I’ll be up front about this one: I really never got Nitzer Ebb.
Back in my DJing days, I’d get tons of requests for “Join in the Chant,” “Murderous,” or “Warsaw Ghetto,” and I’d roll my eyes internally and slap it on just to keep the EBM fans sedated. I don’t know what it was — perhaps the sparse production that usually reduced the songs to drum machines and shouting wasn’t appealing to me — but I would never throw any Ebb on unless prodded.
That changed when Belief came out. While most point to “Join in the Chant” as the group’s high point, I’ve always been a sucker for Belief‘s big single, “Control I’m Here” (download), with its layered synths and brake-squealing sound effects. And unlike “Chant,” “Control I’m Here” doesn’t go on for three minutes too many.
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The packed dance floor proved that I wasn’t the only fan of this song, and the Razormaid! remix (download) only extends the pleasure. MTV grabbed onto the video and gave it quite a few spins on 120 Minutes, along with the album’s second single, “Hearts and Minds” (download).
I suppose I found it strange that an act that would have been resigned to an indie label like Wax Trax Records a few short years earlier was now on a major label and all over MTV. Things got even weirder when Depeche Mode took Ebb on the road for their next big tour a year later. As the years have gone by, I’ve warmed up a bit to Nitzer Ebb, although I defy anyone to sit through an entire album. Yikes.
“Control I’m Here” peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart in 1989.
“Hearts and Minds” peaked at #16 on the same chart that same year.
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