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Love at First Sting, Awful at Second - 40%

The_CrY, February 20th, 2010

If there is one thing I can’t understand, then it’s why the hell the commercial albums by metal bands often are the most praised among the fans. It was like that with Queensrÿche’s Empire, Judas Priest’s British Steel and, even though it’s not metal, Kayak’s Phantom of the Night. Love at First Sting is no different from all those. Cheap, commercial, uninteresting, but still very praised among the majority of the Scorpions’ fans. This I totally can’t get to. Honestly, I don’t care what genre a band plays. They can go progressive, they can go grunge, or they can go commercial, as long as the songs are good and original. I’m not sure that is the case with this album.

With the raw sound the Scorpions adopted in the 70s already dismissed on 1982’s Blackout, Love at First Sting sounds overpolished at times, and very uninspired. Apparently the masses don’t care for good songwriting, since I’ve rarely come across a commercial album with solely good songs. Anyhow, we are welcomed into the album by a shrieking guitar dubbed in a nasty 80s chorus effect. The rest of the song “Bad Boys Running Wild” consists of a few average riffs with an average vocal melody over the verses. The chorus is where the song gets a little more interesting... IT’S ABOMINABLE! They shout the title of the song with a choir and then ramble on about “and you better get out of the way”. Well, if this song is accompanying these “Bad Boys” then I’ll sure stay out of their way. Ah well, the second song makes it all right. “Rock you like a Hurricane”, a true live-track with a catchy riff, but nothing really memorable. I guess this is one of the better tracks off the album, and that says something. We proceed with what the opening track tried to tell us in “I’m Leaving You”. Again, a bunch of average riffs with an average vocal melody and you’ve got it. The bridge is quite catchy though.

The REAL music starts with “Coming Home”. On the Blackout album we already saw the Scorpions could make 80s metal with a good result, and this song would’ve fit better on that album. It starts off like a ballad, with some arpeggiated chords as an intro, but then kicks off into a speedy rocker full of energy. And THIS is riffing; THIS is what the Scorpions can do so well. Not all that commercial crap the rest of the album is filled with. Such a shame. But as soon as they’ve recorded a masterpiece like this, they think they can take on the world and give birth to another fast song called “The Same Thrill”. Nothing is as bad as this song. Was there an election for the worst Scorpions song ever? I’ll pick this one. How low can we go? The entire verse-chorus-verse-chorus is the same chord, with singer Klaus Meine just shouting the lyrics over it. The bridge is a little different, but nothing worthwhile, and then we get that same chord again for the solo. Wasn’t that fun? No it wasn’t.

Remember track two? “Rock You Like A Hurricane”? Meet his twinbrother, “Big City Nights”. Since BCN was born two minutes earlier, it beats its younger brother by far. This time, we have a real catchy riff instead of just using every chord on the e-minor pentatonic scale, and this time the melody is way better. This is Blackout quality. But beware of its end! For there’s another piece of sheer boredom following this one. “As Soon As the Good Times Roll” is a song that can pass by and never be noticed. Or at least the verses. But I assure you the chorus is just more of the “Same Thrill”-quality. Next song is “Crossfire”. A song with political character that doesn’t seem to vary its drum-rhythms, but still manages to be so catchy and epic to keep me listening to it over and over again. Last song off the album is the big hit “Still Loving You”. I can’t say anything bad about this one. This is truly a classic Scorpions song through and through. A really good power ballad with an epic chorus and epic ending.
Well I think I gave you a pretty good impression of Love at First Sting. It’s commercial through and through, with some elements of the good side of the Scorpions showing up, especially near the end of the album. With a few good songs, a few really bad songs and a few average ones, I don’t think this release deserves the praise it gets. I wouldn’t recommend this album to anyone, unless you get horny by the cover. Only then you might enjoy this CD.

Strongest tracks: “Coming Home”, “Big City Nights” and “Crossfire”.
Weakest tracks: “Bad Boys Running Wild”, “The Same Thrill” and “As Soon As the Good Times Roll”.

