Available languages: EnglishJan Delay is the reggae alias of Jan Eißfeldt, a founding member of the German hip-hop collective Beginner who first found fame with his signature lyrical wit and lisping, nasal voice. Born in Hamburg in 1976, Eißfeldt co-founded Absolute Beginners in 1991. After changing its name to Beginner, the group earned notoriety in 1992 when one of its earliest songs, "K.E.I.N.E.," appeared on the Kill the Nation with a Groove mix, followed one year later by the release of Beginner's first proper EP, Gotting. In the wake of 1996's breakthrough Flashnizm, Eißfeldt founded his own label, Eimsbush, which quickly emerged as one of the premier imprints in German rap. With 1998's "Liebes Lied," Beginner scored its first German Top Ten hit and earned a coveted spot opening for the Beastie Boys on tour. Eißfeldt nevertheless confounded fans and critics alike when he issued the first Jan Delay single in 1999. A reggae cover of the Nena smash "Irgendwo, Irgendwie, Irgendwann," the record was nevertheless well received. A full-length LP, Searching for the Jan Soul Rebels, followed two years later. After reuniting with Beginner for 2003's chart-topping Blast Action Heroes, Eißfeldt resumed his solo pursuits, favoring a soulful, funky sound on 2006's Mercedes Dance. More Jan Delay albums followed, including a pair of live releases and a popular studio album, Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul.
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Jan Delay reinvented himself on his second solo album, Mercedes-Dance (2006), adding a newfound taste for soul-funk to his already well-established reggae-rap style, and it took him to the top of the charts in Germany. That album's big hit, the über-funky "Klar," is the direction in which he takes his third full-length solo studio effort, Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul, an album on which he and his band, Disko Nr. 1, indulge their passion for the disco-funk sounds of the late '70s. Echos of Chic, Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament-Funkadelic, and other such acts pervade Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul and make it something of an exercise in nostalgia for the days when actual bands (rather than machines) kicked out the jams. The reggae-rap style of Delay's first album, Searching for the Jan Soul Rebels (2001), is little heard here. While that might disappoint some of his longtime fans hoping for a return to form, there's otherwise nothing to complain about on Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul, a Deutsch funk effort par excellence that should propel Delay's popularity to new heights, in particular the fantastic lead single, "Oh Jonny," with its handclaps, horn blasts, backup vocals, and catchy hook. As easy as it is to get swept up in the disco-funk grooves and throwback spirit of Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul, there's an undercurrent of social commentary that makes this more than just party music. For instance, the album's title ominously harks back to Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo (1981), a harrowing film based upon the real-life story of a German teenager who gets caught up in the West Berlin disco scene of the late '70s and ends up a junkie prostitute. By and large, however, Delay dishes out his societal observations in an easygoing fashion and demonstrates a good sense of humor throughout. "Oh Jonny" is a good example of this. It helps also that he closes the album with "Disko," a song purely about dancing and partying that brings Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul to a climactic finale that leaves you feeling a bit breathless. It all adds up to a fantastic album that is not only a blast of fun but also smart and stylish. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo