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Music / Die Ärzte

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L - R: Farin Urlaub, Bela B, Rodrigo Gonzalez.

Die Ärzte (lit. The Doctorsnote ) are a punk rock/pop-punk band from Berlin, Germany. Along with "Die Toten Hosen" (lit. "The Dead Pants") they are the most successful German punk act. In The '90s they made a music video starring Lara Croft. They modestly refer to themselves as die bäste Band der Welt; "the bäst band in the world."

For most of their career they have consisted of:

  • Farin Urlaub/Jan Vetter (Vox, Guitar)note 
  • Bela B./Dirk Felsenheimer (Vox, Drums)note 
  • Rodrigo "The Rod" Gonzalez (Vox, Bass)

Formed in 1982, they broke up briefly in 1989, reuniting in 1993. They have released 15 studio albums, six live albums and seven compilations until now, and managing to get three of all of them indexed in Germany. Farin and Bela are for all intents and purposes the face of the band but their current bass player (the third in band history and with them since 1993) also sings a handful of songs and has written a couple, usually one or two per LP. The two former bass players have been even more marginal to the band with their second bass player never even officially being part of the band (Their second bass player was featured in the manner of "Die Ärzter with..." or similar ways). Bela and Farin are both from Berlin whereas Rod was born in Chile and came to Germany because his parents ran afoul of the Augusto Pinochet regime. Die ärzte are famous/notorious for their elaborate three hour live shows that include antics like giving encores at festivals and spending most of the time bickering at each other in puerile humor and heavy Berliner dialect. There is even one semi-official release of just the things they said on live concerts that weren't their songs. Improvising changed lyrics to their songs is also a thing they like to do.Their (studio) discography:

  • Debil ("Moronic" 1984)note 
  • Im Schatten der Ärzte ("In the Shadow of Die Ärzte" 1985)
  • Die Ärzte (1986)note 
  • Das ist nicht die ganze Wahrheit... ("That is not the whole truth..." 1988)
  • Die Bestie in Menschengestalt ("The beast in human form" 1993)
  • Planet Punk (1995)
  • 5, 6, 7, 8 – Bullenstaat! ("5, 6, 7, 8 – Cop state!"note  1995)
  • Le Frisur (Gratuitous French, "Le Hairstyle" 1996)
  • 13 (1998)
  • Runter mit den Spendierhosen, Unsichtbarer! ("Stop being so generous, Mr. Invisible!"note  2000)
  • Geräusch ("Noise" 2003)
  • Jazz ist anders ("Jazz is Different" 2007)
  • Auch ("As well" 2012)
  • They've given me Schrott! - Die Outtakes ("They've given me Scrap! - The Outtakes" note  2019)
  • Hell ("Bright" 2020)
  • Dunkel ("Dark" 2021)

Manchmal, aber nur manchmal haben Frauen ein kleines bisschen Trope gern:

