IN DEN KOSMOS by STERN COMBO MEISSEN

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 7
Meanwhile, back in the GDR…

…they had been singing rock in German for years, especially since the early 1970s when the Ostrock scene started to blossom. Some fascinating music emerged, but rock fans in West Germany were mostly either unaware or uninterested in what was happening on the other side of the wall.

This song was recorded by Stern Combo Meißen in 1978. Their name means ‘stars of Meißen’, Meißen being the town in Saxony where they come from. Here their driving use of synths and sequencers (not typical of their output) invites comparisons to acts like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. It appears on the compilation “Kosmos – Soundtracks Of Eastern Germany’s Adventures In Space”.

Thanks to Milia13 at lyrics translate for the translation.

IN DEN KOSMOS

Immer schneller voraus,
Immer weiter hinaus
Will der Mensch, mein Freund,
In dieser Zeit, mein Freund.
Und manche Zukunftsvision,
Die ist Wahrheit schon.
Es geht los, mein Freund,
Keinen Tag versäumt
 
Was uns die kosmische Welt
Noch verborgen hält,
Wirst du sehen, mein Freund,
Und verstehen, mein Freund.
Und dieser uralte Traum,
Nach fernen Welten zu schauen,
Der ist Wirklichkeit.
Komm, steig ein, mein Freund
 
Stoß mit der Flamme der Kraft
Dich von der Erde ab
Und flieg, und flieg
 
Was uns die kosmische Welt
Noch verborgen hält,
Wirst du sehen, mein Freund,
Und verstehen, mein Freund.
Und dieser uralte Traum,
Nach fernen Welten zu schauen,
Der ist Wirklichkeit.
Komm steig ein, mein Freund!
 
Stoß mit der Flamme der Kraft
Dich von der Erde ab,
Und flieg, und flieg…
INTO THE COSMOS

Always faster ahead
Always further out
Wants a human, my friend
In this time, my friend
And some vision of the future
Is already the truth
It starts, my friend
Didn't miss one day
 
What the cosmic world
hides from us
You'll see, my friend
And understand, my friend
And this very old dream
To look for far away worlds
Is reality
Come on, get in, my friend
 
Take off from the ground
with the flame of power
And fly, and fly
 
What the cosmic world
hides from us
You'll see, my friend
And understand, my friend
And this very old dream
To look for far away worlds
Is reality
Come on, get in, my friend
 
Take off from the ground
with the flame of power
And fly, and fly…

GERMAN GRAMMAR:

In (in German) can mean both in and into.
For position you use the dative case: In dem Kosmos
For movement you use the accusative case: In den Kosmos (as in the song).

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JONNY CONTROLLETTI by UDO LINDENBERG

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 6
The real birth of German language rock

German language rock certainly existed before Udo Lindenberg, but it was his pioneering efforts that showed that this music had a sizeable audience. This track is from “Ball Pompös” (Grandiose Ball, 1974), his second album with his band, the Panikorchester, who are referred to humourously in the lyrics. “Ball Pompös” was the first German language rock LP to reach the top ten in Deutschland. A couple of years later Lindenberg recorded a version of this song for his ill fated English language album “No Panic”, which you can hear below.

These days Udo Lindenberg is an icon of German music, a grizzled rock and roll survivor, a kind of homegrown Keith Richards.

NB The lyrics include a tiny bit of Italian (in italics).

JONNY CONTROLLETTI

Neulich war ich mal wieder in Amerika 
und da traf ich einen Herrn von der Mafia 
er lud mich ein in ein Makkaronirestaurant 
und ich dachte: Okay, gehst mal mit 
vielleicht wird das Ganze interessant 

Er sagt: Ich heiße Jonny Controlletti, 
buon giorno, Signor 
Ein kurzer Wink
und 'ne schwarze Limousine fuhr vor 
und später saßen wir da in der Chicago-Bar 
und nach jedem Glas Chianti 
rief er: Hallo Ober, noch 'ne Ladung 
und zwar avanti, avanti 
Und dann packt er sich das Glas, das volle 
und sagt: Alles unter Kontrolle

Er hatte 'n Streifenanzug an 
und Gamaschen wie Al Capone 
und die Beule in der Jacke, 
die kam von der Kanone 

