Nina Hagen: “Open My Heart (Dinner Time)”

GABO

Often with this feature we have to spell out the origin story for a young up-and-comer. Today? Not the case. That’s ’cause we’re talking about East Berlin-born New Wave & Punk trendsetter Nina Hagen. Despite bitter Cold War tensions, Hagen, with her operatic pipes and distinctive visual statements, instantly exploded with her backing band’s eponymous 1978 debut. After going solo in ’82, Hagen’s oddball aura, dolled-up wardrobe, and near-cartoonish makeup have helped her to become a powerful counterculture icon worldwide.

Strictly discussing studio output, Hagen’s prolific as hell; before this year she had sixteen LPs, two EPs, two live albums, fourteen compilations, and one original soundtrack album under her snappy elastic belt. But in light of Hagen’s undeniable legacy, we haven’t heard anything new since 2011’s Volksbeat.

That all changed this morning. Breaking a decade of studio silence, Nina Hagen just released her fourteenth solo record Unity. At a dozen tracks, Unity brings together nine new originals (including a duet with Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof as well as a George Clinton feature) plus three inventive covers (of Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, and Merle Travis). As is tradition in Hagen’s work, Unity does have somewhat of a political agenda. However, there are also several songs that are just plain fun and wacky. Case in point, Unity‘s penultimate offering “Open My Heart (Dinner Time)”. Between a trip-hop-esque breakbeat, chopped and pitch-shifted vocal samples, and elegant harp glissandos, “Open My Heart”, would have 100% blown the minds of ’81-era Tom Tom Club and well beyond…my own rattled noggin included.

Open My Heart (Dinner Time)

Nina Hagen


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