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The 80’s had been a successful decade for Scorpions, they reached the charts worlwide with a bunch of hits that made history. They were one of the pioneers of heavy metal back in the early days of that decade, developing a brand new sound that didn’t have much to do with what they did in the 70’s. These guys were usually versatile and creative enough to adapt to the times and changes of the whole rock/metal scene properly, without betraying their original roots and identity. Now that the 90’s had arrived, they had another challenge. Times had changed, but would they also modify their music direction? For big bands like them, I guess it was a temptation to get stagnant in the same formulas, as long as they had been proved effective. But these German metallers always have something refreshing to offer.
Maybe what you will find here is not particularly a radical sound change, compared to the classic records of Scorpions. Their music is still as lethal, truly consistent and sophisticated as usual, with some small differences, though. Now melody has become indispensable to define most of these songs, more notable and insistent. “Tease Me, Please Me” or “Don’t Believe Her” sound pretty casual and clean, featuring catchy leading vocals which are repeated enough times to get engraved in your mind without exhaustion. Melodic and polished cuts, yes but including a completely rough guitar support with Jabs & Rudolf’s usual violent tone, providing this material of impressive strength. And I guess the most remembered moments of the album are the couple of rock anthems “Send Me An Angel” and, the considered definitive Scorps tune, “Wind Of Change”. Klaus’ voice reaches another level on them, amazingly sweet, emotional and seductive. The instrumental support is also correctly constructed, with stunning arrangements and unpredictable elements (stratospheric keyboards, distorted voices, that unforgettable whistle). These guys have never been afraid of trying something alternative and refused the limitations others found in the fact of being considered heavy metal. The brilliant result of those hits demonstrates the great talent and possibilities of the group in the new decade. But don’t take wrong conclusions yet, this album is not only peaceful compositions and melody. Aggression and power are raw and vibrant on killer tracks like “Hit Between The Eyes” and “Kicks After Six”. Frantic rhythms, devastating guitar lines and pure energy is what those songs are all about. The tempos slow down for a while on “Restless Nights” and “Money And Fame”, on which intensity increases incredibly, featuring those immense weighty riffs that might remind you of their 1982 huge classic “China White”. So there’s an inspired variety of styles in these 11 songs, each of them have something special and characteristic.
They did it in the early 80’s with the masterpiece “Lovedrive”, and they did it again with this record. Scorpions faced the 90’s with talent, creativity and ambition, making something memorable, slightly different and fresh. Definitely, they refuse to repeat the commercial attempt of the previous album, “Savage Amusement”, to do what is natural for them: heavy metal. Of course, some moments here are quite commercial, unconsciously I guess, because after all, the relentless fierce guitar riffs are far from mellow and inoffensive during the whole LP. Though, the choruses and lyrics are, at times, repetitive and very polished, as you can check on “Lust Or Love” and “To Be With You In Heaven”, ideal to sing along. Other times, outrageous and violent (the title-track, for instance). The group combines several patterns and sounds to avoid monotony and uniformity, a sensible choice to escape the precitable ways of others who got stuck in the previous decade cliches. All members of Scorpions contribute essentially to make this brilliance possible. I have to insist on how spectacular guitar lines are, incendiary and abrasive, sometimes humble enough to let vocals and melody become the main attraction instead. The combo Matthias-Schenker shows no weakness, making a magnificent exhibition of virtuosism and roughness. The solos are also exquisite, immaculately developed and straight, always controlled and satisfactory. Vocals are also one of the most unforgettable elements here. I never heard Meine’s voice reaching such perfection, grace and texture, plenty of sentiment. Solid on both outrageous and quiet numbers. Lyrics are deep, mature and have something important to share, now less controversial and horny than before (sadly!). And the rhythmic section Buchholz-Rarebell is pretty competent, giving these cuts their appropiate rhythmic bases. Sad Francis left after this record and its following tour.
