Scorpions – Sting In The Tail (2010, Universal Music)
- Raised On Rock
- Sting In The Tail
- Slave Me
- The Good Die Young
- No Limit
- Rock Zone
- Turn You On
- Spirit Of Rock
- The Best Is Yet To Come
Klaus Meine – Vocals
Rudolph Schenker – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Matthias Jabs – Guitars, Background Vocals & Talk Box
Pavel Maciwoda – Bass
James Kottak – Drums & Backing Vocals
Tarja Turunen – guest Vocals on ‘The Good Die Young’
Producers: Mikael Nord Andersson & Martin Hansen
Total Time = 44:24
I’m 38 years old and the Scorpions have been making Hard Rock music since the year I was born, that’s a long time! The band was started in 1965 by guitarist Rudolph Schenker but the Scorpions started their professional recording career in February 1972 with the release of their debut album LONESOME CROW. The band has seen the heights of international success through four decades and now, with the release of their new album STING IN THE TAIL, the Scorpions are calling it a career. Back in November 2009, the Scorpions announced that they were recording a new album and that it would be their last. The coming world tour to support STING IN THE TAIL would also be their last even though they have planned a 2 to 3 year tour schedule to support the album. More importantly, it’s a chance for the band to say thank you to all the fans worldwide who have supported them for the last 38 years and to celebrate the reason the Scorpions exist in the first place…..to celebrate the joy of Music.
It’s hard to believe a world of Music without the Scorpions, I have been listening to Rock music for close to 30 years now and the Scorpions have been a HUGE part of my musical education. I discovered the band like most people my age did: through FM radio and MTV. From BLACKOUT (1982) up to 2007’s HUMANITY: HOUR 1, I have been buying Scorpions albums as soon as they are released and STING IN THE TAIL was no exception. Despite the sad news that the band was ending their career, I knew that any new record would be a classic because the band has been at the top of their game for a while. The world of Music isn’t always kind to it’s Hard Rock & Heavy Metal veterans but the Scorpions have always maintained solid fanbases around the world, including the U.S., where I have personally seen their last four sold-out tours in major arenas. Add that HUMANITY: HOUR 1 (2007) was an unexpected masterpiece, the band expanding and exploring their sound while creating a socially conscious Hard Rock record. That album made my Top 15 Albums of 2007…..so how would the Scorpions follow it up two years later with retirement on the horizon?
What I expected from the new album was a continuation of the updated sound on HUMANITY: HOUR 1 but what the band has created is an album that reflects what they are known for…..pure Hard Rock. STING IN THE TAIL is an album that falls into place alongside the band’s commercial Rock successes like SAVAGE AMUSEMENT (1988) and CRAZY WORLD (1990) and the mid-1990’s underrated gems FACE THE HEAT (1993) and PURE INSTINCT (1996). The sound is the basic Hard Rock the Scorpions have had for the last four decades and the usual formula of party rock anthems alongside stirring ballads is revisited in fine form. It’s a predictable sound but in a good way. HUMANITY: HOUR 1 had it’s detractors for being different and UNBREAKABLE (2004) wasn’t fully embraced by a lot of fans even though it was a return to the familiar formula. In a lot of ways, STING IN THE TAIL becomes the natural follow-up to PURE INSTINCT or maybe UNBREAKABLE.
The first thing I noticed about the album was the number of songs with the word “Rock” in the title. Anytime I see an album with more than two songs about “Rock”, I get a little worried that the band is strip mining a concept that’s been done over and over. The Scorpions have never been afraid of celebrating the ability to rock and using it for song concepts so it goes along with the proven formula. Songs like ‘Raised On Rock’, ‘Sting In The Tail’ and ‘Spirit Of Rock’ are all party Rock songs that follow the same direction as previous Scorpions classics like ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’, ‘Tease Me, Please Me’ and ‘Rhythm Of Love’. There is also the trademark Scorpions balladry, something the band used to be criticized for because their ballads became so popular. ‘The Good Die Young’ has moments that remind me of the classic ‘Still Loving You’ and ‘Lorelei’ has some similarities with ‘Send Me An Angel’ but the best ballad on STING IN THE TAIL is the final song ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’. There are some similar sounds between this track and the Scorpions’ mega-hit ‘Wind Of Change’, probably due to the upbeat nature of the lyrics and the mellow tempo, and it’s definitely one of my favorite songs on the record. ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is also prophetic in that this is the final song on the final Scorpions album but the band is sending a message that “the best is yet to come” in the future. Does that mean the band is keeping the door open to continuing on (like KISS)? Or is it that Meine, Schenker, Jabs, Kottak and Maciwoda are letting us know that the next chapter of their lives begins after the Scorpions cease to exist?
I have been giving STING IN THE TAIL round the clock playback since I bought it. At first, I really didn’t get into the album because it was your basic Scorpions record, something we’ve all heard before. I was looking forward to a continuation of HUMANITY: HOUR 1 and the updated sound…..maybe an HOUR 2? After repeated listens, and some comparisons to other Scorpions records, STING IN THE TAIL grew on me and I’ve grown to really enjoy it. If you’re going to end your career on a high note then I guess you should follow the successful formula of making records that you’ve followed for the last 38 years. The Scorpions have created an album that can sit proudly with previous successes and put a positive Hard Rock stamp on their career. The band has done what it has always done: make a good Hard Rock record. It may not be their absolute best but it is definitely far from their worst…..if you’re a true Scorpions fan, then you will definitely be happy with this album.
‘Raised On Rock’, ‘Sting In The Tail’, ‘The Good Die Young’, ‘Lorelei’, ‘Spirit Of Rock’, ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’