Welcome back and here we are for Part II of the Scorpions Album by Album Challenge! Part I was really a lot of fun but how did the Scorps do for Part II? Well, read on as we kick things off with 1988’s Savage Amusement and wrap things up with the band’s last release, 2015’s Return to Forever. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these albums as well. 3…2…1… discuss!
Release Date: April 18, 1988
The Good: Don’t Stop at the Top, The Rhythm of Love, When Passion Rules the Game, Walking on the Edge, Love on the Run, Believe in Love
The Indifferent: Media Overkill, Every Minute Every Day,
So things got a bit different on this album. Four years after the stellar Love at First Sting, Savage Amusement has the Scorpions sounding quite a bit differently. While, for the most part, I really enjoyed the songs, they just don’t seem to have that same captivating magnetism that the last batch of songs did. While some of the songs all have this kind of sensual, let’s get it on kind of vibe, there are still some great rocking songs. “Don’t Stop at the Top”, “We Let it Rock, You let it Roll”, and “Love on the Run” are fucking amazing songs and honestly, I would’ve loved more of this and less of the sexy time “The Rhythm of Love” kind of stuff. That being said, the sexy time shit is pretty bad ass in its own right.
Savage Amusement has some pretty great moments and in all honesty is an album that I feel is definitely worth having. With the exception of a couple of “meh” songs, this album is pretty solid. It’s not my overall favorite sound or songs but again, it’s worth having, worth listening to, but I wouldn’t necessarily call this one a “go to” album for me when I want to listen to some great Scorpions style hard rock/metal.
Release Date: November 6, 1990
The Good: Tease Me Please Me, Don’t Believe Her, Wind of Change, Lust or Love, Hit Between the Eyes, Money and Fame, Crazy World, Send Me an Angel
The Indifferent: To Be With You, Restless Nights, Kicks After Six,
This album was so fucking huge. I remember when this album came out. I was in high school and I even saw them on this tour and I thought this album was the fucking shit. Listening to it all these years later, it honestly hasn’t aged all that well. Sonically it sounds fucking great but some of the songs just sound dated, contrived, and just mediocre. Nothing really sucks on this album at all but it’s just not their strongest stuff. “Tease Me Please Me” is a lot of fun and “Wind of Change” still sounds pretty remarkable. “Hit Between the Eyes” sounds fantastic and it very well could’ve been a great song on Love at First Sting. “Lust or Love” is probably my 2nd favorite song on this album as it is chockfull of melody and a really great chorus but it’s “Send Me an Angel” that steals the show.
I was talking to a friend about this. The Scorpions had this way of writing some truly classic, mellow tunes but they always did it better than many of their peers. In a genre where bands were forcing themselves to write some cheesy love song or power ballad, the Scorpions did it with ease and they did it very naturally with a hearty does of sincerity. In my opinion, few did this type of song better than them. As a whole, Crazy World is just “ok” but there are some really great moments on this album that make it worth owning. It’s a very un-insulting album and it’s actually a pretty easy listen.
Face the Heat
Release Date: September 21, 1993
The Good: Alien Nation, No Pain No Gain, Someone to Touch, Under the Same Sun, Unholy Alliance, Woman, Ship of Fools, Nightmare Avenue, Lonely Nights
The Indifferent: Hate to Be Nice, Taxman Woman,
Now this album completely caught me off guard. I had no idea what to expect from this album but wow did it blow my mind. Right out the gates, “Alien Nation” blew my mind. This was lyrically some of the best, deepest stuff I have ever heard from the Scorpions and it sounded so natural. Songs like, “Under the Same Sun”, and “Unholy Alliance” show that the Scorpions totally have the capability of writing some really great, thoughtful stuff only to completely dumb it down again with “Hate to Be Nice” and “Taxman Woman.”
“Ship of Fools”and “Nightmare Avenue” very well could’ve been on Love at First Sting but it was “Woman” and “Lonely Nights” that stood out as my fave tracks. “Woman” had some of that weirdness that their earlier stuff had and “Lonely Nights” is yet again another beautiful ballad album closer in the vein of “Still Loving You.” Face the Heat was such a great surprise for me and it was so great to hear the band doing such fantastic material in a time when the landscape of hard rock/metal was changing so drastically. They stuck to their guns and delivered a fantastic album where even the “ok” tracks were still fun and very much listenable. I love it when a band surprises me like this.
Release Date: May 21, 1996
The Good: Wild Child, But the Best for You, Does Anyone, Stone in My Shoe, Soul Behind the Face, When You Came Into My Life, Where the River Flows, Time Will Call Your Name, You and I, Are You the One?
The Indifferent: Oh Girl,
At this point in the game I am still pretty shocked that the Scorpions didn’t attempt to try and mesh with the trends and to try and be alternative or even edgy. Instead, they have stuck to their guns and delivered a surprisingly good album. “Wild Child” and “Best for You” is definitely your formulaic Scorpions rockers which never disappoints. “Stone in My Shoe” is without a doubt one of the most different songs I’ve heard them do as this one really sounds more like a catchy radio friendly rock song. Not bad at all. Not my favorite but I love that they proved that they are totally capable of delivering a fun, catchy, good time rock n’ roll song. Songs like “Does Anyone” and “When You Came Into My Life” definitely have that classic Scorpions slow burn formula and as a whole, this album is, well, a Scorpions album. I did love the final track, “Are You the One” with its heavy Beatles influence. Such a different sounds from these guys.
One of the things that really stood out to me was the bass work. This is some of the best bass guitar work I’ve ever heard on a Scorpions album but as a whole, the album, while good, just isn’t all that exciting. I also feel like the production on this one is a bit on the thin, compressed side. I really think of this album had the same kind of full sounding mix as say, Savage Amusement, it would be a much better listen. Some really good songs on this album but I don’t feel like it’s a “must have.”
