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Shlager (German Schlager) is a style of popular music that is prevalent in northern Europe, in particular Germany and Scandinavia, but also to a lesser extent in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It is characterised by sweet, overly sentimental ballads, usually sung by a female vocalist, usually with a simple and memorable melody. The style is frequently represented at the Eurovision Song Contest, and has been popular since the 1950s. While at one time music of this style was also fairly popular in the UK and USA, it now sounds very old fashioned and is now rarely heard in those countries.