Picks and Pans Review: Nina Hagen in Ekstasy
Hagen, East Germany's gift to the rock underworld, would show up on the spectrum of modern women singers as close to Wendy O. Williams as anyone else. In Ekstasy is, for her, typically rude, crude and lewd. Hagen's mercurial looks are now shaped in a seeming homage to transvestite actor Divine: She sports a shocking pink, waist-length mane and jet-black eye makeup that appears to have been trowelled on her face. And if the cover photo strikes you as outrageous, wait until you hear the music. Hagen's voice ricochets from broad, operatic bravura, to the nasal punk style she helped originate, to a growl that sounds like the demonically possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist. The songs run from the humorous (Russian Reggae) to the profane (The Lord's Prayer). In Ekstasy also contains enough oddities to open a circus sideshow. Included are Hagen's bizarre rendition of the Frank Sinatra signature song My Way and an apocalyptic version of Norman Greenbaum's 1970 born-again boogie, Spirit in the Sky. Hagen's latest record is garish, decadent, hyperkinetic, sometimes amusing. It should be played only late at night, with the speakers off and the earphones on, so as not to alarm the neighbors. (Columbia)
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