Many of my German friends say that they do not like any german music because they consider it to be generic and boring. And if you talk about the music commercial radios play – I agree. But boy, there is some goooood German music out there. One of my current favorites is Ilgen-Nur from Hamburg.
The German slacker-queen Ilgen-Nur released her debut album Power Nap this summer. It addresses daily struggles, finding and believing in yourself, and growing up. The lyrics sometimes sound like lines from a diary sung out loud – in the greatest way possible. For some reason you hear her sing about eating honey and butter on toast and having to drink tea because she forgot to buy milk and you want to know more. Yet what makes her art so amazing is this: Nothing about it seems simple-minded.
And yes, I know I called her the THE German Slacker-Queen (which I truly believe she is), but just like her lyrics the music is filled with details and assembled with close attention (producer was Max Rieger. another very talented German). The guitar is loud and makes itself present in true slacker style, drums and base are making a point when they have to and feel more like they are in the background on slower songs like New Song II.
The second single “Easy Way Out” was arguably one of her best songs when it came out and is still one of the most memorable of the album in my opinion (Although I now have a different favorite song of hers- but does that make it her best song to me? Different discussion). During all her releases she has shown vulnerability and the struggles that every young adult has to deal with – and “Easy Way Out” is no different. While the easy way out might seem more appealing because it is easier (duh), it might not actually be the best solution. Ilgen-Nur addresses insecurities known from some of her previous songs. Already in the first line “I am stronger than I might think” she is tackling her own doubts. The song stands out due to its heavy guitar and drum sounds which gives it a strong 80s alternative vibe.
The last song of the album, “Deep Sounds”, feels extremely different to all the other songs. When I first heard it, I was kind of taken aback because it came so unexpected, but oh man was it welcomed. It is a ballad with only Ilgen-Nur’s vocals accompanied by a quiet piano. In all honesty, I do not know what she intended the song to be about. But it reminds me of an ex that you have yet to get over.
Many times while listening to the album I had to compare Ilgen-Nur to Sonic Youth. Her’s and Kim Gordon’s singing style seem really similar. She switches between more powerful(?) singing during the chorus and calmer – almost similar to talking – vocals in the verses.
After touring with fellow german band Tocotronic and playing multiple festivals the last two summers, Ilgen-Nur is not a new name in the music industry. She is one of Germany’s most interesting artists and should definitely be on your radar if you are interested in some good, classic slacker music. Or if you want to prove to your friends that there is, in fact, good German music (or at least made in Germany).
For people that enjoy: Sonic Youth, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail