Great Rock Albums of 1983: Berlin- Pleasure Victim
Everybody forget all about the 1986 single, “Take My Breath Away” for a moment, well actually, you can forget about it all together for all I care. Three years earlier, the artists behind that single didn’t sound very much like that. In 1983, when new wave was mentioned, Berlin was the second name that came to mind after Missing Persons. They too, incorporated everything I associated about the new wave genre back then.
Berlin came to my attention in said year when I heard their first single, “Sex, (I’m A)” on the radio. It was the lyrics to the song that caught my ear. Hearing “I’m a bitch, I’m a slave, I’m a Goddess, I’m a little girl when we make love together” amused me very much. Note: I know the above isn’t in the correct order of the song but all those lyrics appear in it. Still it’s a cool song. The rest of the album, “Pleasure Victim,” follows in what I call the new wave vein. While keyboards and synthesizers dominate the songs, they are used very well and not played in the dumb choppy way that synth pop bands would later use. There is a hint of guitar in them as well, especially in the hardest song, “Masquerade,” which is my number one on the album. “The Metro” is also a good tune, probably because I remember it as their second single from the album. Though, I’m not impressed with the last two songs on “Pleasure Victim,” the other songs are good enough to carry the album. Listening to it again after so many years, I remember why I liked the new wave sound in 1983.
Let’s talk about ladies for a moment. In this case, it’s Berlin’s lead singer Terri Nunn. She has a great voice, as good as any of the female singers around at the time. Both her and Dale Bozzio were every bit as good as the one female singer who got most of the accolades throughout the mid 1980s. Fifty 80smetalman points if you can guess who I’m referring to here. Anyway, Terri Nunn didn’t get the respect she deserved back then both as a singer and as a beautiful woman. I don’t remember seeing any Terri Nunn posters around at the time. Thinking about her and Dale Bozzio, there is little to choose from in physical beauty or vocal ability.
- Tell My Why
- Pleasure Victim
- Sex (I’m A)
- The Metro
- World of Smiles
Terri Nunn- vocals
Chris Ruiz-Velasco- guitar
David Diamond- synthesizers, backing vocals, guitar
John Crawford- bass, co-lead vocals on “Sex (I’m A),” synthesizer
Daniel Van Patten- drums, percussion
Reflecting back to 1983, I think the year was a reckoning for the two bands I will forever associate with new wave. A year later, Missing Persons would continue to go in the new wave direction and their album would commercially flop, though I still intend to visit it. For Berlin, they would essentially become a top forty band but that’s further down the road. For now, “Pleasure Victim” was a cool new wave album that was different to all that was around at the time.
Some personal notes here: Another thing that softened the blow of not being able to see Hell’s Bells this weekend is the fact that my Bloodstock tickets came this week. I’ll be going for all three days, so look out come August! The other was that I got a ‘like’ on Twitter from none other than David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame for my post reporting the passing of Keith Emerson. To me, that’s a huge honour.
Next post: Peter Gabriel
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