Nina Hagen called me early this year asking me to produce her new gospel album.
The recording was fast and furious. I learned a lot, quickly.
Gospel music is BLUES and ROCKNROLL. The only real difference I could find was the subject matter, and sometimes, the intensity level.
There was a delicious process of jamming the ancient traditional sources into punkrock/cybernetics.
Nina was inspired, passionate, focused like I had never seen her. As the sessions were going on, she was often reading her new book in it’s entirety for an audiobook release. We set her up in a little studio upstairs and she would lock in there for hours, checking in on us regularly to make sure we were on track and putting some religious fervor into the proceedings.
I’ve known Nina for so long, I guess I talk about her matter of factly. There is no “matter of fact” about Nina. She is positively otherworldly. Just as any of you who are familiar with her would think. An impossible thing to really get across. Some people have something intangible. She does, she knows it, and she’s known it for a LONG time. It is her fabric, her essence.
But capturing it as a producer is also a very mysterious tight rope act. Lightening in a bottle.
Apparently, we did it:
Personal Jesus is a punk album in drumming and overall high-energy level only. What it really is, is the jumpingest left-field-holler gospel album since Gordon Gano put the Violent Femmes on the back burner to record The Mercy Seat.
And Personal Jesus is better.
Let me say first and foremost that when I heard that Nina Hagen was making an album of Gospel & Blues I was a bit wary of what it might sound like but on hearing ‘Personal Jesus’ I was just blown away. This album will be in my top albums of 2010. It is magnificent. Every track is a little masterpiece and I’m still in a state of shock because it was not what I was expecting. Kudos to Ms Hagen for demonstrating that she is actually quite a good singer with an ear for a great song. Once again the song ‘Personal Jesus’ is better than the original (and comes close to topping Johnny Cash’s version). Go and buy it, now!!
“Personal Jesus” refers on the one hand on the title of gecoverten Depeche Mode – and also on the intermediate target of a long search, the (knows how to Nina Hagen) be completed not necessarily already have. When you think of coming from the heart of Christian music is led inevitably to gospel, country and blues. If the punk icon that is actually a gospel album was added? Yes – it has. And now before all the fans of these genres in horror take on the head: this task has taken very seriously, does not use any flashy action and can contribute their very distinctive voice to the converted rock songs and traditionals.
Nina’s smoky voice is passed to the songs as if the good never done anything else. Fans of Depeche Mode will probably slightly taken aback when they hear the blues version of “Personal Jesus”. The implementation is, however, succeeded in completely. Other highlights: “Mean Old World” in the tradition of Nat King Cole, the dissipated Gospel-hit “Down At The Cross” and the joyous opener “God’s Radar”. Nina sings authentic and energetic. Politically motivated songs like “All You Fascists Bound To Lose” position on top of all the perfect complement dar. Strong woman – strong album!