learn german with songs

Sick of 99 Luftballons? 20 New Bops to Learn German with Songs

Go ahead and ask a German learner what their favorite German song is.

Did they say “99 Luftballons” by Nena?

I’m not surprised!

“99 Luftballons” is a classic—it’s without a doubt one of the most popular German songs in the English-speaking world. And it’s a great introduction to German-language music. But it can’t be the only thing German learners listen to.

Want to mix it up and learn German with some new songs you’ve never heard before?

Good—that’s what we’re here for.

This post will introduce you to 20 top German songs from the last few years that’ll get you singing and dancing along—not to mention learning tons of important German vocabulary and expressions from the lyrics.

But first, remember: learning German with music isn’t as simple as just choosing a song and pressing play.

Here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re actively improving your German language skills while you listen.
 


 

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How to Successfully Learn German with Songs

  • Start with song titles. If you’re a beginner German learner and still can’t understand song lyrics, don’t give up on German music just yet! Song titles are an effective way to learn new vocabulary, since they’re typically short, simple and give you a summary of the song.

Our suggestion? Create flashcards for the titles and their meanings or other useful information you picked up from them, so you can review them later. You can use flashcard apps such as Anki or Quizlet to achieve this.

  • Read the lyrics out loud. There’s a difference between quickly scanning through words and actually attempting to say them out loud, which is way more challenging. Thankfully, the song will serve as your pronunciation guide. You might want to try reading the lyrics first in your normal voice to get a hang of the language before you start singing them.

Which leads us to…

  • Try advanced dictation. As an intermediate or advanced language learner, you might be comfortable singing along to your favorite songs and even understand the lyrics without a need for translation. Even so, music in German can still be of use to your language-learning journey! Pick some of our songs from the list below and challenge yourself to write down everything you hear.

It’s a fun take on language dictation… and certainly one of the most challenging ways to practice active listening!

  • Get creative with your playlists. Rather than creating playlists for music genres, as is typical, you can get methodical with your German music playlists and divide them by level of difficulty. If you want to go pro, create separate playlists for the songs you’ve actively studied and those you still have to listen to more carefully.

Where to Find German Song Lyrics

Searching for translations is our first impulse as German learners. It’s a fast way to satisfy our curiosity and learn the meaning of an entire song with only a couple of clicks.

However, looking at the original lyrics is just as important, as it’ll give you an idea of how the language is structured.

Sure, you can just Google the song lyrics and read through them. But if you want to read lyrics with some extra features—as well as access quality English translations alongside the original German song lyrics—check out these great resources.

LyricsTranslate

learn german with songs

There are plenty of popular German song lyrics translated into English on LyricsTranslate.

The platform places the English version and the original version side by side, so you can check the meaning of each sentence as you listen to the song.

Make use of this platform when you check our suggested songs, as it’s also built with the support of native German speakers who write some side notes on cultural references and idioms.

FluentU

learn german with songs

FluentU takes real-world videos—such as music videos, movies, news and inspiring talks from around the world—and turns them into language-learning experiences. FluentU’s focus is connecting learners with authentic content featuring native speakers, allowing you to see how modern German is spoken in the real world.

Each of FluentU’s videos comes equipped with interactive subtitles in both German and English, allowing you to follow along and work on your pronunciation skills. If you don’t understand a word, just click on it and you’ll find a definition, example sentences and links to other FluentU videos that contain the word.

With FluentU, you’re not just reading along with lyrics—you’re using music to get a comprehensive, interactive language-learning experience. Tons of top German songs have made their way onto FluentU’s platform. Whether you’re interested in a recent pop song or maybe something a little older, FluentU has tons of music videos and lyrics to check out.

Learn German with Songs: 20 New Bops You’ll Listen to Over and Over

1. “Traum” (“Dream”) by Cro

Cro is unavoidable when it comes to contemporary German music. Everyone knows him, his famous panda mask and his popular German songs. Get started with this cheerful song about being in love!

His music is perfect for intermediate German learners who want to develop their vocabulary about love, relationships and emotions, while challenging themselves to keep up with the fast pace of the lyrics!

Granted, you won’t be able to get it out of your head for the next few hours, but why would you want that?

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Nimm meine Hand (Take my hand)
  • Ich bin verliebt (I’m in love)

2. “Einmal um die Welt” (“Once Around the World”) by Cro

Have you ever wanted to stop worrying about money, pack your bags and go on adventures without a concern in the world? Cro—yes, the same guy with the panda mask!—is ready to take you there with yet another joyful song.