  • Affectionate Parody: Tons of these. Die Ärzte are sort of famous for doing homages/affectionate parodys in their music videos and songs.
    • They did one of these on Misaimed Fandom with their video for "Die klügsten Männer der Welt" note . It features Bela as a stereotypical cowboy in the Deep South singing enthusiastically along with a certain german punk bands song, complete with George W. Bush, as well as several other prominent german and international politicians heads used as the bouncing ball. The song is actually an ironic critique of leading politicians, issues with transparency and the little actual input the general public has on politics and big decisions such as heading into war. Cowboy!Bela is oblivious to this, praising 'the wisest men in the world' happily, playing with a toy-tank to destroy famous world-monuments, launching a rocket and riding happily towards a huge mushroom cloud on the horizon in the end.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Parodied in "Männer sind Schweine". The song starts with calling them the "usual" pejorative terms; pigs, rats, etc., but by the end it's the nonsensical "men are cars."note 
    • "Men are cars" references phrases that are/were frequently graffitied on the walls of toilet stalls and the likes. The full phrase is "Männer sind Autos, wenn man nicht aufpasst, liegt man unter ihnen" ("Men are cars, if you don't pay attention you'll end up under them").
  • An Aesop: Quite a few especially on their recent album "Jazz ist anders" note 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The tabloid BILD according to "Lasse redn" ("Let 'em Talk").
    Die meisten Leute haben ihre Bildung aus der BILD
    Und die besteht nun mal, wer wüsste das nicht
    Aus Angst, Hass, Titten und dem Wetterberichtnote 
  • Audience Participation Song: They will turn any song into this.
    • For a time that was their way to get around the banslegalese  against certain songs - they would play the instrumental and the audience would sing the song. The audience was not doing anything illegal (or if it was, it was almost impossible to prosecute) the band did not do anything illegal (the lyrics being banned and not the melody) and in fact the band even (sarcastically) asked their fans to not ever ever on pain of death and horrible things sing the song, please.
    Bela: Become a banker or a drug addict, but don't sing this song.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Once again played for laughs in "Claudia hat 'nen Schäferhund" ("Claudia has got an Alsatian").
  • Blasphemous Boast: "There is only one god: Bela Farin Rod"
  • Be Yourself: The message of "Lied vom Scheitern" ("Song about failure").
  • Bowdlerise: On the 2020 re-issue of "Die Ärzte", the vocal track of "Geschwisterliebe" (see Brother-Sister Incest below) was re-recorded with new lyrics about cleaning. (However, if you listen closely, you can still hear the original lyrics faintly in the background)
  • Break Up Song : "1/2 Lovesong" of the "Please don't go"- and "Mach die Augen zu" ("Close your eyes") of the "Teetering at the brink of a breakup"-variety
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Their song "Geschwisterliebe" (Siblings' Love) is the Trope Namer for the German page.
  • The Cameo: Bela appears as an usher near the end of Inglourious Basterds. Rod also makes a rather humorous one in the Die Toten Hosen music video for Wannsee ("Ruhe hier! (leise) Scheiss Mucke.note 
  • The Casanova: "Paul der Bademeister" ("Paul the pool attendant") is considered one by the band
  • Concept Album: Le Frisur (Le Hairstyle) is all about hair.
  • Cowboy: The idyl of the Working Cowboy is mercilessly parodied in "Micha", ending with the hero kicking his horse and angrily riding into sunset. The "Black Hat" is played more straight, but "El Cattivo" is too much of a coward for a large scale crime.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: The Band recorded an english version of their song "Super Drei" ("Super three"), titled "Let's go too far". The Original was about the band declaring their great return and asking the listener if they missed hearing them. The english version on the other hand is about a man who is the submissive in a BDSM relationship and begs the dominant partner to hurt him.
  • Death Song: "Buddy Hollys Brille" (Buddy Holly's glasses) about, duh, the tragic death of Buddy Holly. Bonus Driven to Suicide as they claim the fact that Buddy Holly will sing in heaven for us is a great reason for suicide. note 
  • Erotic Eating: "The Banana". Leads to a in-universe Does This Remind You of Anything? for the singer which turns him into a horny wreck, which makes the girlfriend run off.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Farin and especially Bela are quite fond of the horror genre. Cue the "Pro Zombie Song", the "Anti Zombie Song" and "Junge" ("Boy")
  • Freudian Excuse: Subverted in "Schrei nach Liebe" ("Cry for love"), where the lyrical subject refuses to accept a neo-nazi skinhead's tragic childhood as a valid excuse for her hate and violence.
    Your violence is just a silent cry for love
    Your jackboots long for tenderness
    You never learned to articulate properly
    And your parents never had any time for you... ASSHOLE!
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Their logo is a parody of this; it's an A with three dots on top of it. (Their name actually needs a standard two-dot umlaut above the A to be proper German). The three dots are most likely based on the fact that the band has three members
  • I Am a Humanitarian: The song "Gebt Schweinen eine Chance" (lit. "Give pigs a chance") jokingly advices cannibalism against hunger and for a better world.
  • In the Style of: Something they like to do.
    • 'Leichenhalle' spoofs Rammstein.
    • 'Vermissen Baby' moves towards Type 0 Negative.
    • The Warumska is... ska.
    • Their video to '3 Tage Bart' is in the style of boy bands like Take That!.
    • The best-of album 'bäst of' contains more than a dozen bonus tracks moving through maaaany genres.
    • 'Fafafa' was done in style of Die Fantastischen Vier, the biggest German Hiphop-act at that time.
    • 'Westerland to the max' contains (beside other stuff) a Doom Metal parody.
    • This tradition unsurprisingly also prevails in their solo work. Farins solo song Sumisu not only name-drops note  The Smiths, but might as well have been a Smiths song with german lyrics. Doubles as Affectionate Parody.
