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A lot of music from the early 80's gets called "classic rock," but this album really is a classic, and is one of the best by Scorpions. The first thing you hear is that simple yet memorable riff to the album opener, Blackout, and it continues to kick ass the entire way through the album. There's a nice mix of rockers and ballads on this one, with Dynamite standing out in the former category, and When the Smoke is Going Down standing out in the latter category.
The solos, the rhythm guitars, and the vocals all add up to make a unique pop metal experience that is unmatched. The songs are all catchy here: even the lesser songs such as Now! are enjoyable when you're actually listening to them. The rhythm riffs are often simple yet enjoyable, and there are quite a few memorable ones on this album. There's a lot of great solos here, and you never get the feeling that they're doing solos just for the sake of doing them; they all add to the music and take the songs to new heights. Even the solo fills that most bands would use simply as a bridge are catchy.
Klaus Meine puts in a good vocal performance here, especially considering that he had surgery on his throat and they weren't sure he'd be able to sing on the album at all. The lyrics can be a bit immature (e.g. Arizona), though they do try to make serious points at times (China White). But this is pop metal, so what's important about the lyrics is that the choruses are catchy and memorable, and Scorpions covers that just fine. The last three songs provide a nice variety to the album, with Arizona being sort of a departure in sound from the previous songs, with it's laid back, light, fun, airiness. Next comes China White, a terrific, lengthy, creepy, bassy song. And then the album ends with the awesome ballad When the Smoke is Going Down. It really shows off the ability of Scorpions to write a variety of music, but still make it in such a way that it doesn't feel out of place with the other songs on the album.
Pop rock and pop metal bands should really take lessons from Scorpions when it comes to making catchy music that still has integrity. There's possibly no one better at it than them. And this album (along with Lovedrive) is a great example of how to do it. It's an awesome album, a classic, and one of the few albums I'm willing to give a score in the 90's to.