Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Berlin - Love Life
Today (March 12th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Love Life, the third studio album from Berlin. This 1984 release spent thirty weeks on the US Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 28. It also went to number 85 in Canada and number 3 in New Zealand.
Side one begins with the anticipatory "When We Make Love". It starts of soft and slow before picking up the pace, much like a racing heart filling with passion.
"Touch" is an up-tempo dance track about a woman who hooks up with a man for a night of passion, only to later learn that he is married with a child.
"Beg, Steal or Borrow" is up next, and it seems to follow along the scenario set up in the previous track. Here, the woman stays in this relationship as the other woman, hoping it will change in her favor.
"Now It's My Turn" was the second single; it stalled at number 74 on the US Billboard Hot 100. I do not recall this one at all; if I had ever heard it on the radio back in 1984 it did not make much of an impression on me.
"Dancing in Berlin" was the B-side to the first single and the A-side to the third single. It went to number 12 in New Zealand. The song is about the divisions in the German city during the early 80's and even makes reference to the wall that had not yet been torn down. I like the beat on this one but the abrupt shout-outs of certain words on the verses is a little oft-putting. I am not sure if repeated exposure to the track would change the latter or not.
Side two starts with the bouncy "Pictures of You". I really like the percussion on this one which is highlighted on the song's bridge.
"In My Dreams" focuses on a fantasy that a woman is too shy to make a reality. But, I think, if she were just as confident in her daily life as she is in her dreams, she could easily have landed the guy.
"No More Words", the first single, went to number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 5 in Canada and New Zealand. Of course, I remember this one very well from both radio airplay and the music video airing in rotation on MTV. Listening to it, for the first time, in context with the rest of the album, it is easy to see why it was chosen for the lead single. In my opinion, it is the strongest track in the lot thus far.
"For All Tomorrow's Lies" has a bright and refreshing rhythm to it. This is easily my second favorite track on the side, if not on the whole original album.
The vinyl release closes with the mid-tempo "Fall". I like that it went with a simple one word title rather than the obvious "fall in love" which is part of the chorus.
The later CD release of the album added two additional tracks. Both "Rumor of Love" and "Lost in the Crowd" served as B-sides to some of the singles. "Rumor of Love" is different in that John Crawford takes the lead vocal duty from Terri Nunn; it is actually a bit of a welcome change. "Lost in the Crowd" has a nice, high energy to it that is also refreshing. In my opinion, I think this album would have been a lot stronger if these two tracks had been included originally, supplanting a couple other tracks.
Overall, Berlin's Love Life is a bit hit and miss for me. I plan to get a couple more of the tracks to add to my music library, but not all of them.
Word of warning, if you go over to Spotify to give this one a listen (as I did) you will find the last three tracks mislabeled. "Lost in the Crowd" is actually track twelve rather than ten, with the others shifting up accordingly. This same error seems to have propagated to digital download sites like Amazon.com and emusic as well; iTunes actually has them listed correctly. I pulled up an image of the 1984 release of the CD and the final track order there is "For All Tomorrow's Lies" (3:49 in length), "Fall" (4:04) and then "Lost in the Crowd" (4:38).
For 1983's Pleasure Victim, click here.