Scorpions Month II: Love at First Cash Grab - 69%

Empyreal, December 10th, 2009

This is the second installment of December is for Scorpions, and today we jump into the future of the band with one of the releases from their commercial heyday. Enticed? I hope so.

Well, after Blackout, there really wasn’t any place for Germany’s rock heroes to go but down, and down they went with Love at First Sting. Now, before you go nuts, I still don’t think this is really bad. This album is pretty decent overall, if not uninspired and somehow even more commercial than the previous effort. I mean, really, that’s an accomplishment! Blackout was already unabashedly commercial and fiendishly hook-oriented, and this one is like, how much commercial ass can we kiss? Apparently, a lot.

“Bad Boys Running Wild” kicks off first, and the problem is evident: the band slowed down. They still play their trademark brand of creamy hard rock, but somehow it just sounds slower and stodgier, less dynamic and less electric in tempo. It sounds dumbed down, is what it is. The rhythm section just isn’t playing as fast or as smooth as on the previous one. Even despite this, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and the epic “Coming Home” manage to kick things up a notch with build-ups to crescendos of Germanic power and metallic might. Klaus Meine croons away over the pristine guitar riffs and melodic leads like an extremely nasal, sleazy siren, and the rhythm section keeps on crunching. “Crossfire” is the album’s weird talking point, with a militaristic beat and a sort of patriotic feel to it – a hymn to fallen heroes, perhaps? It’s an interesting song, which of course means that the band wouldn’t do it again or expound upon it on the following release – but that’s another story.

A lot of the stuff on here sort of falls into the bargain-bin-esque category of “listenable and fun, but would you really miss it if it were gone?” It’s filler stuff. Songs like “I’m Leaving You,” “Big City Nights” and especially the tepid droll of “As Soon as the Good Times Roll” just don’t really go anywhere. These songs are pretty much cashing in on the whole 80s glam rock thing that so many bands were doing at the time, except with the old Scorpions flair – it’s like seeing an old friend coming home from a trip completely changed, without anything that made him or her distinguishable. They resign themselves to sounding…bland and uninspired. Not ambitious at all except for the band’s desire to make money. That may have been an incentive. The filler on Blackout was so good that it almost wasn’t filler at all, and certainly didn’t detract from the album’s lightning-fire energy. I only wish the same thing was true for this album.

The last song on here is “Still Loving You,” another one of the band’s long epic romance ballads, and a good one, at that. Which is why it gets its own paragraph. I don’t think this song is quiiiiite as good as some people seem to, but it’s definitely of reasonably good quality. I like the mature, somber feel it has and the poignant lyrics, and their delivery – probably the best performance by Klaus Meine that this album boasts. It is a quiet, slow song with a wistful, mourning feel, and it succeeds as that, ending the album on a much more serious and mature note than it deserved. How deceitful.

So that’s Love at First Sting, the album that unfortunately cemented the band’s place in mainstream rock history when it should have been one of their previous ones. It is pretty decadent, without a lot of the charm of the band’s earlier releases (hell, even their recent releases at the time; this was only two years after Blackout!), and replaced with a lot of hollow imitation of said charm. But I have to admit, the imitations are at least decent ones, and the album remains at least a little bit entertaining.

…well, most of it…

…Okay, about half of it. Eh, it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been Savage Amusement

Metal Like A Hurricane! - 100%

Metal_Thrasher90, August 11th, 2008

Blackout was another huge success for Scorpions on which they adapted and reinvented their sound, now completely deprived of the 70’s manners, more violent and looser than ever without of course, denying these German’s predilection for melodies and refinement. The next release was even more successful, establishing the band status of rock and metal stars and most popular Teutonic act in the planet. In a time of trendy ballads, glam make-up and sexual ambiguity, Meine & co. still displayed aggression and speed, even though their detractors have always considered Love At First Sting an explicit commercial attempt. Music speak for itself and when you check out these songs you realize how heavy and intense they are in contrast with the poppy metal and romance of most of their equals by the mid-80’s. Here they are, rockin’ you like a hurricane with 9 timeless classics.

