Friday, September 21, 2007

Nina Hagen - African Reggae [Video Clip]

Back in Germany by the summer of 1977, 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, lyrically altered to German language and expressing the thoughts of a depressed couch potato whose life revolves around TV), 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.

According to reviewer Fritz Rumler,

… she thrusts herself into the music, aggressively, directly, furiously, roars in the most beautiful opera alto, then, through shrieks and squeals, precipitates into luminous soprano heights, she parodies, satirises, and howls on stage like a dervish.

The album gained significant attention throughout Germany and abroad, both for its hard rock sound and for Hagen's theatrical vocals, far different from the straightforward singing of her East German recordings. However, relations between Hagen and the other band members deteriorated over the course of the subsequent European tour, and Hagen decided to leave the band in 1979, though she was still under contract to produce a second album. This LP, Unbehagen (which in German also means discomfort or unease), was eventually produced with the band recording their tracks in Berlin and Hagen recording the vocals in Los Angeles, California. It included the single African Reggae and a cover of Lene Lovich's Lucky Number. The other band members sans Hagen, soon developed a successful independent musical career as Spliff.