Eye II Eye
Release Date: March 9, 1999
The Bad: Mysterious, To Be No. 1, 10 Light Years Away, Eye to Eye, Yellow Butterfly, Freshly Squeezed, Priscilla, Du Bist So Schmutzig, Aleyah,
The Indifferent: Obsession, Mind Like a Tree, What U Give U Get Back, Skywriter, A Moment in a Million Years
Man, oh man. Ok, so I knew that this was going to eventually happen. The Scorpions finally attempted to make some sort of an experimental album and the end result is not good at all. While I admire bands who try to bend things and break out of the box a bit, sometimes it just doesn’t work at all and this is a prime example of that. The use of samples, drum machines, bizarre sound effects made it sound like the Scorpions were trying to be Radiohead.
There are a few decent tracks on here but even those just left a bad taste in my mouth. It just sounds like a band trying way too hard. A few songs such as “Mind Like a Tree”, and even “Skywriter” sound like they very well could have been great classic songs but again, their delivery on this album is just so contrived that it makes it hard to listen to. It’s no wonder they completely ignore this album as it is. If I were them I’d want to forget it too.
Release Date: June 22, 2004
The Bad: New Generation, Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em, Borderline, Blood too Hot, Can You Feel It,
The Indifferent: Deep and Dark, Maybe I Maybe You, My City My Town, Through My Eyes,
Unbreakable. Hm. While musically the Scorpions seem to be heading back to their signature sound, they didn’t quite make it all the way. This resulted in an album that once again sounds contrived, uninspired, and forced. Unlike the previous album, Unbreakable actually has real guitars, no drum machines, and no shitty sound effects. The biggest issue here though is that the songs just aren’t good.
Songs like “Maybe I Maybe You” and “My City My Town”, once again, have a glimmer of that old Scorpions spark but that spark never really manifests into a fire. As a whole, Unbreakable just never manages to catch fire as it just seems to plod on song after song. Unbreakable is unmemorable and an album that is unnecessary to own. Trust me on this one… you’re not missing a thing.
Humanity: Hour I
Release Date: August 28, 2007
The Bad: Hour I, 321
The Indifferent: The Future Never Dies, The Game of Life, Love Will Keep Us Alive, We Will Rise Again, Your Last Song, Love is War, The Cross, Humanity
Downtuned Scorpions? Man, this just did not work for me. With this album, I feel like the Scorps were trying to deliver something intelligent and even conceptual but again, it just didn’t work. There are a few moments of honesty in songs like, “Love Will Keep Us Alive” and “The Game of Life” but the songs just feel weak. I do have to say, however, that Klaus Meine’s voice has maintained its timbre and he sounds great.
I feel like that at this point in the game, a band like the Scorpions were trying so hard to be something that they just weren’t. The majority of these songs weren’t flat out bad but they just weren’t enjoyable to be honest. Listening to these last few albums really made me miss that kind of silly, fun kind of hard rock that made them a household name. Stop trying to be Dream Theater or Rush and just be the Scorpions. Please!
Sting in the Tail
Release Date: March 19, 2010
The Good: Raised on Rock, The Good Die Young, No Limit, Lorelei, Sly
The Bad: Slave Me, Rock Zone, Let’s Rock,
The Indifferent: Sting in the Tail, Turn You On,
So, Sting in the Tail is definitely one of those “be careful for what you wish for” moments. “Raised on Rock” was such a cool way to kick off the album as it was definitely a return to form but man, “Slave Me” and “Rock Zone” are just two examples of going back way too extremely. These two songs are worse than anything they ever did and pretty much could’ve been Poison songs. That being said, songs like, “The Good Die Young” and “Lorelei” are great examples of the band still doing something a bit more current sounding but still embracing the style and sound of their past songs. The crazy thing though is that the showstopping last song, “SLY”, is the most Scorpions sounding song I’ve heard in all of these later era albums. This song proved to me that they still have it in them and that they need to just fish it out.
All in all, Sting in the Tail is definitely a return to form but, again, on this spectrum the band sounds like they are trying too hard. It’s almost as if they were trying too hard to convince everyone that they were the band that they used to be. The songs just aren’t as well thought or even nearly well written. It’s a much easier listen but all in all, I don’t feel that this album is even remotely necessary.
Return to Forever
Release Date: February 20, 2015
The Good: Going Out With a Bang, We Built This House, House of Cards, All for One, Catch Your Luck and Play, Rollin’ Home, Hard Rockin’ the Place, Eye of the Storm, Gypsy Life, The World We Used to Know, Dancing with the Moonlight, Who We Are, One and One is Three, Delirious
The Bad: Rock My Car,
The Indifferent: The Scratch, When the Truth is a Lie,
I’m not sure if this is going to be considered the Scorpions final album but if so, I have to say that this album totally redeemed them. Opening with “Going Out With a Bang” was so much fun to hear and songs like “We Built This House”, “All for One”, and “Rock n’ Roll Band” have the band finally reminding me of why they were one of the best at playing this kind of music. “Gypsy Life” for me was the showstopper here. This song was such a beautiful song and it almost felt like a “goodbye” of sorts.
At 19 songs long, I really figured there would be a lot more filler but I was so pleasantly surprised to find that 90% of this album is solid as a fucking rock. Return to Forever is a truly fantastic album that is chockfull of awesome Scorpions classics in a modern time. The performances are absolutely stellar and lyrically I love the kind of nostalgic yet contemplative tone of the songs. This album is pretty much the Scorpions looking back on a long career and acknowledging all of the good times, all of the bad times, and doing so in the way that they do best… and that’s with great written, fun, and catchy songs. If this is truly the end, I’d say that this is one hell of way to go out without a doubt.