Our previous two selections have been big synth pop hits, but here is where that all really came from – down an unclogged motorway all the way to Düsseldorf, and the timelessly influential work of Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. The song, from the album of the same name in 1974, has since been revised and reissued in much longer versions, but let's stick to the single version at three and a half minutes. It seems very slow these days, but the sound, evolving from their prog and krautrock roots, still has that spine-tingling majesty, capturing an age where the motorway was a symbol of unjammed progress, a road leading into the bright, utopian future. The music still has that magical vision too, sounding gloriously warm, all hand-soldered from diodes, valves, wires and true, bulbous electronic parts. Think of visiting your Tandy store in the 1970s, and creating an otherworldly Boy's Own alchemy, burnished with the mechanical beauty of those German lyrics.
Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn.
Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal
Die Sonne scheint mit Glitzerstrahl.
Die Fahrbahn ist ein graues Band
Weisse Streifen, gruener Rand.
Jetzt schalten wir ja das Radio an
Aus dem Lautsprecher klingt es dann:
Wir fah'rn auf der Autobahn.
We drive, drive, drive on the Autobahn.
In front of us is a wide valley
The sun is shining with glittering rays.
The road is a grey ribbon
White stripes, green border.
Now we turn the radio on
From the speaker comes the sound.
We are driving on the Autobahn.
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