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
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.
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