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Nena – 99 Red Balloons lyrics

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons
With the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message,
"Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by.

99 red balloons
Floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here
From somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by.

99 Decision Street,
99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by.

99 Knights of the air
Ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a Superhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As 99 red balloons go by.

As 99 red balloons go by.

99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city

If I could find a souvenier
Just to prove the world was here...
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go

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Corrected byMarshiviolet


  • u
    This song from the 1980s was about the still separate country of Germany. The Berlin Wall as it was called separated Germany in two. One communist, the other "democratic". The constant tension and paranoia of the cold war permeated throughout and this song like many other forms of artistic expression aimed at commentary on the whole matter.
    1 reply
  • Hommeldraak
    Okay, so this song is about 2 people buying a bag of red balloons. Simple enough, right? Well, not quite. They release all of them at the break of dawn on a summer day.
    Well, people see the red balloons and begin to panic. I mean, red balloons, that must mean something bad, right *note sarcasm*.
    Well, since the people are panicking, the government (in the song) gets together and people are beginning to, in fact, prepare for war. So, over the city that the balloons are floating, they drop bombs. And destroy the city.
    So, instead of carrying the dreams and bringing them to the people, the balloons brought destruction. So, as a memory, the main person releases one last red balloon.
    So, I personally feel like the song is about misunderstandings, and good intentions which are, in fact, misinterpreted to a whole new meaning.
    This song is a pretty song, in both the English and the German "99 luftballons" version. I really recommend to listen to both versions, because I really like the other version, though until I knew of the English version I wasn't sure what it is about.
    Also, another good thing about the song is that it starts peaceful, but once they are released a more rocky version starts.
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  • u
    Well, I never did know the lyrics until today, - but I always did like the song. It's obviously about an alien invasion "A la" Independence Day character. As far as the red balloons it seems they're like "fake targets" (I forget the proper terminology - "decoys" I guess would do it", - to fool the alien invaders. Sounds like Planet Earth took a**kicking by the words of the last verse. It's funny, I never thought this song was about what I believe it to be now. I guess I'll still like it, I don't know about like it as much, but, there are some things you can't change once you know. No wonder some people like to remain stupid. Ha.
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