America

I know moves that are very useful
and I will protect you from missteps
And whoever doesn’t want to dance at the end
doesn’t know yet that they must
We’re making a nice round dance
I will show you the way
Santa Claus is coming to Africa
and Mickey Mouse is standing in front of Paris

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

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

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, sometimes war
We’re all living in America
America, America

(You can read the original German lyrics here [4].)

The theme of “Amerika” is American cultural and political imperialism. We’re all living in America, because America has gone global. The immediate occasion for the song was the beginning of the second Iraq war in 2003, which sparked widespread protests in Europe from both left and right. But American imperialism is a much older and bigger problem.

Although bemoaning American cultural imperialism is a cliché of the Left, it is also a staple of the European New Right. I have argued elsewhere [5] that Rammstein is a German nationalist band, although they are not racial nationalists. Thus their critique of America is from the right, and it overlaps significantly with the critique of the European New Right without necessarily drawing from it.

In the “Amerika” video, the members of Rammstein are dressed as American astronauts playing the song on the moon. The moon landing was America’s finest hour, the pinnacle of its international prestige. Although the Russkis had a head start, America framed victory in the Space Race as landing on the moon, and beat them there. The images of thousands of clean-cut white men working together, heroically engaged in dazzling and risky technological feats, sent a message of national, and racial, superiority. (It was German engineering, of course, that got us there.)

The members of Rammstein are also shown on the moon acting like typical American tourists: snapping photos, as well as playing pinball in a loud, animated, argumentative fashion. (I didn’t know that is typically American.) Naturally, it is a Star Trek pinball machine. Another amusing touch is the wind machine that stirs vocalist Till Lindemann’s hair.

The moon scenes are intercut with non-whites around the world both performing distinct national customs (dances, prayers, songs) and consuming products of American culture (hamburgers, pizza, cigarettes). We see Africans, Australian Aborigines, and Southeast Asians dancing. We see a Muslim take off his Nike tennis shoes and say his prayers beside oil wells. We see Buddhist novices eating hamburgers, Africans eating pizza and sitting on Santa’s lap, a Japanese on a motorcycle with a big, greasy ’50s-style pompadour, Eskimos watching television, etc. As the song comes to an end, we realize that all this apparently archival footage is of recent vintage, because everyone is lip-syncing to the chorus “We’re all living in America.”

One verse of “Amerika” is sung in English:

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

In case one hasn’t gotten it yet, this is not a love song to America. The line about “not singing my mother tongue” of course refers to the fact that many European music groups sing in English, not their native tongues. Singing primarily in German, however, is one of the defining traits of the New German Hard Rock movement that Rammstein pioneered.

These words are accompanied by one of the oddest scenes of the video, in which the Members of Rammstein dress as American Indians and glare angrily into the camera. The message is clear: Germans today are like the Redskins of the past and also non-whites around the world insofar as they are equally threatened by American cultural and political imperialism.

A similar point is made by Laibach in their song “National Reservation” on NATO [6], their concept album on Western imperialism. “National Reservation” is a droll remake of “Indian Reservation,” which became a US number one single for Paul Revere and the Raiders in 1971. “National Reservation” substitutes “Eastern” (i.e., Eastern European) for “Cherokee” and leaves the rest of the song pretty much unaltered, including the lines “Though we wear shirts and ties, / we’re still the red men [i.e., Communists] deep inside.”

From a New Right perspective, genuine nationalism does not mean mere self-assertion of one’s own way of life. It also implies respecting the rights of others to their specific ways of life. Thus it is perfectly consistent for nationalist whites, whose culture and sovereignty are being menaced by American imperialism, to sympathize with non-whites who are facing the same challenges.

That kind of respect is impossible for Americans, however, because they think that their way of life is universal and that all other people yearn to be like them. America claims to be a universal nation, bringing the universal values of freedom, creature comforts, and pop culture to all people. But that is just an ethnocentric illusion that masks American political and cultural imperialism. Americans — and whites in general — need to recognize that our universalism is not universal. It is an ethnic peculiarity that we project on the rest of humanity, to the detriment of all.

As the song ends, lead guitarist Richard Kruspe — looking quite handsome, clean-cut, and “American” — winks and points at the viewer. Then the camera pulls back to reveal the studio behind the fake backdrop, and Kruspe, looking rather pleased with himself, receives the ministrations of a makeup woman. As the camera continues backward on its tracks, we see the band members posing and snapping photos with an African dancer, a prop man carrying a giant paper-mache rock, and crewmen scurrying around the set, all showing us just how contrived and illusory “Amerika” — and America — really is.

The last shot is the surface of the moon. A photo of Rammstein lies in the dust. Over it, we hear a staticy voice like the original transmissions from the moon: “We’ve got a problem here.” Yes, Houston, we certainly do.

 


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/02/rammsteins-amerika/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/rammstein_amerika_kc5yw.jpeg

[2] Reise Reise: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002XDODU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0002XDODU

[3] http://youtu.be/hBgAQc-MnGM: http://youtu.be/hBgAQc-MnGM

[4] here: http://herzeleid.com/en/lyrics/reise_reise/amerika

[5] elsewhere: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/12/rammstein/

[6] NATO: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000024F5X?ie=UTF8&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000024F5X

Copyright © 2011 Counter-Currents Publishing. All rights reserved.