Dann wollte er noch wissen 
wie's denn überhaupt so wäre 
mit dem Showbusiness in Deutschland 
und speziell auch mit meiner Karriere 
ich sag': Ich mach' da grad so'n Ding 
mit 'ner höllisch heißen Panik-Band 
Und Jonny Controlletti 
übernahm sofort das Management

Er sagt: Si, si, Signor 
wir machen das perfekt und schnell 
die Jungs vom Syndikat 
sind enorm professionell 
Und so saßen wir da in der Chicago-Bar 
und er sagt: Alles klar, mein Bester 
ich mach' dich über Nacht zum Superstar 
dich und dein Katastrophen-Orchester 
Und dann reicht er mir das Glas, das volle 
und sagt: Alles unter Kontrolle
JONNY CONTROLLETTI

The other day I was back in America
And there I met a gentleman from the Mafia
He invited me to a macaroni restaurant
And I thought: OK, if I go with him
Maybe the whole thing will be interesting

He says: My name is Jonny Controlletti
Good morning, sir
A quick signal
And a black Limousine drove up
And later we sat in the Chicago bar
And after every glass of Chianti
He shouted: Hello waiter, let's reload
And hurry up!
And then he grabs the glass, the full one
And says: Everything is under control

He was wearing a striped suit
And spats like Al Capone
And the bulge in his jacket 
That came from the gun

Then he wanted to know
How things are
With show business in Germany
And especially with my career
I say: I'm doing a thing
With the hellishly hot Panic band
And Jonny Controlletti
Took over the management immediately

He says: Yes, yes, sir
We'll do it perfectly and quickly
The guys from the syndicate 
Are tremendously professional
And so we sat there in the Chicago bar
And he says: Everything's OK, my dear
I'll make you a superstar overnight
You and your catastrophe orchestra
And then he hands me the glass, the full one
And says: Everything is under control

GERMAN GRAMMAR:

This song contains lots of songs in the präteritum (the German equivalent of the past simple).
One way to learn verbs is with the infinitive, the third person singular of the present (which is often irregular), the präteritum and past participle. Here are some of the verbs used in the song (in the präteritum) in all these forms.

treffen (meet): trifft – traf – getroffen
einladen (invite): lädt ein – lud ein – eingeladen
denken (think): denkt – dachte – gedacht
fahren (drive): fährt – fuhr – gefahren
sitzen (sit): sitzt- saß – gesessen
rufen (call): ruft – rief – gerufen
übernehmen (take over): übernimmt – übernahm – übergenommen

ICH WILL by UKW

GERMAN POP LYRICS

UKW were a German new wave (NDW) band, and their name, an abbreviation of UltraKurzWelle (UKW=VHF i.e. very high frequency) is presumably a reference to the wave aspect of the scene. This was a hit in 1982, the same year as the like-minded “Ich will Spaß” by Markus.

ICH WILL

Ich träum’ so vor mich hin (ja!),
Gedanken sausen mir durch den Sinn.
Ich träum’ von all den Sachen,
Die ich will, und die mir Spaß machen.
 
Träume soll’n Schäume sein (soso!),
Das will in meinen Kopf nicht rein.
Und wer so denkt soll weiter träumen,
Ich versuche meinen Träumen den Weg frei zu räumen.

Es gibt nichts, was mich noch hält,
Schöne Grüße an den Rest der Welt!
 
REFRAIN:
Ja, ich will, was mir gefällt,
Ja, ich will, was mir gefällt,
Es gibt nichts, was mich noch hält,
Ja, ich will, will, will, will, will, was mir gefällt.
La, la, la, la, la, la, oh, oh...
 
Will nicht mehr bitte sagen (nein!)
Nicht um Erlaubnis fragen,
Will nicht länger artig sein,
Ein Dickkopf sein, ja das wär fein (wär fein)
 
Will machen, was mir passt (ja!),
Auch wenn der Rest der Welt mich hasst.
Was gut ist für mich, weiß ich selber,
Lauf der Herde nicht mehr nach, wie die anderen Kälber.
 
Es gibt nichts, was mich noch hält,
Schöne Grüße an den Rest der Welt!
 
