NINA HAGEN

(GERMANY)

UNITY

(2022)
LABEL:

AUTRE LABEL

GENRE:

ROCK

TAGS:
Dissonant, Electro, Female vocals, Happy, Intimist, Old School, Punk
"In spite of some questionable choices of production, "Unity" strings together the titles with a coherence and a certain eclecticism. A perfect entrance in the rich and colored universe of Nina Hagen."
ADRIANSTORK (27.01.2023)  
3/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s)
When she retired in 2021, Angela Merkel had a song by Nina Hagen, 'Du Hast Den Farbfilm Vergessen', played for her farewell ceremony. It is hard to imagine the former German chancellor as the muse of the German punk goddess. However, this unexpected tribute allowed us to hear again the name of the author of classics such as 'African Reggae', the sparkling ballad 'King Of Hearts' or the rap 'Michail Michail'. She seemed to have drawn a line on her career, her last album to date, the very rewarding "Volksbeat" dated from 2011. So what was our surprise to see Nina Hagen make her comeback at the end of 2022 with a new album entitled "Unity"...

The papess of punk - a very reductive nickname - has always shown eclecticism in her albums and this one is no exception. The one who can guess in advance the style of the following track is very difficult. The album opens with the explosive electro-rock 'Shadrack', which doesn't skimp on energy, and the following track 'United Women Of The World' also has a lot to offer. This intensity is found throughout the album and through different genres combined (pop, punk, funk, reggae, rap), on which the guitars are not left out ('Geld, Geld, Geld', 'Venusfliegenfalle'). Nina Hagen has always known how to surround herself well: the title track, an ode against racism, is a clever mix of dub, reggae and funk with none other than George Clinton (Parliament, Funkadelic) as assistant. 'United Of Women' was co-written by her American twin Lene Lovich and the Jamaican singer Liz Mitchell (Boney M).

On the final track, the acoustic folk 'It Does Not Matter Now', the German icon sings alongside a former Irish punk icon: Bob Geldof (The Boomtown Rats). Despite the passage of years, the 67-year-old German singer has kept her voice intact, the one that could impressively change from soprano to tenor. However, one can regret some studio effects (mainly echoes) and the use of vocoder that envelops her voice, making her less close to us (except on 'It Does Not Matter Now', where she offers herself in all intimacy). The vocals in German on 'Atomwaffensperrvertrag' might confuse those who don't know Goethe's language, but the others will admire the way she declaims words in an unknown dialect on a tribal rhythm.

The album also contains some covers, which is no proof of a lack of inspiration. Its German title won't tell you anything, but 'Die Antwort Weiss Ganz Allein Der Wind' is a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' In The Wind', more heavenly than the original. '16 Tons' by country singer Merle Travis (also covered by Johnny Cash) becomes a night rock on which the deep voice of the German witch hovers. 'Redemption Day', covered from Sheryl Crow, plays with the codes to fly away as a nervous ballad as disturbing as hypnotic.

In spite of some questionable choices of production, "Unity" strings together the titles with a coherence and a certain eclecticism. A perfect entrance in the rich and colored universe of Nina Hagen.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Shadrack
02. United Women Of The World
03. Unity
04. 16 Tons
05. Atomwaffensperrvertrag
06. Gib Mir Deine Liebe
07. Venusfliegenfalle
08. Redemption Day
09. Geld, Geld, Geld
10. Die Antwort Weiss Ganz Allein Der Wind
11. Open My Heart (Dinner Time)
12. It Doesn't Matter Now

LINEUP:
Nina Hagen: Chant
Bob Geldof: Chant / Invité
   
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