Title - '4Play' (Berlin Records)
Artist - Berlin
Having listened to this album four times now, and others in the office also, the word of mouth spreading whispers behind me was, "Avoid this covers album and invest your hard earned money on Berlin's Best Of if you're in need of a little Berlin fix" ... and who isn't, let's be honest?! That said, and knowing that the lovely Berlin lead singer and #1 musical sex Goddess Terri Nunn herself had asked me to review this CD, I took a step back from the music, blocked out all the melodramatic whispers, and decided to drive with the CD for a while in my Z28 cherry red 1997 Camaro ... tops off, of course! Well, that certainly did the trick as now here are my thoughts straight from the heart, straight from the groin, straight from the gut. 4Play is - at its core - a fun album. True it may not be the classic Berlin of old (band member wise), but this really tight-knit gathering of souls is as good as any out there today. Terri's vocals are still amazingly on top form, all the high and low notes found, beaten and hung out to dry. Whilst the guitar licks are still powerhaus, provocative, the keyboards and synths are never overwhelming, always considerate of the vocals. Although containing a large chunk of cover songs, '4Play' is a great example of Berlin's musical accomplishments - then and now. And yes, the live performance of "No More Words" (from the VH-1 Bands Reunited gig back in 2004) compares favorably with the studio version on Love Life, but the previously-unreleased album closer "For What It's Worth" is also a classic-sounding track. As for those covers, well, sure some are questionable choices, and yet some hit home like they were meant for the Berlin treatment from conception! For me I think the best track is Manson's "Dope Show" where all the original hype and pomp of the song is still brought forth kicking and screaming. Amazingly Gabriel's "Big Time" is another stand-out cut, something that I wouldn't have guessed from looking at the track listing! Bowie's "Fashion" is borderline, Mode's "Never Let Me Down Again" is a complete note-for-note reincarnation (and unfortunately not a reinvention), whereas Prince's "Erotic City" could well have been left behind in the editing room ... it just doesn't fit, sorry. And for all you fans out there craving new Berlin songs, there are two here for the taking. The first, "Scream" leads off the album and gets us off quicker than a BJ from a 50 cent hooker! Gothic, slow and sexy. Just the way God intended them to sound! The second, "Down and Dirty" is more synth driven, and steers itself in a slightly different direction, but is nonetheless pure Berlin. In closing, sure most people would claim their favorite Berlin album to be the seminal Pleasure Victim, but come on guys it's 2006 ... try dipping your feet into the new gothic-inspired waters brought our way by Nunn and co.!