REFRAIN
I WANT

I dream to myself (yes!)
Thoughts rushing through my mind
I dream about all the things
That I want and I enjoy
 
Dreams are said to be froth (so so!)
I can’t fit that idea in my head
And whoever thinks so should keep on dreaming
I try to make space for my dreams
 
Nothing can stop me
Best wishes to the rest of the world!
 
REFRAIN:
Yes, I want what I like
Yes, I want what I like
Nothing can stop me
Yes, I want, want, want, want, want what I like
La, la, la, la, la, la, oh, oh...
 
I don’t want to say ‘please’ anymore (no!)
Or to ask for permission
I don’t want to behave myself any longer
A pigheaded guy, yes that’d be fine (would be fine)
 
I want to do what suits me (yes!)
Even if the rest of the world hates me
What’s good for me, I know myself
I won’t run with the pack like the other hounds
 
Nothing can stop me
Best wishes to the rest of the world!
 
REFRAIN

LIKING GERMAN GRAMMAR:

One way to say you like something in German is with the modal verb mögen. It is used with the accusative.

Ich mag den Film. – I like the film.
Ich mag die Filme. – I like the films.

Another way to say you like something is with gefallen. Literally it translates as something is pleasing, but we rarely say that in English. It is used with the dative.

Der Film gefällt mir. – I like the film (the film is pleasing to me).

If the subject is plural we use gefallen rather than gefällt.

Die Filme gefallen mir. – I like the films (the films are pleasing to me).

NB The structure might seem a bit strange to English speakers, however if you know Spanish then gefallen functions in a similar way to gustar. To emphasise the similarity I have changed the word order of the German examples below. This is allowed as long as the verb remains in second place.

Mir gefällt der Film. – Me gusta la película. – I like the film.
Mir gefallen die Filme. – Me gustan las películas. – I like the films.

Finally, another way to say you like an activity is with gern. This adverb comes after the main verb.

Ich sehe gern Filme. – I like watching films.

DU BIST MEIN SOFA (SOFA #2) by FRANK ZAPPA

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 5
“My pronunciation really sucks”

This song is from Zappa’s 1975 album “One Size Fits All”, and it was also released as a single in Germany. This American musician often combined complex music with absurd lyrics, and here they are in a mixture of English and German. His Deutsch pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired (a German friend says he can’t understand a word), but at least Zappa admits this in the introduction to the video above.
NB I have translated the German part of the lyrics below. There is a typically eccentric official translation, and I have included these lines in brackets where I have translated the song differently.

DU BIST MEIN SOFA

I am the heaven
I am the water
Ich bin der Dreck unter deinen Walzen
Ich bin dein geheimer Schmutz
Und verlorenes Metallgeld
Ich bin in deinen Rissen
Ich bin in deinen Rissen und Ritzen
 
I am the clouds
I am embroidered
Ich bin der Autor aller Felgen
Und Damast Paspeln
Ich bin der Chrome Dinette
Ich bin der Chrome Dinette
Ich bin Eier aller Arten
 
Ich bin alle Tage und Nachte
Ich bin alle Tage und Nachte
 
Ich bin hier
Und du bist mein Sofa...
YOU ARE MY SOFA

I am the heaven
I am the water
I am the dirt under (beneath) your rollers
I am your secret dirt (smut)
And lost metal money
I am down your cracks
I am down your cracks and scratches (crannies)
 
I am the clouds
I am embroidered
I am the author of all edges (tucks)
And damask piping
I am the chrome dinette
I am the chrome dinette
I am all kinds of eggs (eggs of all persuasions)
 
I am all days and nights
I am all days and nights
 
I am here
And you are my sofa...

HALBSTARK by THE YANKEES

GERMAN POP LYRICS

‘Beat Club’ was the most important German pop music show of the 1960s. It was only broadcast once a month and, unlike ‘Top of the Pops’ in the UK, most of the bands played live. Many big names from the US and the UK appeared on the show, alongside German bands who also sang in English. However, the first song on the first ever show in 1965 was sung in German. The Yankees were from Bremen, where the show was recorded, which presumably helped them get the gig. Thankfully the shows have all survived, unlike ‘Top of the Pops’ whose tapes from the 1960s have mostly been wiped.