And the best part? All German learners can take something away from the lyrics, as they’re rich in vocabulary about traveling, directions, geography and location… as well as money!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Ost, West oder Nord (East, West, or North)
  • Können wir tun, was wir wollen (We can do what we want)
  • Gib mir nur deine Hand (Just give me your hand)

3. “Leiser” (“Quieter”) by LEA

LEA, a German singer and songwriter, tells us how her friends have noticed a change in her behavior after starting to date a self-centered boyfriend. It’s a simple concept, filled with easy-to-understand German for beginners.

It’s one of the best German songs to learn vocabulary about emotions and relationships. Since the melody repeats itself several times, you’ll be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly and even sing along!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Alle meine Freunde (All of my friends)
  • Ich hab’s nicht mal gemerkt (I didn’t even notice it)
  • Ich fühl’ mich einsam (I feel lonely)

4. “Bungalow” by Bilderbuch

Austrian alternative rock band Bilderbuch probably didn’t intend to create such a perfect song for learning about phone vocabulary in German, but who could blame us for taking advantage of it?

Bilderbuch (literally: “picture book”) have built their own brand around creating stylish songs that are parodies at the same time, and they often include provocative lyrics that criticize modern society.

“Bungalow” might not be a song for kids due to its themes (partying, complex relationships, suspicious substances), but the amount of expressions and vocabulary we can get from it related to communication and getting in touch is worth it.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Ich ruf’ dich an und ich frag’ dich, wie’s dir geht (I call you and ask you how you’re doing)
  • Dann rufst du an auf meinem Handy (Then you call me on my cellphone)

5. “Stadt” (“City”) by Cassandra Steen and Adel Tawil

Cassandra Steen, a German singer and voice actress of German and African American origins, is quite an established name in Germany by now, which isn’t surprising considering how unique and silky her voice is.

Adel Tawil is a German singer and songwriter of Egyptian and Tunisian origins. The fact that they came together to talk about the search for happiness, compassion and how urban life has changed people is fascinating.

“Stadt” is one of the best German songs from the past few years, due to its catchy beat and interesting message. Plus, it’ll also be perfect for those of us who could use some vocabulary about the city.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Es ist so viel soviel zu viel / überall Reklame (It’s so much, too much, advertisements everywhere)
  • Alle Straßen sind befahren (All streets are traveled)
  • Ich bau’ ein Stadt für dich aus Glas und Gold und Stein (I’ll build a city for you, made of glass and gold and stone)

6. “Warum” (“Why”) by 257ers

If you consider yourself a rebel who often questions the system, you’re sure to like “Warum” by the German hip-hop duo 257ers.

The lyrics are a comment on societal paranoia, fear and mistrust in the government. It’s better for intermediate to advanced German learners who are interested in this topic, but it also includes some expressions that you can start using right now, even as a beginner, as they can be used in multiple contexts.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Jetzt vertrau’ mir wenn ich sag’ man kann nicht jedem vertrauen (Now trust me when I say you can’t trust anyone)
  • Ey Leute passt doch auf, ihr lebt in Gefahr” (Hey people, look out, you are living in danger)
  • Warum, ja warum, ja warum, warum regst du dich denn auf? (Why, yeah why, yeah why, why do you get upset?)

7. “Du bist schön” (“You Are Pretty”) by Alligatoah

Alligatoah, or Lukas Strobel, is a provocative songwriter by nature. His songs are often sarcastic and humorous, not to mention they often push the boundaries of what’s politically correct to sing about. This song in particular, however, is relatively tame.

It tells us about a superficial character who’s obsessed with his own beauty and isn’t shy about it. While it can be rather fast-paced, the song is still accessible for German beginners due to the simple vocabulary it uses.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Ich bin ein Phänomen, ich bin 10 von 10 (I’m a phenomenon, I’m 10 out of 10)
  • Spieglein, Spieglein im Handy, sag mir: Bin ich der King? (Mirror, mirror on my phone, tell me: am I the king?)
  • Das versteh’ ich nicht… (I don’t get it)

8. “Guten morgen Freiheit” (“Good Morning, Freedom) by Yvonne Catterfeld

The title itself is welcoming for beginners, using one of the very first expressions we learn at the beginning of our German studies! Can you guess what it means?

Exactly! “Good morning, freedom.” (Don’t forget that all nouns in German use capital letters.)

If you didn’t think your German was advanced enough to be able to make sense of German song lyrics, think again. Yvonne will become your best friend with her jazzy, uplifting tunes that are easy to keep up with, as they’re often slower-paced—which isn’t synonymous with boring!

Intermediate German students will also be thankful that the song lyrics include lots of lines in the present perfect (haben + past participle).

