alt="Die Ärzte - Devil (1984, CBS Schallplatten) COVER"

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Die Ärzte – Debil

Album | 1984 | CBS Schallplatten
37:49 | 13 tracks | Vinyl/CD/Cassette
Punk Rock / Fun Punk
West Berlin, Germany

Pool Intendents and German Shepherds

The 1980s in West Berlin were rough, grey and wild. Good thing, three young men from the enclave metropolis spread some colour and joy. Out of the ruins of Punk Rock band Soilent Grün, Die Ärzte (German: The Doctors) were born. In the meantime, they have become one of the most successful German bands, and they have left the spheres of Punk Rock. Nevertheless, their origins cannot be denied, especially when looking at their first studio album Debil. The album got indexed three years later because of its provoking lyrics. For example. Die Ärzte sang about a woman having intercourse with German Shepherd in the song Claudia hat ’nen Schäferhund, or created a horror scenario in the wrapping of a lullaby in Schlaflied. In the meantime, the ban has reversed, enough people have understood the humour behind the lyrics, and the longplayer was re-released as Devil in 2005.

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Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Wall

Music-wise, one can categorise Debil somewhere between Punk Rock, Garage Rock, or Fun Punk. Die Ärzte hardly followed the lead of the melancholic and depressive waves of Post Punk or Coldwave that erupted in the later days of the Cold War era. Nor did they turn completely savage or violent, and thus, traces of Hardcore are hard to find on Die Ärzte albums. Instead, they played joyful Surf Punk rhythms, and of course they reproduced themes from late-70s UK Punk. The lyrics were provoking but they also dealt with everyday life of young people in Berlin and everywhere else. Being in love, being desperate for love, break-ups, sex, lovesickness, and getting over one’s ex play a major role on Debil next to some cowboy tales and the beautiful ballad of pool intendent Paul.

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Serious but humorous

Die Ärzte have always danced back and forth between Fun Punk and political Punk Rock (well, in later days, the dance has been translocated to the realms of enteraining Pop Rock and Pop Rock with political messages). Their studio debut was not their most political album as it mostly deals with everyday life and its absurdity. Nevertheless, Debil is not completely silly or ridiculous. Die Ärzte address topics like femicides or toxic masculinity even though their satirical approach has snubbed many activists ever since. And just like that, Die Ärzte have won at Punk Rock.
8/10 Mangoes

Next week in this series:

Sum 41Chuck (11/04/2004 | Island Records)

We will dance again

Mia Schem

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