Born in East Germany, Nina Hagen had already gained a reputation as a flamboyant rock singer by the time she emigrated to the West in 1976, where she formed a band, signed to CBS Germany, and released their debut album, Nina Hagen Band, in 1978. Includes the songs 'Unbeschreiblich', 'Tv-glotzer ( White Punks On Dope)', 'Auf'm Friedhof' and more.
Hagen formed the Nina Hagen Band in West Berlin's Kreuzberg district. In 1978 they released their self-titled debut album, which included the single "TV-Glotzer" (a cover of "White Punks on Dope" by The Tubes, though with entirely different German lyrics), and Auf'm Bahnhof Zoo, about West Berlin's then-notorious Berlin Zoologischer Garten station. The album also included a version of "Rangehn" (approximately, "Go On"), a song she had previously recorded in East Germany, but with different music.
This eccentric rock material, all in English, shows the diversity of her vocal instrument.
NUNSEXMONKROCK, hit the American shores and I was completely blown away by all of it. Even though I had many punk/New Wave albums in my collection, this was really, really different. It wasn't just punk, New Wave or pre-Goth. Even now after some 20 years, this album still sounds SO UNUSUAL and creative. When she wrote it, many of NSMR's songs had heavy political/social overtones and messages for its era. That Hagen then hailed from Communist East Germany informed her talent for satire that's heard all over this album. Anti-World which opens this cauldron of noise deals with religion vs. science. Smack Jack addresses heroin addiction which plagued both East and West Berlin through much of the 70s and 80s. On the songs Cosmo Shiva, UFO and Future Is Now, Nina sings of personal spiritual transformation. Born in Xixax decries the nuclear age.
This is one great album by the German rock diva, perhaps her best. It is more accessible than the debut, offers greater variety and some truly gripping songs. African Reggae is a powerful tour de force and by the way, a dancefloor classic, Wir Leben Immer Noch (Lene Lovich's Lucky Number) is a perfect pop song, and Wenn ich ein Junge war with its somewhat risque lyrics just about bursts with exuberance. Fall In Love mit Mir is another catchy number, but every track has its own charm. The great melodies and intelligent lyrics with enthusiastic playing by her band ensure the classic status of this album. In my opinion, this is her Opus Magnum. It demonstrates what can be achieved by integrating reggae rhythms into a rock format, while the rock songs remain top of the league. Her vocal gymnastics are less in evident than on the debut album, but her voice is still brilliantly utilised. An excellent, timeless classic!
This tragicomedy was apparently the greatest success of Giovanni Paisiello’s career, some claim considering that he wrote around 90 operas and that his Barbiere di Siviglia both inspired Mozart to produce Le nozze di Figaro as a sequel and caused later audiences to criticise Rossini for daring to tackle the same subject. Although Paisiello (1740-1816) is interesting enough to deserve some attention today, his musical accomplishments are more reminiscent of Cimarosa than anyone else. He did, however, enjoy a colourful life, and served European rulers as diverse as Catherine the Great and Napoleon. When Nina was first performed at La Scala, the title role was taken by none other than Floria Tosca, the singer who was later to inspire Sardou and Puccini.
The record has an interestingly stately air to it, considering Polly Eltes' breathy, quirky vocals and Michael Karoli's apparent fascination with variations on reggae rhythms (not too surprising, considering the spiritual link between Can and the output of Jamaican mixers.) The complete set would be more compelling and striking, though, if there were a little more focus – Karoli and Eltes spend quite a bit of time simply drifting into thematic hooks, leaving the listener in limbo for too long on a regular basis. When it clicks, though, it is excellent.
Nina is VERY eclectic. At all of the concerts that I have attended, she has sung punk, opera, rock 'n' roll, blues, krishna chants, big band, and other styles. If you enjoy music as music, no matter what the style, then this CD captures that character of Nina– minus the opera. The first version of this CD, the German, Freud Euch, has two opera-style songs on it that aren't on this CD. There are a couple of other songs on this CD and not on Freud Euch: "Born To Die In Berlin" and "Shiva." This CD also sounds more like how the music sounds in concert, having less overdubs and production tweaks than Freud Euch. It sounds like it was produced for the American audience to give them an idea of what to expect from a live performance by her.