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Scorpions
Sting In The Tail
Universal Music
www.the-scorpions.com


There was a period, between 1983 and 1985, when the Scorpions ruled my world. They released 2 classic albums, Blackout and Love At First Sting, that just grabbed my teenaged ears and would not let go. My friends and I spent endless hours (and quite a few dollars) tracking down their entire back catalog which stretched back to the early '70s. The domestic releases weren't good enough, either. We had to find the German releases; the ones with the covers that were too risqué to be released in the United States. At fifteen, album covers were still titillating. During the summer of 1985 we hitched a ride from one of our grandmothers early in the morning in order to wait outside the local Stawberries so we could be the first ones to have a VHS copy of Worldwide Live on the day it came out.

Funny thing was, as quickly as they took over my musical life, they disappeared from my musical consciousness. Adolescents are fickle animals. They ride the ebbs and swells of hormones, blundering from one obsession to the next. Of course I still pull out those old classics a few times a year, but I never gave any consideration to what the Scorps have been up to these past 25 years. Apparently they've been up to quite a bit; touring the world and releasing new material every few years.

It was with trepidation that I approached their 2010 release, Sting In The Tail. Like the anticipation of seeing an old girlfriend at a class reunion, I worried that the Scorpions had become old and ugly. With the first chords of "Raised On Rock" I was instantly transported back to the mid-Eighties. The riff was like a remix of the classic opening of "Rock You Like A Hurricane". Klaus Meine's vocals have not lost a note. The talkbox guitar solo on "Slave Me", a tip of the hat to their classic "The Zoo". And from there they continue with a barrage of classic hair metal that sounds no less fresh in 2010 than it did in 1972 or 1985. It is as if the Scorpions are stuck in an eternal time warp, always sounding exactly the same while always sounding contemporary.

Now it wasn't all homecomings and happy memories with Sting In The Tail. I've always had a love/hate relationship with Scorpions ballads. Their musicianship has never been in question. Their songs are meticulously crafted; all gorgeous classical guitar work and power chords. The problem is that they are so heavy-handed. Each note of the guitar solo intended to shove a particular emotion down your throat. It's like having your heartstrings pulled with a vice grip. Sting In The Tail has its share of ballads and the Scorpions formula remains the same and had me hitting the next button a couple of times. The only other weak moment comes with "Spirit Of Rock". Maybe it's just me but my interest in odes to Rock-n-Roll disappeared back in the '80s, about the time that I moved on from my Scorpions addiction.

The hard-hitting, hard-rock moments far outshine the weak ones. The Scorpions remain strong in 2010 and I thoroughly enjoyed riding down memory lane with them.

-George Dow

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