It’s that time again. Germany’s summer hit of the year 2023 is certain. GfK Entertainment, a chart analysis company from Baden-Baden, chooses one song every year. In 2022 it was the controversial Ballermann hit “Layla”, now it’s called “Girl on the Horse”. The song comes from three young men from Bavaria: the previously unknown producer duo Spadafora and Dee and the singer Octavian.

The result is an amateurish-sounding techno cover that hammers you in the head at what feels like 300 beats per minute. The song has been streamed almost five million times on YouTube and has been going viral on TikTok for a few weeks. Last weekend it was even the most successful song in Germany. High time for an analysis: What does this song reveal about Germany in the summer of 2023?

The realization: the first time you hear the song, it just sounds very dull, the second time it sounds very contemporary. But more on that later.

For many weeks, the song has been heard particularly often where the sun is beating down and the beer is flowing: on Mallorca. That’s not surprising. “Girl on the Horse” fulfills every rule of a summer hit: catchy melody, simple sing-along lyrics, animating dance beats. In addition, a topic that affects everyone, with which everyone can identify. Love. So this song becomes a party hit, to which many people want one thing above all: drink and dance. On YouTube, the fans find this song “differently cool”, it is “simply LEGEND” because “the banger resounds”. Or, as the poet @MyHouseStyle comments online: “Masterpiece! The beat pops the convolutions out of your skull! nice”.

But behind the success of this hit is more than just a thirst for partying. “Girl on the horse” is inspired by the song of “Bibi

This Bibi is interesting

The position of the man who sings is also different. In the song “Layla” it’s full of ridiculous macho posturing full of testosterone. This year the lyrical I is more reserved, more searching, even more uncertain – so it sings of itself, for example, as a “frog”, as the “loser before the Lord”. She, on the other hand, is “the one” for whom he would “do anything”. The one who “eats me for breakfast until there’s nothing left and then forgets about me.”

And then at some point there is this one line that can be interpreted in such a wonderfully contemporary way: “You my Barbie, I your Ken”. Of course, this sentence can also simply be understood as a dull allusion to old role models: absurdly beautiful Barbie and absurdly muscular Ken. Or one interprets this line with a view to the current Barbie film, which was released this summer and has experienced huge hype ever since. It’s a film that very entertainingly tells the search for a new manhood with the role of “Ken”. Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, has to reposition himself: he, too, vacillates between imperious cowboy machoness and submissive Barbie adoration. Here a man practices finding his role when he is just playing a supporting role – as in the song “Girl on the Horse”, where the lyrical self no longer wants to be a frog, but a prince. Maybe that’s exactly what makes this song so contemporary: it reflects the current male insecurity. And the search for a masculinity that doesn’t just see itself as the opposite of femininity.

If all this was too much of a strenuous, cerebral analysis for a simple summer drinking hit, rest assured: the techno hammers extremely loudly on the brain. So loud that you can hardly understand the text anyway.