Berlin

Berlin

To me, this video for ‘Sex (I’m A…)’ is a perfect example of early 80s MTV. I’m a sucker for studio videos from this period anyway, typically relying on props for storytelling and scenario. However, it’s the smooth cinematic motion and textures that make this feel almost luxurious. There’s no doubt that the label, Geffen, had provided a decent budget for the video, and for good reason…

A hot, 21-year-old blonde by the name of Terri Nunn had recently rejoined the band as lead singer. Originally part of the group since 1979, Nunn temporarily left for a couple of years to continue her acting career (she had previously starred in the Donna Summer movie, Thank God It’s Friday and even auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars) and she appeared in several US tv shows around the turn of the decade. But by 1981 Nunn had opted to concentrate on a career in music.

Nunn rejoined Berlin at a time when bassist John Crawford was aiming for a more synthetic Kraftwerk/Ultravox approach. To my ears they ended up closer to a Moroder or Cowley hi-energy sound. Either way, this was minimal for a new wave pop group from Los Angeles and their early reception was mixed.

‘Sex (I’m A…)’, from 1982’s ‘Pleasure Victim’ EP, was co-written by Nunn and David Diamond. Its raunchy lyrics like “I’m a hooker… I’m a slut… I’m a slave” unsurprisingly sparked controversy, with many radio stations refusing to play it. This was a time when marketing your lead singer as a “sex kitten” was considered too shocking. Still, this was going to be their break and a slick video to show on MTV was everything back then. Also worth checking on the same EP is ‘The Metro’ for some 160bpm, 808-hissing electro pop.

It was four years later that they would find mainstream success with ‘Take My Breath Away’, produced by Giorgio Moroder for the film, Top Gun. It was a number one hit, but it was never them… they split soon after.

‘Sex (I’m A…)’, 1982

Posted by AC

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