Rebecca, I enjoyed your article! I have to confess I detest this noise in the disguise of music as much as you do. And I am Dutch. You probably know it passed the border in the first half of the 20th century. My mother in law sang them all, as does my wife, who heard them from the day she was born. She has the kind of memory I am jealous of. She remembers both melodies and lyrics almost from scratch. (I only remember the music, it brushes the text away.)
The Dutch equivalent, ‘het levenslied’ (the song of life) has a considerable popularity. They are performed by ‘volkszangers’ (folk singers, but ‘folk’ is not ‘folk’ as in American.) Some examples:
Same characteristics- direct and simple message brimmed with emotions, sing along melodies, preferable sung in the company of others, with corresponding movements, arms locked, see-saw, lighters in the air.
They are horrible, but so many people love them, they should be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
To kill the Ohrwurm a tribute to the greatest product of Germany, das Lied:
A folk song, after all.