The meaning of the song «Du hast» by Rammstein

The meaning of the song «Du hast» by Rammstein songs

The meaning of the song and video Rammstein “Du hast” even a quarter of a century after its release attracts the interest of new fans of the musical group. A whole range of feelings and emotions became the subject of the composition “Du hast”. The main character rushes between two fires and does not understand how it will all end. The composition “Du hast” from Ramms is especially popular among all singles. Without it, it is impossible to imagine any concert of German performers.

History of creation

The song was included in the group’s second studio album in 1997 called “Sehnsucht” and became its hallmark for a long time. Not one concert of the German industrial metal legislators is complete without this composition. Only the song “DEUTSCHLAND”, released relatively recently, was able to compete with the hit, which was the leader in the number of plays among all the creations of musicians for two decades.

The clip directed by Philipp Stolz (the fifth in the history of the group) was filmed in the same year at the airfield in Brandenburg. Everything was in the spirit of “Rammstein”: with pyrotechnics, stunts, in a brutal and ironic style. The main roles were played by the actress Astrid Meierfeld and the band’s drummer Christoph Schneider. Other team members are also involved.

It was not without difficulties and incidents. The shooting was supposed to take place in bright sunlight, but the weather interfered with the plans with rain and gusty winds, so adjustments had to be made.

A stuntman was brought in to shoot the scene with the burning man, dressing him in a special suit covered with flammable materials. After the suit was set on fire, the stunt performer meekly waited for the “Stop, cut!” command, but it never came. It turned out that all members of the film crew were dumbfounded by what they saw and literally lost the power of speech. As a result, the stuntman, after waiting enough time for a beautiful picture, jumped into the pool without a team.

The leading man suffered second-degree burns as a result of a car explosion. Doing a “debriefing”, members of the film crew came to the conclusion that it was an accident: the pyrotechnics were installed in accordance with all the rules.

The plot line of the video “Du hast” received a slight continuation in the video for another song – “Hailfisch”, which was released already in 2010. This was realized as an episode illustrating the suspicion of the band members in the murder of vocalist Till Lindemann: they think that Schneider doused Till with gasoline indoors at the same airfield.

The meaning of the song «Du hast» by Rammstein

The translation of the song “Du hast” is not difficult, although there is a small play on words in the text: du hast mich [you (asked) me] – du hasst mich [you hate me].

The phrase in which the words of the verse are added is as follows: “You asked me, but I did not answer.” Although the answer is still heard in the chorus – a distinct “Nien!” (“No!”). And the question itself is a typical Catholic question to the groom at the wedding: “Do you agree … to be faithful until death do you part?” Another version of the translation is more sarcastic: “Are you really going to be faithful until death do you part!?”.

By the way, the female backing vocals during the tough “No!” sings the opposite: “Ja” (“Yes”) – also irony.

And one more catch: if you pronounce and write the word “scheidet” (separate) in a different way, without the last letter, you get the name of the female genital organ. Then the question turns into an even more mocking “Will you love her vagina even in bad times until she dies?”.

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The meaning is simple: the groom clearly does not believe in eternal love and fidelity and, it seems, even despises them, lowering lofty feelings to the level of naturalism – also quite Ramstein-like. It is unlikely that members of the group themselves hold such beliefs. Rather, it is a tribute to the stage image and style, which are always well flavored with irony about various aspects of human life.

The plot and idea of ​​the video

The lead drummer Christoph Schneider gave the following explanation for the plot of the video: “A member of a bandit group betrayed his accomplices because of love for a woman and must be punished for this. But everything happens in a way that no one expected.”

The action of the clip begins with the arrival of lovers to an abandoned house. The characters kiss. Flickering shots of fire, twisted metal, pieces of clothing are designed to push viewers to the idea that everything will end badly for these characters.

The hero, taking a pistol with him, goes to the building and sees a man’s face there, covered with a mask. Sounds like a question. The remaining members of the gang-group who came up also demand an answer from the hero. They suddenly take off their masks, showing that this is all a joke: no one is going to cause harm. On the contrary, friends hug and drink alcohol together. The hero smiles – the gun was not useful.

The woman has been at the building all this time and worries about her lover. She imagines terrible scenes, sees how the hero burns alive. But it’s all just in her imagination.

But now she sees her lover leaving the building, alive and well, and realizes that her fears were in vain. However, the hero looks at her only in passing and immediately looks away, then leaves with friends.

He did not tell her that there was a bomb in the car (he obviously knew about it – he looked at his watch for a specific purpose). The girl dies from the explosion. The gang walks without looking back.

The idea is this: the hero was faced with a choice – to sacrifice himself or to submit to his accomplices, sacrificing his beloved. If we take into account the meaning of the lyrics of the song, then we can conclude that the second option was initially a priority and obvious for the character. He probably always cherished the bandit “family” more than fleeting relationships with the opposite sex.

How did “Du hast” change the attitude towards Rammstein?

