From the first time I heard NENA’s amazing 1983 song 99 Luftballons I was riveted to the power and beauty of her voice and song! When I heard it again a half dozen months later in English I liked it even more, because the lyrics were telling a story that needed to be told. She didn’t slow down for a minute from then to 1987, at which point the band sadly imploded. She returned as a solo artist in 1989, with the second stage of her career going full tilt until 1997. She has had the full support of her original band members the whole time, including her ex, for both live and studio events. Not something many rock stars can say in that same situation.

After some film work and time to raise here family, she returned to the music scene with new tunes around 2005; during the between time she did manage to release a bunch of live albums. She kicked off the third stage of her music career with the 2 CD set of original music Would you like to go with me followed by a 2 CD collection of covers of some of her favorite music called, appropriately enough Cover Me. I particularly like that one of the covers was the most important song from Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, called Helden in German, Heroes in English. After that she seems to have been releasing around an album of original music each year.

Then came the pandemic. She had few shows last year, and this year she has a handful of tour dates scheduled, 2 major festivals per month ending in September. Starting in March of 2022 she will return in force, with what seems to be 2 concerts scheduled for every 3 days for the whole rest of the year. With lots of other bands following the same pattern, this has become the New Normal.

It was easy to pick the first tune to include here, since it chose itself: 99 Luftballons. This version was posted from a live tour performance from 2018, as was the 2nd track, Willst Du Mit Mir Gehn. For the third one I went with Licht; Enjoy!

Mylène Farmer is not just a world class singer, she also has some of the best choreography ever seen on stage, and her music videos have always been cinema grade. That last is no surprise to anyone, considering she was an actress before she got into music, and her long running collaboration with filmmaker Laurent Boutonnat for those videos. I am including two of her tracks, Déshabillez-moi, and Sans Contrefaçon, but you can find more on her official web site, and on her You Tube Channel. For those who don’t happen to speak French but still want to follow along with the songs, you can turn on Closed Captioning and select Auto Translate if the CC is not already in English.

The only actual genre this week lean heavily in the direction of horror, American Satan and Happy Death Day. Not really a surprise it being Friday the 13th and all, and the trailers at least make one of them interesting. But their are two movies that might be worth checking out. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is the almost true story (it is a movie, after all) of the psychology professor who created Wonder Woman and the women who helped him do it. The Foreigner is the latest Jackie Chan film, and the first out of his last 3 to get a US release. There were a few North American theaters who had Kung Fu Yoga and Railroad Tigers, but I don’t live in those couple of cities, so I had to wait for the DVD releases to see them. This one looks to be classic Chan, as he runs rings around the bad guys.

The actress Cara Delevingne sings the song I Feel Everything from the Luc Besson masterpiece Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Sadly we probably won’t be getting anything additional from that comic book universe any time soon, because the movie cost around $150,000,000 to make, but they only pulled in just over $115,000,000 in its 4 week run. If you were one of the luck few who got to see it (they put it in the tiniest theater in each of the various megaplexes with a low number of screenings, while Dunkirk had half the screens, including 100% of all IMAX showings, and started every 45 minutes) you know what how good it was. They should get funding for the second one in about 25 years, when this film is a Cult Classic.