thinking of ingrid caven‘s record der abendstern i always hear that litte voice in my head saying c’est quand-même très allemand. to say it in english: for me this seems to be her most german record. which has nothing to do with the lyrics being in german. it’s the music.
the music taps deeply into the tradion of german popular song of the 60’s and 70’s. it does border on the cheesy – and that is why i suspect that i hear that french voice, for i believe for a french, or more general, any non-german-speaking listener this record could indeed be mistaken as cheesy.
but then maybe not, because there are certain indications that it has to be listened to differently, the most obvious for any listener being her voice. this voice is just too good. there is a gap between the sweet pleasent- and pleasingness of this music and this strong artistic voice going way beyond of what is expected to sing such songs. suspicion should also arise as by closer listening the music does reveal itself as too clever – there are certain manierisms, there is a certain feeling of too much, of too well done.
then there is the extra-musical context: why would a woman with known association to the cultural avantgarde of germany and france do a record full of songs on the simpler side of german schlager? the answer is easy: she didn’t.
on this record ingrid caven does the same as ringsgwandl does on trulla! trulla!: use the music. use the music to create certain moods, feelings, and memories of germany in the 60’s and 70’s, the bundesrepublik, to support the lyrics. and the lyrics are anything but simple and cheesy.
so it might be not ingrid caven’s most german record, but her most fassbinderian record. as fassbinder captured in his films the atmosphere of the bundesrepublik through the visual, so much that at times one believes to smell it, for the purpose to heighten the impact of his sharp analysis of this germany executed through the script and the dialogues, ingrid caven on der abendstern uses the music to create a germany which tried to hide all the things she sings about.
so i propose you do have a listen for yourself and find out if you can actually smell it. enjoy.