Picks and Pans Review: Love Life
The group Nena, which sounds as if it ought to come from southern California, is from Germany. Berlin, which sounds as if it ought to come from Germany, is from southern California. That is the logic of rock 'n' roll. Berlin does at least stand for a kind of pop-Weimar decadence, but the group has toned down some of its seaminess in this, its second mainstream LP. While the songs, most of them composed by bassist John Crawford, still center on sex, they do so more indirectly. In No More Words, lead vocalist Terri Nunn sings, "We make love and it's all the same/Your eyes show nothing, no lover's flame/Don't promise we can work it out/You can leave right now if you're feeling doubt." Nunn is more assured and subtle than some of her New Wave sisters; she also lets an occasional hint of warmth creep in, which is practically unheard of in these automaton days. Giorgio Moroder co-produced two cuts, which makes for catchy rhythmic hooks as well as too much reliance on them. The group survives, however, with its identity intact. Beg, Steal or Borrow echoes with a hypnotic, danceable sense of desperation, Fall is an all but sentimental down-tempo track, and Now It's My Turn is an anthem for revenge. And always, like its namesake city, Berlin operates under a sense of tension that seems to inform everything it does. (Geffen)
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