Die goldene Zitronen © Frank Egel
Die Goldenen Zitronen
More Than A Feeling
Showing attitude is today considered the central Merkel for political pop culture. Haven't we been further along before? Didn't we ever find ourselves just showing attitude too sucked out? Too exploitable, too reinterpretable into a just-do-it rebellion?
Today, when even in tropical Brazil, once the dreamland of globalization critics, they elect a right-wing radical as president, we are once again instinctively reaching into the drawer where the good old attitudes are stored. And the proven genres right next door. We're holding them in front of us like shields.
Bella Ciao - come, we warm ourselves at the old partisan song! Come on, let's sing antifa stadium punk rock like we used to! Rebellious reggae and hiphop, put your fists up, at least we know where we stand. A smoky Honky Tonk piano sounds: "Come on Joe, do the music from back then!" That's what Brecht's Threepenny Opera says, the Golden Lemons quote that. Already on one of their earlier records (I don't know which one anymore) they complained why it's always "Nazis out!" when everyone knows that the Nazis belong here.
That's how the Goldies are. Always full of the weapons of criticism. Dissecting, impaling, polishing contradictions. Nag, nag, moan, moan, moan. Maybe the Goldies are still a punk band, but if that is so, then punk is an attitude that seeks attitudes (musical, content-related) that do not yet exist. With the past records this search was gladly a collective venture, the songs originated in Jams and common debates. On "More Than a Feeling", the Golden Lemons have been more divided, more like contemporary hiphop productions.
Acid, DAF, Ernst Busch, Kendrick Lamar, Punkrock, disturbing noises, experiments with sequencers and drummachines: The Goldies always express themselves in a way nobody has done before, musically and contentwise. They are interested in "the elusive", as it says in "The Old Merchant City, June 2017", a play that tells the story of the G20 spectacle in Hamburg. The Golden Lemons played during the G20 protests opening the left-wing autonomous "Welcome to Hell" demo. For "the wealth of the few is hell to the others," they explain, without denying themselves the criticism of the "Rollenfestspiele": "As is usually the case on such occasions, it was not clear whether those who waged this battle here in symbolic images are really understandable to the damned of this earth, for whom they always believe they speak on such occasions / The faces that could be seen behind the black hoods and sunglasses were white and mostly male.
The faces of the Golden Lemons are also white and mostly male, but at least they put on other people's shoes from time to time. As for example in "Es nervt", written and sung from the perspective of a black person reflecting the behaviour of white leftists, a piece by Schwabinggrad Ballett & Arrivati, whose singer Latoya Manly-Spain sings here as a guest: "We, the noble object of your projections, protagonists of your battle paintings / As long as we don't say the wrong thing and disappoint you with false accusations and ingratitude".
"Ohlalalala" the Goldies also sing, but then immediately: "I see dark behind your door / I am there, I help you". Does "Useful Catastrophes" play in Caligula's head? In Björn Höcke's or Viktor Orban's? Or Boris Johnson? Is this about the return, believed dead, of populist enemy image production to the power-political end in itself? Or do I still like to see myself in the still-everything-in-the-grip role? This disturbing certainty that the private is political often lies beneath the texts of the Golden Lemons. "I now know that you are afraid of change / Although you like to fly to Tenerife", it says in "Stay with me" (feat. Sophia Kennedy). More than a feeling eben. Even a retro and funky song like "Das war unsere BRD" makes you ponder: "Stickers that clarify your attitude", "Policemen in Safarilook", remember, darling? But were we better off then? What does "We" actually mean? "More Than a Feeling" is not least a collection of desperate satirical songs, songs for which you don't really know if desperation about the ridiculed doesn't let the ridicule penetrate. As in "Building the Wall," for example, where the Goldies ask themselves what is actually meant by "people": "Do they mean that they want to build something around the noses they want to wear, around the music they want to hear, around the cars they want to drive, around the pigs they want to eat, around the steps they want to march, so that they can only be "us"? Am I wrong, or was there ever on an album of the Hamburg band so many "Hä?", "What?" or "Was?"-like cries right in the opening track "Katakombe"? Do not always take the posture out of the cupboard. First you want to understand what's going on.
Christoph Twickel, November 2018
Hans Unstern is awake. After 6 years of Sleeping Beauty Sleep, the
infamous Singer-Songwriter doll from the thicket, with a newly built
Harp in the back and the third album under the arm: DIVEN.