The German charts are the last bastion against an alleged cancel culture.
As is well known, the big joke about this small, always cheerful column is that it is intended to confront pop artists who are slightly removed from reality (like me) and their readers (like you) with the hard facts in the charts. While fellow critics discuss queer punk, avant-garde stuff and pop queens like Beyoncé, acts that the so-called feature section wouldn’t even touch with a pair of pliers regularly gather at the top of the German charts.
At the turn of the year, however, hardly any picture fits the current state of the debate better than the German album charts, currently a quite illustrious group of men. In addition to Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, you can meet Marius Müller Westernhagen (the German Mick Jagger) and real pirates (Santiano), but also Philipp Burger, singer of the national-sounding band Frei.Wild, who always shy away from extremism tried to distance themselves – Burger can still look back on a right-wing rock past with the skinhead band Kaiserjäger.
(Alleged) witch hunts and show trials
A summer of revealing stories obviously had little impact on Till Lindemann’s success, like Burger in the charts with a solo album. The same applies to Michael Bublé, who came under fire a few years ago for aggressive behavior towards his wife: his Christmas album is also being bought a lot.
Before the fans of those mentioned get their hats off – no one should be found guilty at this point if they have not been legally convicted. But it’s interesting: you constantly read about alleged witch hunts and show trials of woke furies, and in the end everything continues to run and tour and sound like it always did. Scandals involving powerful men can briefly stop the powerful machine called the music industry, but they cannot stop it. Whether you think that’s a good thing or not: In 2024, you can at least shorten cardinally stupid “What else are you allowed to do?” debates with reference to the charts.
This column first appeared in Musikexpress issue 2/2024.