After a brief career of fairly successful if not all that exciting synth/pop, Berlin suddenly rocked out on Count Three & Pray
, laying their cards on the table straight away with the dynamic opener "Will I Ever Understand You".
That's topped by the even better "Like Flames" two tracks later. From the na na na na
chant to its flying chorus to the driving rhythm, it remains one of the best rock songs of the 80s.
Other tracks that really take hold are "Trash" and "Sex Me, Talk Me" (the latter with a Frankie Goes to Hollywood-type rhythm during the verses), although the band also bring back the sleaze factor they had so far been known for ("Sex, I'm A...", of course), while lesser songs like "Heartstrings" and "When Loves Goes to War" are decent enough.
There are a couple of notable missteps however, none more so than the plodding ballad "Take My Breath Away". It just doesn't belong here, and is almost as bad as watching Top Gun
. At least the song is shorter.
The other misfire is the other ballad, the concluding "Pink and Velvet", which goes on and on with an uninspiring guitar solo (Ted Nugent is credited as one of the session musicians, so it might be him).
Bassist John Crawford handles much of the writing, although drummer Rob Brill is responsible for "Like Flames", while Terri Nunn's vocals are a powerhouse throughout.
Maybe it's because this was the first Berlin album I ever listened to, that I consider it to be easily their best, and yet it was a failure. I suppose you can't break out of the synth mold once you've become cocooned within it. Rated:
by Reviewer: The Doctor