In an industry where success is a fleeting notion, a career spanning over forty years is a marvelous and incredulous feat, something that Germany’s own hard-rock band Scorpions can show off with much pride. Through the highs, lows, and changing times, the band has always managed to produce wisely crafted songs that are instantly classified as theme songs for generations. The group, who are best known for anthems such as “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “Wind of Change,” and “Still Loving You,” return to the scene after a three year absence to deliver their final effort before retirement.
Entitled “Sting in the Tail,” the 17th studio album is an obvious return to what the band has come to be known for over the span of their careers and clearly honors the legacy and fan-base that Scorpions have established.
The album begins with the reflective and appropriately titled “Raised on Rock.” From the opening note, the lead guitarist hits every rock note known in history, to give off the 80s feel that fans of the genre are all too familiar with. The opening lyric “I was born in a hurricane” seemingly alludes to the band’s signature song “Rock You like a Hurricane.” With the addition of the talk-box and consecutive drum beats, the song becomes instantly catchy and starts off the farewell party with a bang.
The title track, though not as attractive as its predecessor, is given credit for the hard-rock musical arrangement that almost all rock bands of today seem to lack. The guitar solo is the best of the whole album. Thematically, the song is about a budding rock star on the road, chasing after his dream.
“Slave Me,” yet another rock song, deals with lust and the overall effect is established due to lead singer Klaus Meine’s distinct vocal and heavy accent. “Let’s Rock,” follows a similar effect.
The first power ballad is track number four, “The Good Die Young,” featuring Finnish singer Tarja Turunen on background vocals. Beginning as a slow ballad, the music slowly ascends to become a powerful rock melody that catches on immediately. The lyrics are reminiscent of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” as they deal with making the most out of life.
“No Limit” is perhaps the best hard-hitting song, musically, lyrically, and vocally. On this track, listeners are given the sense of accomplishing anything while the music is bound to make anyone get up and play air-guitar.
Purely a love song dealing with heartbreak, “Lorelei” is a power ballad that is bound to become an instant favorite. Since it has the exact right mix of music and lyrics, it could become the next “Still Loving You” and have a cult following. Speaking of which, another power ballad “SLY” is named after the acronym of the abovementioned song and instrumentally is an updated version of the 25-year old tune. It is not the strongest song on the album as it is almost weeping and verging on desperate but it is fitting on an album which serves to honor a legacy, like “Sting in the Tail.”
Hard rock continues in the form of the drum-driven “Turn You On” and the almost forgettable and ego-pleasing “Spirit of Rock.”
The highlight of the disc, however, is its closing track “The Best Is Yet to Come.” The song not only marks the end of the album but the end of the band in general. The same effects employed on “Lorelei” are used here, in addition to an easily repeated chorus. Also distinct is the mid-section with the dramatic build-up of the guitar. The message is very simple and is culminated by the following verse “How can we grow old, when our soundtrack is rock and roll?” And just like the album started off with a bang, it ends similarly, leaving behind a sense of wanting more.
To those who have been avid fans of Scorpions, the album should not be missed and certainly does not disappoint. To those who are not familiar with their extensive body of work, “Sting in the Tail” is a great opportunity to learn more about what they have done best in their long-standing career.