Nina Hagen is surprisingly someone (being a fan of 80’s new wave and alternative music) I missed out on.. until now and of course I was hooked on her music as soon as I heard her, from the sharp and progressive musical arrangements to the odd, strange and wild idiosyncrasies both on stage and the amazing vocal range but nevertheless alluring and carved and interesting and one off discography and legacy in the punk/alternative music scene.
FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE SINGLES
- My Way – To be honest Hagen’s cover punches more creditability into the lyrics, mixing her amazing range (going here, there and everywhere within the venture of the song), a creepy synth intro and sung in both english and german in is a tour de force in originality.
- Ziggy Stardust – I like Hagen’s take on this glam rock classic- her range is broader than Bowie’s and from the first perceiving and haunting intro to the waspish sting of her voice waving and meandering it has a epic quality to this she does (like with My Way) make this song her own.
- African Reggae – Who would of thought that punk, rock, reggae and opera could go to together from the mix of range broadening palette her musical genre mashing and lavish musical arrangement to flowing the nature of the lyrics this is experimental music at it’s best.
- Smack Jack – The ethereal whistling at the start to the punchy chorus and the lingering and overt message of someone who is in the hell of drug abuse the guttural rang of her voice as if she is talking to the person directly (as a male alter-ego). It comes across very much like spoken word single with the musical arrangement kept to a minimal (electronic bursts and guitar riffs) an important message to be held in this single.
- Zarah – With an impressive opening that comes across like an old movie or sitting in a sold out opera house it has a dream-like quality then the smash, crazy riffs, quirky danceable electronic licks and the rolling of Nina’s Rs this single has the unique ability to be both upbeat and odd all rolled into one – for all the right reasons of course love is very much for everyone.
- New York New York – A cool opening which comes across almost jazz like with a smattering of a repetitive beat then boom the night life of this famous city is given a take all of its own with a story on Nina going on her travels in the diverse night-life that has a epic quality and amazing over-the-top chorus that is operatic in tones and integrity is bone-tingling and danceable track indeed.
- Universal Radio – A song in itself about being one’s self and not being embroiled in the negativity around you just want to be balanced? This may well be the song for you with a catching beat – personally I prefer the 12inch Long play version of this as it emphasises the musical arrangement of synthesizer and beats and the high pitched melodic quality of Nina’s vocals.
- Don’t Kill The Animals – w/ Lene Lovich – What a message to be put on a vocal track if there ever was one with a punching beat, guitar riffs that are danceable and infectious Nina’s and Lene’s vocal ranges complement each other in this progressive song about animal welfare, experimentation and animals rights the context is simple, straight forward and hard hitting as is it’s message, how it is sung and how it is played.
A one off in her own right (on how you look at it) indirectly and/or directly paved a way for alternative music to be accessible to the public, with unique musical arrangements, depthful lyrics, integrity and humility she never got consumed by ego or greed but stayed true to herself and that is something she still lives by today – check her music out. 🙂
Paul Isaacs 2015
Zarah – (German Version)