I am not quite sure about how much people outside of Germany know about Heino. His distinct appearance might be familiar to some of them, and maybe also the knowledge of his usual genre: German Schlager. Now, after being made fun of for years by his colleagues from other musical genres, he has released his 22nd album as a sort of revenge. In covering some of the latest hits by musicians as Die Ärzte (klick for a little taste), Peter Fox or even Rammstein, he is the one who is making fun of them for once – or is he?
Heino, at the age of 74, has just entered the very top of the German charts (source: Focus) with his album Mit freundlichen Grüßen , a song which is also featured on the disc and originally sung by Fanta 4. There has probably never been so much talk about a Volksmusik-album on radio stations such as PlanetRadio or bigFM, whose listeners claim the work to be ‘horrible’ and an insult to the ‘proper’ musicians of our land. I am wondering, though, if there isn’t something more behind this arguably provocative move.
First of all, Heino is by no means a bad singer (at least in my opinion). His voice stands out, it may be a bit grotesque, but it’s still art. People’s taste in music should be tolerated, even if it’s Schlager music. To be honest, if Heino covered my music, I wouldn’t even be insulted. On the contrary, I think it’s rather impressive that he has dealt with the music of the younger generation. And some of his fans might even be tempted to really listen to what this younger generation has to say, especially when their idol interprets the messages. Of course there will be those people on the Schlager-side who are utterly shocked to find their beloved Heino is singing the songs of the rotten youth, but some of them surely won’t.
I for myself can say that I find it fascinating to understand his handling of popular music (as far as this term can be applied to the songs featured on the disc). For the rest of the musical world, the work might be outrageous, but even if it is, it is still amusing, unimportant if this is because of shame, pity or sincere interest. If nothing else, it makes people smile. What more can a Schlager singer wish for?