HALBSTARK

REFRAIN:
Halbstark,
Oh Baby, Baby halbstark, 
Oh Baby, Baby halbstark,
Halbstark nennt man sie, 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! 

Sie rasen 
durch die Straßen, 
und die Gassen, 
sie sind menschenleer. 
Blonde Bienen 
mit Bändern in den Haaren, 
und in schwarzen Leder, 
das sie tragen. 

REFRAIN 

Und die Maschinen 
sind alles was sie haben, 
heiße Melodien, 
sie heulen durch die Nacht. 
Sie rasen 
durch die Straßen, 
und die Gassen, 
sie sind menschenleer. 

REFRAIN
BEATNIK

CHORUS:
Beatnik
Oh baby, baby, beatnik
Oh baby, baby, beatnik
They call her Beatnik
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!

They race 
through the streets
and the alleyways, 
they are deserted
Blond birds (women)
with ribbons in their hair,
and in black leather 
that they wear.

CHORUS

And motorbikes
are all they have,
hot melodies, 
they howl through the night.
They race 
through the streets
and the alleyways, 
they are deserted

CHORUS

ES BRENNEN DIE BERGE UND WÄLDER by CZERWONE GITARY (ROTE GITARREN)

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 4
The Polish Beatles Invade East Germany

Czerwone Gitary (Red Guitars) were a Polish group who formed in 1965. By the end of the decade they had become so popular that people started to refer to them as ‘The Polish Beatles’ in their home country. They were also successful in East Germany, touring and having their records released there. This led them to record some material in German, which came out under the name Rote Gitarren. This track appeared in 1972 on the Amiga label.

ES BRENNEN DIE BERGE UND WÄLDER

Nichts kann mir dich nehmen,
nicht der dichste Strauch,
nicht der schmalste Steg,
nicht der längste Weg.
Hört nur, geht mal sehen,
was auch immer war,
trotz des tiefen Leid
halt einmal die Zeit.
 
REFRAIN:
Es brennt der Wald im Abendrot
Es blüht der Berg, wenn Sonne loht
So brenn' auch ich, mich kühlt kein Wind
Ich suche dich bis ich dich find'
 
Ich kann so nicht leben,
ohne dein Gesicht,
ohne dein Geleit (?),
deine Zärtlichkeit.
Alles kannst du geben
stumm und still auch,
spür es zugleich,
du machst mich so reich.
 
REFRAIN
THE MOUNTAINS AND FORESTS ARE BURNING

Nothing can take you away from me
Not the thickest bush
Not the narrowest footbridge
Not the longest way
Just listen, go to see
Whatever it was
Despite the deep sorrow
Stop time just once
 
REFRAIN:
The forest is burning in the sunset
The mountain blooms if the sun blazes
So I burn too, no wind cools me
I will search for you until I find you
 
I can’t live that way
Without your face
Without your company (?)
Your affection
You can give everything
Silent and calm too
Feel at the same time
You make my life so rich
 
REFRAIN

LEARNING DEUTSCH by EXTRABREIT

GERMAN POP LYRICS

German isn’t the easiest language to learn, and if you’re struggling you might relate to this song…

Extrabreit were one of the most successful bands in the NDW scene. This song is from their album “Europa” (1983). It’s mainly in English but with a few German words thrown in, and I have translated some of the less obvious ones in brackets below.

LEARNING DEUTSCH

Hello, my name is…
Guten tag, mein Name ist…
Pleased to meet you
Angenehm!

Of course you know der Kindergarten
And you may have heard of Blitzkrieg
Perhaps you’re a Besatzungskind (War child)
And Mami’s kleiner Liebling (Mummy’s little darling)

Kohl (Cabbage, also Helmut Kohl) is some kind of vegetable
That Sauerkraut is made of
Der Kanzler (Chancellor) don’t like to learn English
So here is Lesson One:

CHORUS:
Learning Deutsch – is so terrible
Learning Deutsch – es ist hart (It’s hard)
Ach, wenn (If) der tongue is breaking
You’ve got perfect pronunciation
So turn it all around and start to talk
Learning Deutsch

You brought us der Chewing Gum, democracy and Pershing
We brought you der Daimler Benz and the idea of Endsieg (Ultimate victory)
Now are we so close to the edge?
Please answer my urgent call
Wir küssen uns, wir küssen uns (We kiss each other)
Als wär’s das letzte Mal (As if it were the last time)

