Take my breath away may have been released nearly forty years ago, but Berlin show that they can reinvent their classics for a completely new experience with their recent release of ‘Strings Attached‘.
Various tracks from throughout their career are brought back to life with the inclusion of a full philharmonic orchestra, not only making each track sound like an ethereal dream but adding some incredible drama to the whole affair too. With the classic line up of Terri Nunn, John Crawford and David Diamond returning, this blast from the past is clean, powerful and for certainly delivers.
The twelve-track journey starts off very strong with ‘Take Your Turn‘, an opening that sounds like it could be from the latest superhero movie to hit the screens. It pulls no punches in demonstrating what this album is: epic and grandiose. It transitions smoothly into ‘The Metro‘, the updated 1982 hit is the first encounter of the weird fusion of 80’s electronic dance and classical instruments that works exceptionally well together.
This mix of genres is carried on by the inclusion of ‘No More Words‘ (1984),’ Masquerade‘ (1982) and ‘Like Flames‘ (1986) which are all progressive, synth-heavy, feel-good tracks. Supported by the strings, each song becomes so much more than the original; everything has a new level of impact.
A real highlight of the album is the classic ‘Take My Breath Away‘ (1986), probably Berlin’s most well-known track and their undeniably authentic 80’s anthem. It does not disappoint with an orchestral backing, in fact, it lives up to its legacy as a pinnacle of 80’s culture (along with Top gun). Not only is the hit a must listen, the dramatic introduction to ‘Now It’s My Turn‘ (1984) alone is a reason to give the album attention; the whole thing feels like it could have come from an older Bond movie with its striking synths, expressive chords and fun lyrics.
‘Strings Attached‘ closes out with some rock energy thanks to ‘Will I Ever Understand You‘ (1986) and ‘Hideaway‘ (1986), providing more of a glam rock spirit. It’s a nice change of pace as they are enclosed with the ballads of ‘On My Knees‘ (2019) and ‘You Don’t Know‘ (1986), all dripping with emotion and melancholy pop. Another stand out has to be ‘Sex (I’m A)‘ (1982) which embodies all things dance-pop with call and response lyrics, steady synth beats and head-bop worthy instrumentals.
Whether you’re a long time fan of Berlin, only know the hits or have stumbled across this album by accident, ‘Strings Attached‘ is a universal experience of fierce nostalgia with an evolved edge. It will genuinely take your breath away.
Keep informed on Berlin here:
Check out the latest episode of The Quite Great Radio Show
Episode 3 of ‘Just Checking In’ is now out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pNt2GF_LcA&t=197s
Words by Ellen Oakley