Not as "berlin" sounding as "Voyeur" so a bit disappointing
Daniel W. Kelly | Long Island, NY United States | 12/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This lineup of Berlin did an amazing job of capturing the essence of classic berlin with the Voyeur album, from it's synth dance tracks to its moodier mellow tracks to harder punk sounding songs. This disc has none of that versatility. It's all very raw sounding covers much in the guitar heavy style of live shows. Some of these cover version could have been given incredible, fresh, synth dance updates, such as "Fashion," "Erotic City" and "Big Time." Plus, "Never Let Me Down Again" is live AND the vocals are sung by one of the male members of the band. And "No More Words" is the live acoustic version with the original band from VH1 Band's Reunited.
This sounds more like a rough demo than the polished quality of Voyeur. The best songs on here are actually the two original tracks by Berlin. "Scream" is totally hot and could have fit in snuggly on the "Voyeur" album as could "Down and Dirty", which is reminscent of "pleasure victim" from the original Berlin EP from way back when."
George | Philadelphia, PA | 11/01/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"after the masterpiece that was "voyuer", i am very dissapointed in this. i have loved every single album from berlin. what sets berlin apart from other bands is, of course, terri nunn and her gorgeous vocals. she is, hands down, the best female singer since debbie harry. all i can say is that berlin is a band that doesnt need to be covering any one else's songs. they create beautiful songs of their own. i just hope we dont have to wait years for a new studio album. they were on the right track with voyeuer, their last album. this collection of songs is mediocore at best. hearing them sung in concert at a berlin show is one thing,and quite enjoyable, but on record they do nothing for berlin. sorry guys."
Leaves Me Tingling
Phil EnStein | Ohio | 04/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sex is easy. Sex as art is a little harder. Art that evokes sexual energy is harder still. Berlin is the master of the art. I am aware of no other rock band that leaves the listener so sexually charged. 4Play proves that Terri Nunn and Berlin have not lost their edge. This is a good example of their work. The live performance of "No More Words" compares favorably with the studio version on LOVE LIFE. Still, if I had to choose only one Berlin album, it would be their seminal PLEASURE VICTIM."
At least it's something.
H3@+h | VT | 10/31/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well it's not all new, but at least we get a few originals. For the most part though this is a covers album. It may me short, but it's also sweet. Songs from Prince, Marilyn Manson, Bowie, and Depeche Mode all get the Berlin treatment. We even get a cover of "For What It's Worth". And truth be known, I really like it. Also included is their own hit "No More Words" from a VH1 show. Like I said, at least we're getting something from them, and as I glance at the cover, I see Terri still looks as good as she sounds. Overall, I say "4play" is fun."
"Scream" is quintessential Berlin
Jeremy Gloff | Tampa, Fl United States | 07/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Listening to the vintage Berlin albums really takes me back. I remember owning the "No More Words" 7" when I was eight years old. I remember sneaking off to my uncle's storage room to sneak a peak at the "Pleasure Victim" EP---as wild as the 80s were--a song like "Sex" was much more shocking and forbidden twenty five years ago. Mom would not have wanted Jeremy learning the lyrics of that song!
One of my favorite things about the 80s were the 12" singles. You could always count on the hottest album cuts being extended, often with odds and ends tacked on that weren't available on the parent album. When exploring deep into an artist's dicography you could often find interesting b-sides and cover versions tucked away on those 12" singles.
The most recent Berlin album "4Play" feels more like a vintage 12" single to me than a proper full length album. The opening track of this album (which primarily consists of cover versions) is a Berlin original titled "Scream."
"Scream" kicks the album off with fuzzy ambient drone. A few seconds into the song the bassline and drum machine sneak in...massaging your neck. "Scream" presses its sensual fingernails into your skull and into other places I can't mention here. It's slow thudding electo beat is pure Berlin bliss.
It's odd that it took an album of primarily cover songs to glaringly show just how unique and classic Berlin are when they are at the top of their game. "Scream" struts around with the best of Berlin's classics. It's icy, sensual, cold, hot, seductive, emotional, emotionless, sexual, vulnerable, confused, and frigid all in less than four minutes. Like all of Berlin's finest moments. The greatest of Terri Nunn's abilities is to condense the confusion and lust of the human libido into four minute pop gems. And that gift is as evident on "Scream" as it was in "Sex" and "Touch" from twenty years ago.
After "Scream" what is left of the album? Unoffensive cover versions. Some work, some don't. Berlin were pioneers of the electro sound that's come back strong in this decade. Goldfrapp, Fischerspooner, and many of the other current electro acts all owe at least a little bit of their thunder to the early Berlin releases. So with Berlin being pioneers, it feels a bit anticlimatic to hear tame versions of Depeche Mode, Prince, and Peter Gabriel songs. I am sure this was a fun album to make. But with "Scream" finding Berlin at the peak of their abilities, these cover songs come off as little more than 12" single filler and fodder. Mind you, this is competent, harmless, and sometimes entertaining filler and fodder. But it only speaks on the strengths of Berlin's legacy that it took an album of covers to show how great they are when they do what they do best. Terri Nunn is sex."