CHORUS

Say Motorherz! (Motor heart)
Say Stahlbanane! (Steel banana)
Ja, ja, ja!
Nein, nein, nein!
Dankeschön! (Thank you)

CHORUS

You can say you to me…

I’m very sorry

TIME by LA DÜSSELDORF

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 3
Krautrock and the Neu! family tree

German rock and pop music is generally either unknown or laughed at in the UK. The main exception to this rule is Krautrock, a German version of progressive rock from the 1970s, which has become a hipster’s favourite. I recommend the book “Future Days” by David Stubbs for those who would like to investigate if further. One of the interesting things that Stubbs reveals is that most Krautrock bands were not popular in Germany at the time, and even today they are better known in the UK and the US than in their homeland.

Krautrock groups tended to concentrate on instrumentals, and when they did sing in was usually in English. Neu!, one of the most influential bands on the scene, were no different. The closest they came to a traditional song was the brilliant “Hero”. When they broke up their guitarist Michael Rother went on to Harmonia while drummer Klaus Dinger formed La Düsseldorf, and both these bands have already featured on this blog.

This song is from La Düsseldorf’s eponymous debut album which was released in 1976. Initially the lyrics switch between German, English, French and Italian, but the main body of the song is in German.

TIME

German: Zeit…
English: Time
French: Le temps
Italian: Il tempo
German: Zeit vergeht
French: Se passe
English: Goes by

German: Zeit
Meine Zeit - deine Zeit
Unsere Zeit - keine Zeit
Zeit
Frühlingszeit - Mädchenzeit
Kinderzeit - Rollschuhzeit
Weihnachtszeit - höchste Zeit
Jede Zeit - neue Zeit
Zeit - Zeit

Zeit ist Geld - schwere Zeit    
Ohne Zeit - höfliche Zeit (?)
Omas Zeit - liebe Zeit           
Kurze Zeit - Ewigkeit    
Zeit - Zeit - Zeit - Zeit

Zeit vergeht…

Kinderzeit…

Zeit
TIME

Time…
Time
Time
Time
Time goes by
Goes by
Goes by

Time
My time - your time
Our time - no time
Time
Springtime - girl time
Childhood - roller-skating time
Christmas time - highest time
Every time - new time
Time - time

Time is money - hard time
Without time - courteous time
Grandma’s time - loving time
Short time - eternity
Time - time - time - time

Time passes…

Childhood…

Time

WARUM GEHT ES MIR SO DRECKIG? by TON STEINE SCHERBEN

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 2
Squatting in the German underground

In the 1970s, as in the 1960s, most German rock bands sang in English. English was cool: it was the language of rock. In contrast Deutsch was the language of Schlager and most German rock fans didn’t want to hear it.

One group who went against this trend were Ton Steine Scherben, an underground band who formed at the start of the Seventies. This is the title track of their self released debut album from 1971. It is an extraordinarily crude yet inspired effort that anticipates punk. The rebellious lyrics endeared them to the far left, not least the squatting scene. The first side of the vinyl, including this song, was recorded live.

Their somewhat mysterious name translates literally as ‘Clay Stone Shards’. However, Ton also has the meaning of sound (tone) and a Rolling Stones reference is clearly intended – The Broken Stone Tones?

WARUM GEHT ES MIR SO DRECKIG?

REFRAIN:
Warum geht es mir so dreckig, 
was kann ich allein dagegen tun?

Sieben Uhr aufstehen, 
Kaffee trinken,
zur Arbeit fahren, 
freundlich sein, 
den Chef grüßen,
nicht sagen, was ich denke, 
nicht denken, was ich sage.
Ich möchte am liebsten tot sein 
und von allem nichts mehr sehen…

REFRAIN
 
Fünf Uhr, Feierabend, 
zum Bus rennen,
„n' Abend Alter, n' Abend Alte“,
Abendessen,
in die nächste Kneipe gehen, 
Bier trinken.
Ich möchte so besoffen sein, 
dass ich alles nicht mehr seh'…

REFRAIN
 
Soll ich morgen abhauen
und gehen, wohin ich will?
Soll ich die Papiere holen 
und machen, was ich will?
Soll ich mir 'n Schuß machen
und von allem nichts mehr sehen?
Ich möchte endlich frei sein, 
aber wohin soll ich gehen?
 