Notice, however, how habe is often written and pronounced like hab’ in German music!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Guten Morgen, Freiheit, es tut so gut, dich wieder mal zu seh’n (Good morning, freedom, it feels so good to see you once again)
  • Hab’ mit alten Dingen aufgeräumt und alle Sorgen untern Teppich gekehrt (Cleaned up with old things, swept all worries under the carpet)
  • Fühl’ dich einfach wie zuhause! (Make yourself at home!)

9. “Bumerang” (“Boomerang”) by Moritz Garth

Like many other artists we know nowadays, Moritz Garth started as a cover artist on YouTube and has now released his own singles, one of them called “Bumerang.”

If there was ever a song for yo-yo relationships that keep ending and returning, this is it. We won’t blame you if two hours later you’re still singing “Denn ich bin wie ein bumerang!” (“Because I am like a boomerang!”) with a dramatic facial expression!

The best part? You’ll be learning German while you listen to it. This is one of the best German songs for beginners. Its slow pace is perfect for those of us who need clear pronunciation to keep up with the message.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Flieg über Wälder, über Wüsten und das Meer (Fly over forests, over deserts and the ocean)
  • Ich kann nicht ohne dich und auch nicht mit dir. (I can’t live without you, but I can’t live with you either)

10. “Blau” (“Blue”) by Kraftklub

Directly from Chemnitz, Germany, Kraftklub are popular for their unique blend of indie rock and rap music, all while preserving that stylish rhythm typical of garage-style bands!

“Blau” is sung by a character who’s suffering through a tough breakup and having a hard time not creating problems or counting days as they pass.

Luckily, it’s also one of our favorite picks for German learners. Why?

First of all, as someone who knows English, you’re already aware of the expression “to be blue,” which also exists in German. Second, you’ll find the lyrics surprisingly accessible due to how well-pronounced the sentences are.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Immer wenn ich blau bin, ruf’ ich bei dir an (Whenever I am blue, I call you up)
  • Die Nacht ist vorbei, ich bin wieder klar im Kopf. (The night is over, my head is clear again)
  • Das Leben und den Tod (Life and death)

11. “Fühlt sich wie fliegen an” (“Feels Like Flying”) by Max Herre feat. Cro

Boy meets girl and they dance together.

This song tells a traditional love story of how light and simple it feels to be in love, feel alive and want to dance together all night!

Max Herre, a German singer from Stuttgart, comes together with Cro (yep, him again!) to help you learn more vocabulary about being in love and enjoying life.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • die Nacht ist jung und du bist schön (The night is young and you are beautiful)
  • Uh Mädchen… (Oh girl…)
  • Es fühlt sich wie fliegen an, so leicht muss Liebe sein (It feels like flying, love must be so light)

12. “Sag Einfach Ja” (“Just Say Yes!”) by Marla Blumenblatt

If you tend to be assertive and see the world in black and white, you probably like clear answers. Marla Blumenblatt, an Austrian singer and dancer from Vienna, doesn’t really like being someone else’s plan B or having to wait too long for plans. For that reason, she sings Sag einfach ja” — “Just say yes!”

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Was hält dich nur so lange auf? (What is holding you back for so long?)
  • Ich bitte dich, komm endlich klar, mach es klar! (I beg you, finally make it, make it clear!)
  • Du sagst nicht Ja, du sagst nicht Nein (You don’t say yes, you don’t say no)

13. “Wir 2 immer 1” (“We 2, Always 1”) by Vanessa Mai feat. Olexesh

German singer Vanessa Mai and Olexesh, a German rapper of Ukrainian and Belarusian heritage, come together for this simple yet catchy love song perfect for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners alike.

It talks about dating, and that feeling of passion and confusion that can be through the roof in the beginning of a relationship. While some expressions can be more challenging due to the use of slang and idioms, others will be quite accessible!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • auf den Kopf (Upside down)
  • Ich muss es dir jetzt sagen (I have to tell you now)
  • Viel zu viel, zu viel Worte in mein’m Kopf (Too many, too many words in my head)

14. “Unter die Haut” (“Under the Skin”) by Tim Bendzko feat. Cassandra Steen

We can’t possibly talk about German music and not mention Tim Bendzko. He became a national phenomenon after winning the Bundesvision Song Contest, a festival dedicated to promoting music in the German language, in 2011.

Here, he partners up with Cassandra Steen (remember her?) with this relaxing tune for a rainy day called “Under the skin.”

It speaks of loneliness, finding someone to connect with and wanting to stay in that refuge forever. Not only is the chorus memorable, but it’s also easy to keep up with the lyrics due to how short the sentences are.

