Saturday, March 19, 2005

Crocodile tears 

You know how some songs bore their way through your eardrums and eat slowly away at your brain? Songs such as the theme from The Brady Bunch or the thinking music from Jeopardy? These songs are called "ear worms," a term that is translated literally from the German word Ohrwurm. It seems somehow fitting then that the newest ear worm should be sweeping through the Vaterland, not unlike an aural STD. I'm talking of course about Schnappi, the little crocodile.

Believe it or not, the hottest song out there in Deutschland today is a ditty about a crocodile and is sung by a little girl named Joy. Really. I am not making this up. It's being played at dance clubs. It's on MTV. You can even download it as a ringtone for your Handy.

Let's take a moment and listen to a brief clip, shall we? If that's not enough for you, click here to see the video.

I found very little written in English about the Schnappi sensation, so I took the liberty of translating die Schnappi Story into English. (My apologies in advance for any errors.) For those of you who are too busy bleaching your ears to click, I offer the highlights:

The success story of the little crocodile reads like a fairy tale . . . cute, curious, and fresh--Schnappi, the little crocodile has taken the hearts of young and old listeners by storm! In December of last year, the magical song about the adventures of a little crocodile, sung by 9-year-old Joy, hit the German charts and reached double platinum on the first try.

Besides first place on the charts in Germany, in the beginning of February Schnappi also reached platinum status in Austria, gold status in Holland and Switzerland, and the top position in Belgium--and its release in Great Britain, France, Scandinavia, and even Japan lies shortly ahead.

The world can't get enough of Schnappi, and the language barriers are no problem. Completely the opposite: The Schnappi-fascination is borderless! The German-speaking hit touches young and old!
Of course it's not all wine and roses for the Schnappster. Numerous sendups of the song appear all over the web. Some are done in the tradition of great artists such as the Village People and Falco. And some are done in the tradition of famous politicians, such as Gerhard Schroeder and George Bush. Here's a sample of the Bush lyrics with my amateur attempt at translation underneath:

Ich bin Bushi, der King vom über‘n Teich
Komm grad aus Brüssel, die Hauptstadt von Frankreich!
Hab tolle Waffen, mach mir ne freie Bahn;
Denn Morgen schnappe ich mir den Iran!

I am Bushi, the king from 'cross the pond
Come straight from Brussels, the capital of France
I have great weapons, with which to clear my path
Because tomorrow I'm going to grab Iran
Everybody sing!

Okay, you've created somewhat of a monster here... I played the clip for Julie and she decided she had to have it for her laptop so she could play it for everyone at school. In the course of finding an MP3 to load up, I found a megaremix version, a weird hybrid and a couple or three 'regular' versions of the song. Aaaggghhhhh!
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