Warum geht es mir so dreckig? …
WHY DO I FEEL SO MISERABLE?

CHORUS:
Why do I feel so miserable 
What can I do about it on my own?
 
Get up at seven o'clock
Drink coffee
Go to work
Be friendly
Greet the boss,
Don’t say what I think
Don’t think what I say.
I'd rather be dead 
And not see anything else…

CHORUS
 
Five o'clock, work ends, 
Run to the bus,
“(Good) evening old man, evening old girl”
Dinner,
Go to the next pub, 
Drink beer.
I want to be so drunk 
That I can’t see anything anymore…
 
CHORUS
 
Should I do a runner tomorrow 
And go wherever I want?
Should I get my documents 
And do what I want?
Should I shoot myself 
and see no more of it all?
I’d like to finally be free
But where should I go?
 
Why am I so miserable? …

MOLOTOV COCKTAIL PARTY by VIVI BACH & DIETMAR SCHÖNHERR

GERMAN POP LYRICS: The 1970s Part 1
Flush your toilet if you like this song

Following on from my series on German pop and rock in the 1960s, I will now investigate the 1970s…

Vivi Bach and Dietmar Schönherr were a glamorous husband and wife team. They had a hit in Germany with their controversial TV show “Wünsch Dir Was” (“Make A Wish”) in the early Seventies. Three families, one each from Germany, Switzerland and Austria competed on Saturday evenings in the Deutsch speaking equivalent of “The Generation Game”. You could vote for the family you wanted to win by flushing your toilet – national water consumption at that moment was measured to choose the winner!

Here they duet on a truly bizarre number which mixes Schlager with proto-punk lyrics. It appears on the kitsch compilation “The In-Kraut”.

Thanks to Steena at Lyrics Translate. I also took some information from this page.

MOLOTOV COCKTAIL PARTY

REFRAIN:
Kommt zur Molotov Cocktail Party, 
Cocktail Party, Cocktail Party
Und bringt 'ne Tüte Dynamit mit
Denn zur Molotov Cocktail Party, 
Cocktail Party, Cocktail Party
Bringt man statt Blumen Dynamit mit

Anarchisten und Faschisten,
Monopolkapitalisten
Sind gebeten, unsere Feten 
Nur mit Sprengstoff zu betreten

REFRAIN

Am heißen Büfett 
ist eine Puppe schnell 'ne blaue Bohnensuppe
Und die Gästen stehen so dumm, dumm rum
Die kalte Mamsell, die kommt herbei, 
verspeist ein Handgranatenei
Und bringt den Tellerminenwäscher um, um

REFRAIN

Delinquenten und Agenten, 
Plastikbombenproduzenten
Wir geraten, die Granaten 
Nicht in Barbeque zu braten

REFRAIN
MOLOTOV COCKTAIL PARTY

CHORUS:
Come to the Molotov cocktail party, 
Cocktail party, cocktail party
And bring a carrier bag full of dynamite
‘Cos to a Molotov cocktail Party 
Cocktail party, cocktail party
You bring dynamite instead of flowers

Anarchists and fascists, 
Monopoly capitalists 
May only attend our parties 
With explosives

CHORUS

At the hot buffet 
A doll gobbles up a blue bullet soup
And the guests stand around so dumb, dumb
The cold Mademoiselle comes over
Eats a hand grenade egg
And kills the anti-tank mine washer

CHORUS

Delinquents and agents
Plastic bomb producers 
We advise, the grenades
Don’t fry them on the barbecue

CHORUS

NB “Blaue Bohnen” are literally blue beans but this is German slang for bullets. The lyrics also make a pun on dumdum bullets. More hard to translate wordplay: Tellermine is a land mine and Tellerwäscher is a dishwasher.
NB ‘ne which appears a couple of times in the lyrics is an abbreviation of eine.

GERMAN GRAMMAR:

Zu can mean ‘to’, as in going to a place. Zu is always followed by the dative case.
There are two contractions: zu dem = zum, zu der = zur.
Party in German is feminine:

Kommt zur Molotov Cocktail Party