Thursday, October 14, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: Berlin - “No More Words”

Interestingly enough, we start off with shots of the band decked out in circa 1930’s outfits and wandering around on sets for that time period. Words are scrolling up the screen, explaining that the Depression-Era 30’s were not a fun time for a lot of people, with some of them turning “to a life of guns and crime”.

Well, yes, that’s true. But how does that apply to the lyrics of this song? Looks like we’re in for a fascinating ride. For now, I’m going to be polite and assume that drugs were not involved in the making of this video.

The music starts, and we see the Berlin band members dolled-up in gangster outfits, with one of them eating an apple, so maybe he was an early supporter of the vegetarian movement. Suddenly, the band/gang members start shooting, and Terri Nunn comes running out of a bank with what we can assume is a bag of cash. We can also assume that it’s not hers, since bank guards are trying to kill her, and bystanders look unpleased with this development.

Terri jumps into the getaway car with her other gang members, and they peel out. (Well, as much as you can peel out when the roads are made of dirt.) Guns appear out of the back window of the escaping vehicle, and violence ensues. A dweeby guy runs out of the bank and starts shooting at the car, but we know he’s not going to hit anything because he’s wearing glasses and isn’t cute. Dweeby guy tells a nearby sheriff, but the sheriff just wants to chaw on his tobacco and is of little use.

Cut back to the getaway car, where most of the folks are generally happy that they were successful with the escape, but Terri is especially excited and is moved to sing about it, belting out the chorus of the song with slightly-scary determination. Things are even more complicated because her odd, duo-tone hairdo is completely distracting.

Okay, maybe the gang didn’t get away after all, because the other band members are hanging out the windows and firing at cars that are following them. Terri’s not helping at all, because she keeps singing with an intensity that is unnatural, but the other guys are doing what they can to prevent their bloody deaths. Well, except for John Lennon, sitting to Terri’s right. But we all know he was a pacifist and didn’t believe in violence, so that’s okay. (And if John’s there, you know Yoko is somewhere nearby, like in the trunk or under the hood.)

While the car chase continues, we cut back to the bank, where ugly people in tired outfits are figuring out what to do next. Since it’s the 30’s and they don’t have the Internet to look up options, their choices are limited.

Now we’re at some dust-bowl camp where poor people are not being successful at providing their children with a better life. These dirty children are wandering about, proving by their bushy hair that nobody in the camp has a decent brush. As the getaway car rolls into the midst of the camp, Terri is staring at the unkempt children, her own hair perfectly coiffed despite running from the law and fighting for camera attention with that one guy in the band that is kinda cute.

Oh wait, now we’re back on the highway, with Terri leaning out a car window and belting the chorus again, so I’m not sure what happened to the continuity. The other gang members are all celebrating, so I guess we can assume they killed all their pursuers. John Lennon, driving the car, is not as happy as the others, probably because this video goes against his invective that we should “give peace a chance”. Terri leans further out the window to show that she has cleavage, something that women weren’t allowed to do at the time unless they were in movies about strumpets who killed their lovers for the insurance.

Now we’re back at that squatter’s camp, with Terri still in the car and studying the homeless people who have forgotten about hygiene. She glances over and sees one of her band members carrying a gun and marching toward one of the dusty urchins. I have no idea what his intentions are, but since Terri has been on a tour bus with him, she realizes he’s up to no good. She screams the famous “NOO!” in the song, and then Bonnie jumps out of the car and starts snatching away weapons from her various Clyde band members.

Then Terri staggers around the camp, all frustrated, while the band members try to figure out what the hell the diva wants them to do this time. Well, I guess she just wants to sing some more, and she does. Once her concert is over, and it’s getting late, the gang drives off into the sunset, but not before throwing out the bag of money.

Okay, hold up. You’ve robbed a bank, you’ve killed people (presumably, because guns were involved and no one is chasing you any more), and you’ve committed glaring fashion crimes with unsettling hairdos and outfits that are less than flattering. Now you’re going to litter? Oh no, that’s just not right.

Quick scene with one of the homeless people running up to the spilled cash, holding bunches of it over her head, then letting it fall to the ground while looking sad. So… you haven’t had any money for so long that you don’t even know what it is anymore? No wonder you live in a tent.

Cut to the getaway car parked outside one of those roadside motels where each room is its own little bungalow. We see shadows in one of the windows indicating that either somebody is having sex or there’s a real festive round of polka dancing going on. Ominous cars slip up to the perimeter of the motel, indicating the party might be on the verge of turning sour.

Officers get out of the cars, turn on lights, and demand that Terri Nunn stop singing and that everybody come out with their manicured hands up. The door opens, and hey, isn’t that the dweeby guy from the bank? (Maybe not, maybe so. No one sent the script to me for approval and fact-checking.) Anyway, this guy is wearing long underwear, which makes the po-po advance on him with shotguns drawn.

We hear the roar of a car, and suddenly the real band members are racing out from behind the building and gunning for freedom. For once, Terri’s mouth isn’t wide open as she huddles against John Lennon. (Her position would probably irritate Yoko, if she could see it, but they’ve forgotten about her and she’s still in the trunk, scribbling the lyrics to a song about Indonesian refugees.)

Gunfire erupts, but this doesn’t stop Terri from suddenly turning to the camera and bellowing more lyrics. The sheer force of her voice helps the car move even faster, and the gang gets away, despite 700 law enforcement officers firing millions of rounds of ammunition into the back-end of the speeding car.

As the getaway car races down an unnamed highway, we see one of the other band members scream the next occurrence of “No more words!” in the song, which I would imagine does not sit well with Terri. I’m sure that he will be fired shortly, forced to leave the band and become part of the production team that comes up with Milli Vanilli in later years. These things happen when you don’t respect the rules of vocal ownership.

Back at the cheesy motel, the officers finally figure out that the gang got away, and they pile into cars to give chase. A bit late, since the Berlin Mobile is two states away, but they jump into their cars and race into the night anyway, because people eventually have to stop for a pee and they still might catch them. Or not.

The video ends with that one sort-of cute band member firing a weapon into the twilight sky. This doesn’t make any sense, but most things produced in the 80’s didn’t. Except for the business with the Berlin Wall coming down.



Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

1 comment:

  1. I loved that song. Correction--still love that song. Thanks for the flashback!