Nina Hagen in Ekstasy

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Nina Hagen in Ekstasy
Nina Hagen In Extasy.jpg
Studio album by Nina Hagen
Released January 10, 1985
Recorded 1984–85
Mediterranean Studios, Ibiza
Maracadet Studios, Paris
Genre
Length 37:45 (US Version)
35:24 (German Version)
Label Columbia
Producer Adam Kidron
Nina Hagen chronology
Fearless
(1983)
Nina Hagen in Ekstasy
(1985)
Punk Wedding
(1987)
Singles from Nina Hagen in Ekstasy
  1. "Universal Radio"
    Released: January 1985
  2. "Spirit in the Sky"
    Released: 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]

Nina Hagen in Ekstasy is the third studio album by German singer Nina Hagen, released on January 10, 1985 by Columbia Records. Nina Hagen in Ekstase, a German version of the album, was released the same year. It is her last album to be released on the Columbia Records label, before her recording contract expired in 1986. The album is mainly produced by Adam Kidron and was recorded in Ibiza and Paris. Hagen worked with Karl Rucker and Billy Liesegang and wrote most of the songs on the album.

Unlike her previous disco-influenced album Fearless (1983), Nina Hagen in Ekstasy is musically more punk rock with elements of dance music. It contains cover versions of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" and Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky".

After its release, Nina Hagen in Ekstasy received mixed reviews from the critics and although it was released during the rise of Hagen's popularity in the United States, the album was not a big commercial success. She appeared as a guest on many television shows, including Late Night with David Letterman and The Merv Griffin Show, where she promoted the record. In January 1985, she performed at one of the largest music festivals in the world, Rock in Rio, where she performed most of the songs from the album.

The lead single "Universal Radio" became a club hit, peaking at number 39 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs.

Background and recording[edit]

After the success of her 1983 album Fearless, Hagen went on to record a new album, more punk rock than her previous one. She changed her image, sporting a shocking pink, waist-length mane and black eye makeup, and teamed up with Karl Rucker, with whom she had already worked on her two previous albums, and started working with Billy Liesegang and Peter Krause. The recording process was affected by Adam Kidron's motorbike accident which caused him getting numbness in his arm.[2]

Composition[edit]

Hagen has been vocally compared to Wendy O. Williams.[3] The opening and lead song "Universal Radio" was co-written by Hagen and Ron Dumas, who had previously recorded the song in 1983 with his band Ron Dumas Group. She later described the song as not being musically very interesting and that she originally wanted to do her vocals differently, but was directed by the recording company to make the record more "commercial". "Gods of Aquarius" begins with a downtempo intro before becoming a heavy rock song, resembling some of Billy Idol's early records. Lyrically, the song is one of many, where Hagen talks about UFOs, referring to her 1981 experience with spotting something that looked like a cosmic ship in Malibu. It was during the time she was pregnant with her daughter Cosma Shiva.[4] On "Russian Reggae" she puts on fake, over-the-top Russian accent and sings about the dangers of a nuclear war. Her take on Paul Anka's song "My Way" was already recorded and released on her 1980 extended play, but became one of her signature songs, which she performed at many of her shows. In the next song, Hagen talks about living on a fictional street "1985 Ekstasy Drive". The track has heavy guitar riffs and simple lyrics.

In "Prima Nina in Ekstasy", Hagen sings about herself being entitled the "Mother of Punk". When she arrived in London in 1977, she was already 21, while the other people on the punk scene were all about 15 or 16 years old. That was when she first received the title. The song features heavy synths and male background vocals. The cover version of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" appears on the album in two versions. The first is in English and the second, "Gott In Himmel", is a reprise sung in German. It again refers to her UFO sighting in Malibu.[5] "Atomic Flash Deluxe" is build around a simple bassline and electronic samples. It is the most experimental song on the album. Hagen mentions cocaine, harakiri and Babylon. The last song is a punk version of "The Lord's Prayer", which features an interpolation of Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance".

Singles[edit]

"Universal Radio" was released as the album's lead single. The song was premiered by Rodney Bingenheimer on the radio station KROQ.[6] It was the only song of the album that got in the charts. It peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs. The music video for the song featured a footage of her performance at the Rock in Rio festival. "Spirit in the Sky" was released a promotional single. The music video for "1985 Ekstasy Drive" was also released. It was shot in the streets of Los Angeles, California.

Track listings[edit]

Nina Hagen in Ekstasy
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Universal Radio"  
  • Ron Dumas
3:35
2. "Gods of Aquarius"  
3:27
3. "Russian Reggae"  
  • Hagen
  • Rucker
  • Michael Dosco
4:35
4. "My Way"   4:26
5. "1985 Ekstasy Drive"  
  • Hagen
  • Rucker
  • Billy Liesegang
  • Peter Krause
3:20
6. "Prima Nina in Ekstasy"  
  • Hagen
  • Rucker
4:28
7. "Spirit in the Sky"   5:15
8. "Atomic Flash Deluxe"  
  • Hagen
  • Dr. Livingstone
  • Max Lorentz
4:02
9. "The Lord's Prayer"  
  • Hagen
  • Rucker
3:21
10. "Gott Im Himmel"  
  • Hagen
1:16
Total length:
37:45

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nina Hagen in Ekstasy at AllMusic. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  2. ^ Novak, Ralph and Hiltbrand, David. "Picks and Pans Review: Nina Hagen in Ekstasy", People, July 8, 1985.
  3. ^ Novak, Ralph and Hiltbrand, David. "Picks and Pans Review: Nina Hagen in Ekstasy", People, July 8, 1985.
  4. ^ Matsumoto, Jon. "Fleshing Out The Spiritual Side Of Nina Hagen", Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1987.
  5. ^ Matsumoto, Jon. "Fleshing Out The Spiritual Side Of Nina Hagen", Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1987.
  6. ^ Dumas, Ron. "Bio", rondumas.com
  7. ^ Nina Hagen in Ekstasy (LP, CD). Nina Hagen. Columbia Records. 1985. CBS 26421. 

External links[edit]