Lyrics and languages
- What are the lyrics of Kraftwerk tracks?
- Which languages are used in addition to German and English?
- What does the morse code at the start of Radioactivity stand for?
- What are the words in the begening of the mix version of the song Radioactivity?
- What are the non-English lyrics in The Robots?
- Which languages are used in Kraftwerk concerts?
- What is the intro text of Kraftwerk concerts?
- What is the lyrics of Radioactivity live intro?
- What is the lyrics of Kometenmelodie live intro and where is it from?
- What does "Ruckzuck" mean?
- What does "Vor dem blauen Bock" mean?
- What does "In Düsseldorf am Rhein klingt es bald..." mean?
- What is the infamous bawdy version of The Model?
The complete texts of all tracks would be beyond the scope of this FAQ.
You can find some fan web sites on the Internet which deal with this question.
See the 'Links' page.
On the album Tour de France Soundtracks (2003), Kraftwerk used French (and German) language.
There are some tracks which have different language versions. These tracks appear on singles as well as bootlegs and can be heard in live appearances:
Les mannequins - French Showroom Dummies
Mini Calculateur - French Pocket Calculator
Piccolo Calcolatore - Italian Pocket Calculator
Dentaku - Japanese Pocket Calculator
Minikalkulator - Polish Pocket Calculator
Калькулятор - Russian Pocket Calculator
Os Manequins - Portuguese Showroom Dummies
Maneken - croatian Showroom Dummies
Manechine - Romanian Showroom Dummies
Manichini - Italian Showroom Dummies
Objecto Sexual - Spanish Sex Object
放射能 / Houshanou - Japanese Radioactivity
See also the question 'Which languages are used in Kraftwerk concerts?'
If you know more, please feel free to email me.
It spells out "RADIOACTIVITY".
.-. .- -.. .. --- .- -.-. - .. ...- .. - -.--
Hiroshima / Fukushima
Se also the question 'What is Tschernobyl, Harrisburg, Sellafield, Hiroshima and Fukushima?'
From the concerts held in 2012, the word Fukushima is also can be heard...
This is a line in Russian, which is printed on the album's cover in cyrilic characters. In English, it may be transliterated as "Ya tvoy sluga; ya tvoy rabotnik". It means "I'm your servant; I'm your worker". It has been noted that when played backwards this line sounds like "No one owns me, no one sells me", but this is a coincidence.
The English word "robot" comes from the Czech language, via the translation (in 1923) of Karel Capek's play R.U.R.. The 1991 version of The Robots, "rabotnik" was changed to "robotnik", but this is not a valid word in either Russian or Czech.
According to fan reports (from 2004 to 2018), the use of languages is varied. In Germany and in the German-speaking countries the German version of the tracks, in the English-speaking countries English versions are played, whereas in other countries both German and English occur. The projection is changed according to the sung version.
Some typical Kraftwerk tracks can be heard in a different national languages, especially Pocket Calculator and Showroom Dummies (and some Japanese words in the concert intro...)
From 2012, the Japanese Radioactivity is also interesting with the Japanese screening.
See also the question 'Which languages are used in addition to German and English?'
Anyway, the variant track languages make a refreshing change for the fans...
"Meine Damen und Herren
Ladies and Gentlemen
Heute abend (aus Deutschland) / Today evening (from Germany)
Die Mensch Maschine Kraftwerk / The Man Machine Kraftwerk"
From fan reviews we know that from the concerts held in Germany in 2004 the worlds 'aus Deutschland' are left out from the intro.
At the beginning of the 'mix-version' of the song Radioactivity the following lyrics can be heard and seen on the screen:
"Sellafield 2 will produce 7.5 tons of plutonium every year.
1.5 kg of plutonium make a nuclear bomb.
Sellafield 2 will release the same amount of radioactivity into the environment as Chernobyl every 4.5 years.
One of these radioactive substances Krypton 85 will cause death and skin cancer."
The original German text:
"Die sonne toent nach alter weise
In brudersphaeren wettgesang
Und ihre vorgeschriebene reise
vollendet sie mit donnergang"
The first 4 lines of Raphael's speech from Faust, Prolog im Himmel (The Heaven Prolog), written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
The intro can be heard for example on the Concert Classics.
The title of the Kraftwerk track Ruckzuck is a German phrase which can be translated as "Do it quickly" or "Hurry up".
The very early Kraftwerk track Rückstoss Gondoliere (aka 'Truckstop Gondelero') appears on the bootleg CD edition of Tone Float under the title Vor dem blauen Bock. It's not known why the bootleggers gave this as the title, but it seems likely it's a joking reference to the German television programme Der blaue Bock, which features easy-listening folk music.
The phrase "In Düsseldorf am Rhein klingt es bald..." appears on the cover of the original German release of Ralf & Florian and on a card enclosed with the Germanophon bootleg reissue. It is probably best translated as "In Düsseldorf on the Rhine, it will soon sound". Apart from this literal translation, the meaning is unclear!
The bootleg CD Heute Abend contains a rendition of The Model which was recorded at a soundcheck during Kraftwerk's 1991 concert in Edinburgh. This version is notorious because the line "I'd like to meet her again" was changed to "I'd like to f*** her again"! Needless to say, this version was not repeated during any concert.