    • 'Dauerwelle vs. Minipli' is a Death Metal song.
    • The entire Album Auch is composed of songs in various styles of Rock.
    • 'E.V.J.M.F.' is a Trap song.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Played for Laughs. Their song "Schlaflied" ("Lullaby") is a lullaby about... stuff that lullabies normally aren't about.
  • Jerkass: "Scheißtyp" note , "Paul"
  • Kill It with Fire: Also the proper trope in case of differing music taste, cf. "Radio brennt".
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: The last verse of 'Fafafa' is ended mid-sentence by the singer being shot
  • Lead Bassist: Type A. Rod is the only member of the band that can read and write sheet music. Even Farin says he can play the Guitar better than himself. Though both in terms of lyrics and melody output and in terms of on stage antics Bela and Farin are clearly the "faces" of the band and Rod more of a background guy. Which does not mean he does not write and sing a song once in a while, or get in jibes during their stage antics.
  • Location Song: Westerland, from "Das ist nicht die ganze Wahrheit..."
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Type 4; the lineup has been the same since their reunion in 1993.
  • Monster Mash: 'Monsterparty' has the protagonist attending a party at Dracula's castle where he meets The Invisible Man, King Kong, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman, a skeleton, the Great White Shark, The Mummy and ET
  • Murder Ballad: "Nur einen Kuss" is about the protagonist killing another man for breaking his love's heart and being responsible for her death.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: On Zusammen'fassung they thank everybody...and Dagmar. Das war harter Stoff.
  • Nice Suit: Has become the favoured stage outfit of Farin ever since going solo (specifically black shirts, which were originally intended as some sort of statement against conformism according to Word of God). Bela is also quite into this.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song:
    • Sweet Sweet Gwendoline from 1986 is a Whole-Plot Reference to the comic Sweet Gwendoline created by bondage artist John Willie and later turned into the movie The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak (1984). The song exists in two versions.
    "In einer kleinen Hütte, da wohnt Sweet Gwendoline,
    Ich klopfe an die Tür und sie ließ mich herein
    Sie hatte ein Kabel, damit schnürte sie mich ein
    Sweet, sweet Gwendoline" note 
    • Bitte, Bitte ("Please, Please") from 1988 is about a guy who wants to be a slave of Dominatrix. It's notable for using only synthesizer and exists in at least four versions.
    "Was immer du befiehlst, ich tu's.
    Ich küss' die Spitze deines Schuhs
    Und wenn du mir die Knute gibst
    Weiß ich, dass auch du mich liebst.
    Ich bin nicht mehr zu retten
    Peitsch' mich aus, leg mich in Ketten
    Ab heut' gehör' ich dir allein.
    Bitte, bitte, lass mich,
    Lass mich dein Sklave sein." note 
    • Mondo Bondage from 2000 lists lots of equipment used in the BDSM subculture like latex, metallic rings, powder, wax, corsets and much more.
  • Precision F-Strike: The chorus of "Schrei nach Liebe" ("Cry for Love") ends with an almost shouted "Arschloch!" ("Asshole!")
  • The Quiet One: Rod. Except that time he had too much to drink when they played at Rock am Ring.
  • Sampling: The opening riff from "Master Of Puppets" was sampled in 'Fafafa'
  • Self-Parody:
    • Their spoof album "Jazz ist anders - Economy Version". It contains all the songs from the original album "Jazz ist anders" but in amateurish and unfinished versions, altering the texts, singing with modified voices, playing 20 seconds of the song and then discussing why they don't want to play the song anymore, resulting in one member shooting the other two, killing them on record. He sings the rest of the songs alone and cries over his actions.
    • The song 'richtig schön evil' has Bela (and Rod, but mainly Bela) trying to frame Farin as a terrorist to stop his solo album from being a success.
    • "Dinge von denen" ("Things of Which") mentions "Claudia Schiffers Hund" ("Claudia Schiffer's dog") which is about as close as they dared to come to "Claudias Schäferhund" ("Claudia's shepherd").
  • Sequel Song: "Claudia hat nen Schäferhund" (Claudia has a German shepherd) has three, titled "Claudia II", "Claudia III" and "Claudia (Teil 95)" (Claudia (Part 95)). About the topic, have a look at Bestiality Is Depraved above.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Monsterparty" mentions a lot movie monsters
    • "Lied vom Scheitern" ("Song about failure") has a video which is very sawesque
    • Their MTV-Unplugged-release was recorded in a school and called "Rock'n'roll-Realschule" ("Rock'n'roll-middleschool") as a tribute to Rock'n'roll-highschool
    • "Micha" is a song about a lonely cowboy and mentioned Lucky Luke's catchphrase.
    • "Schrei nach Liebe" begins with a musical shout-out.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Usually firmly on the silly side in both their lyrics and their on stage behavior (including most interviews) they do on occasion make important points with a straight face (e.g. Deine Schuld or Schrei nach Liebe have no silliness to be found and make important points about political activism and fascism respectively). The latter sometimes throws off and surprises casual observers.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Sweet Sweet Gwendoline". Approximate translation with some grammatic liberty (and think of Gwendoline in heavy bondage, like her namesake): "One could now mail in a postal truck her, one could also easily...YEEEEEEES!" You get the idea.
  • Take That!: "Lied über Zensur" ("Song about censorship"), as well as the video to "Bitte, Bitte"
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Often a bit more than three chords, but often true to their punk roots.
  • Too Much Information: "Dinge von denen". ("Things of which"...he doesn't want to know, of course)
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The former bass player Sahnie reportedly considered himself to be the Lead Bassist. The response of Bela and Farin was to kick him out, without any backlash.