This CD is one of the most vital of the last 25 years, one of the finest of the whole 90’s. Scorpions surprised us again, refusing to make the same album again, exploring new musical paths, elements, arrangements. But, as I said before, they never forgot about their genuine attitude, intensity and nature. Something absolutely admirable after such a long career. Others would try to abuse of their popularity, ballads and commercial promotion. Not Scorpions, who never took their profession as an empty business. Records like this prove it, away from fleeting trends, rather honest and unique. Let the wind of change blow.
Despite the fact that they’re Germany’s best-selling musical export, metal, rock or otherwise, there’s a surprisingly meager amount of reviews for their stuff on this site. And it seems like half of them can be credited to myself and saintinhell. No justice whatsoever for such a great band. Well…make that a once-great band, as it’s around their eleventh studio album Crazy World that I stopped buying their records and started borrowing/downloading them, simply because the quality of their releases started to decline.
As the last reviewer so justly put it, “Wind of Change” is the album’s only selling point. A touching Klaus Meine ballad about the fall of the Berlin wall (a subject that surely hit close to home, so to speak), it is hands down the band’s finest softer moment and maybe one of the best power ballads of all time. It’s endearingly simple, but little touches, like the whistling and the half-measure in the verses, make it an absolute winner in my book.
The rest? Well, the rest is the Scorpions playing “heavy metal” to the MTV crowd. The same generic rockers that began creeping into the band’s albums around Animal Magnetism and began filling them around Savage Amusement are the order of the hour. It’s still a pretty catchy album, but that doesn’t say a whole hell of a lot. After all, Ratt was catchy, weren’t they? Actually this sounds like Ratt at times (“Don’t Believe Her”), while its just Scorpions-style hair metal at others. Riffs here and there stick out, such as that “To Be With You in Heaven” verse thing, but there’s no depth to these songs. Guitar solos are trivial, songwriting is butt-simple, and Klaus barely registers a pulse on these lifeless tracks. This becomes more unfortunate in light of the band embracing the new CD format, meaning that there’s fifteen to twenty minutes more filler than on their earlier albums.
One of the only nice things about Crazy World in regards to some of the other albums of this period is the production, which displays perhaps the fullest Scorpions sound ever. Some say it’s a bit overproduced, citing the ballad “Send Me an Angel” as example, but it’s still one of the most even recordings in their catalogue. Tracks on the heavier end like “Restless Nights” get a bit more clarity than they would have otherwise. If only they weren’t so boring.
Energy, or more specifically the lack of it, is the main problem here. Had the Scorps done more than simply uphold the status quo, many of these songs could have overcome their own mediocrity and stood as highlights of the era rather than forgettable afterthoughts. Check out “Wind of Change” for sure, but be wary about the remainder.
It's 1990, the Berlin Wall fell down one year earlier, and this was the inspiration of Klaus Meine to write one of the biggest songs in rock history, not just the Scorpions history. In fact "Wind of Change" is a true masterpiece, the anthem of that great band called Scorpions, and I love to hear it very often. It's a song that makes me cry of emotion.
But the rest of this album is far from reaching the level of that classic, almost every song is suffering the "Savage Amusement" syndrome, that is, a more commercial, popish sound, leaving their 70's rocker music aside. I take this moment from which the Scorpions after started to fall until they reached the bottom in 1999.
There are some highlights here, I like "To Be With You In Heaven" or "Hit Between the Eyes", this one has a little of aggressiveness that, unfortunately, is very rare in this work. The last songs make my choice for the worst content: annoying, dense, uninspired, boring. "Send Me an Angel" doesn't manage to keep my interest, it's not the gem that everybody says. Nevertheless, I like that song performed with the philharmonic.
It would be unfair, however, not mentioning the performance of Klaus Meine, who tries to put the best of him in this work, especially in "Wind of Change", although his effort here cannot be compared to the previous releases until "Love at First Sting".
Conclusion: this album was a huge success, more than anything, due to "Wind of Change". But I think it was too overrated, and I would recommend to the Scorpions' fans first to listen at the most, until "Blackout" or "Love at First Sting" (don't forget their 70's material). And of course, their last work "Humanity - Hour I". Get "Wind of Change", but as much as possible, try to avoid listening all this album.