“Du hast” became a colleague of such hits as “We will rock you”, “Highway to hell”, “It’s my life”, which have become timeless stadium classics. A simple, easy to sing along, catchy rhythm and a small, not saturated, but as you will see later, full of meaning lyrics made it possible to take interaction with the audience during the concert to a new level. Now the fans could really feel the atmosphere of the song and even feel like soloists, because sometimes they sang even louder than Till Lindemann, the soloist of the band “Rammstein”. 

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With the release of the album “Sehnsucht” and, in particular, the song “Du hast”, the German band ceased to be associated only with dark and heavy tracks, which in many ways was the reason for attracting a new audience. Plus, “Du hast” managed to leave its mark not only in music, using several musical techniques atypical for industrial metal of that time. The song did not bypass the movie either, becoming part of the soundtracks for several films and TV shows, the most famous of which is The Matrix. The track can also be heard in the computer games “Guitar Hero 5” and “Rock Band 3”.

Perhaps the text is more complicated than it seems?

The song tells about the internal struggle of a person with himself, about setting life priorities and about true desires, which we all quite often sacrifice to life circumstances. Speaking of wrestling, already the first words of the song divided the translators into 2 camps.

After the opening melody, Lindemann says: “Du. Du hast. Du hast mich “- the first controversial point of the phrase is the consonance of the 2nd person singular present tense of the verbs haben (to have) and hassen (to hate), which are homophones for words that are the same in pronunciation, but different in spelling. Therefore, we get 2 possible translations of the phrase: it can mean either “You have me” or “You hate me.” Agree, an impressive difference is just for one letter s.

The second controversial point appears when the phrase “Du hast mich” becomes part of a new sentence – “Du hast mich gefragt”, where the verb haben is an auxiliary of the verb fragen. And here the question arises “Should we consider “Du hast\hasst mich” as a separate sentence and take into account the two meanings of the verb form already described above? After all, this part of the text can be considered as a kind of pyramid, where each new element simply led us to a complete sentence, without having its own separate meaning.

When the repetitions of the phrase end, we find out that the hero left a question that is still unknown to us, unanswered. “Und ich hab’ nichts gesagt” (and I didn’t say anything), Lindemann sings, using the colloquial abbreviated form of the 1st person singular of the verb haben. And now, after this line, we come to the next ambiguous moment of the song, in which we not only find out during which the action of the composition takes place, but also see the often occurring translation differences, and it’s all about one letter.

We hear a question to which the hero has not previously answered: “Willst du bis der Tod euch scheidet treu ihr sein für alle Tage?” And here it should immediately be clarified that such a question is asked during the church wedding ceremony, when a new family appears before God. It is on this sentence that translation sites are divided in opinion. Many of them write down the question as “Willst du bis der Tod euch scheidet treu ihr sein für alle Tage?”, which translates as “Would you like to be faithful to her until death do you part?”. But there is another version of the recording, and, accordingly, the translation of the question.

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The thing is that scheidet is the standard form of the 3rd person singular present tense of the verb scheiden, used in the context of the future tense as “narrative” Präsens. In this case, the translation would look something like this: “Will you be faithful until death do you part?”. While the form scheide in this context takes on the meaning of Präsens Konjunktiv and conveys the meaning of uncertainty, and in our case even sarcasm. A more accurate translation of the question in this case would sound something like: “Are you seriously going to be faithful until death do you part?”. Obviously, the emotional color and mood of the song change slightly after such changes in translation.

Then we finally hear the hero’s direct and clear answer, which speaks of the end of the internal struggle, that now he has the courage to declare his real desires. The loud “Nein” (no), pronounced by the choir by the whole group, and often together with the audience, testifies to a turning point in the hero’s soul, despite the resistance from the former lover, expressed in “Ja” (yes), sung by female backing vocals. And on top of all this, there is a slightly modified version of the question, which some translators did not dare to reproduce verbatim.

“Willst du bis zum Tod der Scheide, sie lieben auch in schlechten Tagen?” Here Scheide is not a substantiated verb, but a common homonym for the female sexual organ. The question can now be translated as follows: “Will you still love this vagina on bad days until it dies?”. So the hero seems to recognize his true attitude towards the one with whom he was going to get married, and finally convinced of the fidelity of his life path that changed at the last moment. 

What do we have in the end?

Reasons for the track’s cult status for over 20 years. Perhaps the main reason was that, as mentioned earlier, “Du hast” was the band’s first truly stadium song. A little later, “Sonne” (a detailed analysis of the song “Sonne” ), “Ich will” and “Deutschland” ( a detailed analysis of the song “Deutschland” ) were added to it.  

This four is now a mandatory component of almost all concerts and occupies the first 4 positions in the top Rammstein compositions. Thanks to “Du hast”, the German team has secured the title of one of the best in terms of staging shows, using pyrotechnics and other special effects that make each performance unique and memorable.

It has long been known that a group can have many hits, but the one that started it all is always remembered first. And the history of Rammstein as a world-famous band began precisely with “Du hast”. And even now the song remains a worthy part of its continuation.

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