Heino, Rammstein and the double-ironic melancholia of Germanness

Schiller, M., Apr-2020, In : European Journal of Cultural Studies. 23, 2, p. 261-280 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Mass migration and the so-called refugee crisis have put questions of national identifications high on political and social agendas in Germany and all over Europe, and have ignited anew debates about the inclusiveness and exclusiveness of Germanness. In this context, popular culture texts and practices offer insights into how identities are marked, and they engage in and produce discourses about national belonging. In this article, I will focus on how popular music in particular plays a pivotal role in the creation and negotiation of national identifications as it functions as a site of continuous (re-)articulations of Germanness. I focus on a recent peak in the controversy of the discourse surrounding Germanness as it unravelled in 2013, when the nation’s most successful Heimat- and Schlager singer Heino ironically covered, among others, the song ‘Sonne’ by Germany’s internationally most successful (and notoriously controversial) popular music export: Rammstein. In analysing the multiple layers of irony articulated by Rammstein, Heino and the audience as tropes of negotiations of Germanness in popular music as processes through which identity is actively imagined, created, and constructed, I argue that the double-ironic articulation of Germanness by Rammstein and Heino, and the discursive controversy in its wake, point to the melancholic temporality of German national identification as an impossible ‘remembrance’ of its traumatic national past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-280
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Early online date29-Dec-2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020


  • Germany, Popular Music, Irony, Nostalgia, National Identity, Rammstein, Heino, Schlager

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