Thursday, 9 July 2009

1986 Falco: Rock Me Amadeus

European pop was never a stranger to our shores, and after Germany's quadruple barrelled onslaught of the number one slot so far this decade, Falco now became the first Austrian to top the UK charts and with a song about his fellow Austrian Mozart. You could even say he went one better than Nena et al because large sections of 'Rock Me Amadeus' are actually sung in German, no mean feat knowing the UK's generally xenophobic approach to any song not sung in its native tongue.

And he got away with it mainly because the lyrics in the verses don't matter all that much. Ostensibly translating as a boiling down of Milos Forman's film version of 'Amadeus' into a three minute pop song, Falco's droll, heavily accented rap delivery is less concerned about the intricacies of the composer's life (Boswell can rest easy):

"He was Superstar

He was popular

He was so exalted

Because he had flair"

and more with bolting it on to a steamroller neo industrial, Europop rhythm track that transcends language. What didn't hurt either was a sung in English chorus that pulls you in with all the subtlety of a butcher's hook to the throat:

"Come on and rock me Amadeus

Amadeus Amadeus, Amadeus"

And so it goes on, endlessly repeating the mantra until the listener is bludgeoned into a trance like submission and gets swept along by Falco's own arch enthusiasm. High art it is not, memorable and catchy it is; there's a hard, almost gothic edge to 'Rock Me Amadeus' that has weathered the years well, and with such an unlikely subject matter only the most ungracious would begrudge Falco a pat on the back and a 'Well done my son' for going easy on the cheese and actually pulling it off.

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