Additionally, both singers sing slowly… which always helps!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Ein warmer Sommerwind (A warm summer breeze)
  • Ich habe es erst nicht geglaubt (I didn’t believe it at first)
  • Das ist alles was ich brauch’ (That is all I need)

15. Nein!” (“No!”) by Sido feat. Doreen

Dating can be difficult if you’re planning on winning the heart of somebody who’s just not interested. Rings, expensive cars and 10,000 text messages apparently won’t cut it—and Sido is starting to feel desperate!

If you’re looking for a fun song to dance and sing to, this one can be your candidate.

Warning: this song is a little challenging due to the fast tempo and the expressions used, but that’s a plus for intermediate and advanced learners who are in need of a challenge!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Nein! So geht das nicht. (No! That won’t do)
  • Es fällt mir nicht im Traum ein, deine Frau zu sein (I don’t even dream of being your woman)
  • Ich sag’, ich mach’ jetzt nur noch die Musik, die sie mag (I tell her that from now on I’ll only like the music that she likes)

16. “Mein Letzter Tag” (“My Last Day”) by Die Lochis

Most of us would be rather depressed if we knew today was our last day alive, but not Die Lochis! The young YouTube duo created this song about living each day as if nothing would happen tomorrow.

Basically, they plan on partying, getting their pockets full of money, having zero responsibilities and sitting around a fire to celebrate! Apart from the mood-boost, we can also learn more about the use of würde (would) to talk about things we would do in German. Let’s go!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Dann würde ich alles machen, was mir gefällt! (I would do everything that would please me!)
  • Ich existier’ nicht nur, nein, nein, ich lebe. (I do not just exist, no, no, I live.)
  • Der Weltuntergang (The end of the world)

17. “Sind wir Freunde?” (“Are We Friends?”) by 3A

If your profile is both German beginner and deeply romantic, we have great news for you! Have you ever listened to this ballad about wanting to be more than friends? It’ll take you right back to your high school days. (Unless you’re still in high school. In that case, you’ve found yourself a new dramatic soundtrack!)

These lyrics are fitting for those who want to improve on their elementary German due to the basic verbs it includes and how simple the sentence structure is.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Sind wir Freunde oder sind wir mehr? (Are we friends or are we more?)
  • Ich such’ in deinen Augen, ist da noch mehr? (I search in your eyes, is there anything else?)

18. “Stimme” (“Voice”) by EFF

Musicians Mark Foster and Felix Jähn joined forces as a German duo with one powerful single: “Stimme,” which means “voice.” The song pays homage to intuition, not giving up on your inner confidence and knowing when to listen in this messy life.

Since the lyrics play with repetition of key expressions, the song is friendly to the foreign ear, not to mention inspirational!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Hör auf die Stimme (Listen to the voice)
  • Glaub mir (Believe me)
  • Deinen Wegen, durch das Leben (Your road through life)

19. “So wie jetzt” (“Like Now”) by Revolverheld

Sometimes it’s way too easy to get caught up in the unpleasant details of life and forget how time flies. Most of us would even agree that our head is always running while our heart needs a break.

Revolverheld, a German pop rock band from Hamburg, sings about the feeling that time is slipping through our fingers while we worry about everything that seems useless or futile.

German learners of all levels will be able to take advantage of the song lyrics, which include both easy expressions and deeper, more meaningful messages hidden throughout.

It also includes several references to modern society and technology, which makes everything more interesting.

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Wann fangen wir zu kämpfen an? (When do we start to fight?)
  • Geduld ist für uns Fremdwort, das ich später googlen kann (Patience is a foreign word to us that I can Google later)
  • Wir sind Individualisten und boosten uns bei Tinder hoch (We are individualists and boost ourselves on Tinder)

20. Kompliziert” (“Complicated”) by Namika

Communication can be tough and Namika knows that. No… she’s not talking about trying to have a conversation in German, but we still get the way she feels!

In this song, the German-Moroccan singer expresses her frustration at someone who just doesn’t understand her and keeps misinterpreting her. Listening from the outside, one could almost assume this was a party song or a feel-good anthem.

But you, a savvy German learner, will already recognize some basic expressions that show us this isn’t the case!

Useful German expressions in this song:

  • Ich sag Nein, und du verstehst Ja (I say no, and you understand yes)
  • Heute ist dein Glückstag, ich hab’ ein Wörterbuch für dich (This is your lucky day, I’ve got a dictionary for you)
  • Ich bin nicht kompliziert, du verstehst mich nur nicht (I’m not complicated, you just don’t understand me)

 

So, there you have it—20 fresh, new German songs to get you singing, dancing and learning. No longer will you be confined to (admittedly great) classics like “99 Luftballons.”

Create a playlist, start listening and get ready to impress your friends and classmates with your knowledge of German language and pop culture!
 

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