Huge, crushing riffs can be found on “Bad Boys Running Wild” and “Big City Nights”, really crude and weighty, certainly not intended to make the music excessively accessible, rather making it slightly filthy and raw in Scorpions’s particular way. Riffs are devastating, abrasive, yet combined with undeniable sophistication and melody, generally added by Klaus’ polished verses and repetitive choruses. There’s a good balance between roughness and finesse, those heavy lines provide energy and vigor, while vocals refine and make the music easier to digest, easy to remember as you can sing-along those infectious lyrics. Other times, it seems the group focuses much more on harmonies and tenderness, without getting too cheesy on “I’m Leaving You” for instance, on which Meine performs some touching, melancholy words, mixed however with the truly violent tone of both Jabs & R. Schenker’s slamming riffs in perfect harmony and balance. Matthias would always deliver a bunch of exquisite fills, pinch harmonics, pull-offs and blistering shredding solos that introduce certain complexity to the predominantly simplistic schemes. Songs with a heavier edge soon interrupt that dominant melody as “The Same Thrill” and “Comin’ Home”, both frenetic and relentless, presenting the most incendiary riffs and hooks on the whole record, speeding up the tempos without losing control and creating a wall of sound of pure brutality and power (I insist, in their own way). The harsh texture and sharpness of guitar lines is definitely making the climax really intense – despite the clearly sweet verses, the level of aggression is notably high and uninterrupted, generally determining the essence and mood of the music. Even unusually configured pieces like “As Soon As The Good Times Roll” with its cool reggae, funky touch and the dramatic atmosphere on “Crossfire” feature some ferocious guitar work, buried under Meine’s words but setting an ideal instrumental basis anyway.

Scorpions haven’t gone soft on this album, their innate priority for velocity and sonic brutality prevail –serving those strong melodies on a few compositions, yet in general reigning and defining the nature and direction of the music. There are lots of verses and choruses that don’t interrupt the instrumental section excessively – technique and difficulty are present, despite the obvious policy of simplicity of song-structures the band embraced along with the NWOBHM acts back in the early-80’s already. But they haven’t pushed away complication completely, some of these instrumental passages are quite intricate and meticulous, specially Jabs’ soloing and riff progression, seemingly endless rich fills and dexterous string techniques provide the music of superior abilities and virtuosism, despite its initial straight-up concept. The guitar combo is totally inspired, easily designing cohesive lines of bigger strength, stronger presence and heaviness than ever before – including complementary harmonies, overtones and melody that bring some charm to the songs as well. “Still Loving You” and its sweet arpeggios and chord progression is an exhibition of efficiency and talent, instrumentally simplistic to not interfere too much with Klaus lyrical words but adding as usual competent arrangements and fills, preceding that final section catharsis, revealing Rudolf’s most memorable solo. Inspiration and grace, absolute musicianship and chemistry between these guys, ideas and creativity are the elements reflected on each of these cuts – effortlessly played and composed, maybe not reaching peaks in terms of complexity but demonstrating the group’s capability to adapt and survive the new trends on the metal scene without betraying their genuine philosophy, necessarily evolving to prevail in the new decade.

Love At First Sting includes a heavy artillery of rabid riffs, frantic shredding solos and rampaging tempos, which define an aggressive heavy metal sound, sophisticated and accessible at the same time due to the incorporation of strong melodies and irresistible choruses – yet remaining generally crude and violent. “Still Loving You” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” became instant hits and inevitably eclipsed the rest of cuts, it seems most people misjudge the whole record by those 2 only without giving a chance to the rest – a wrong choice as each of the other tunes is as musically strong as those classics. More than 3 decades later, this album preserves its freshness and originality but the negative judgment of the band’s detractors is soon forgotten.

Good... Metal? - 77%

Erdrickgr, January 4th, 2008

This was the last Scorpions record from a five year period (1979-1984) in which they were really churning out the best material of their career. While not living up to Lovedrive or Blackout, this album still has a lot of ass kicking songs, and some awesome slower material as well.

The album begins with the rocker Bad Boys Running Wild, which along with Big City Nights and a couple other songs, really adds some rocking meat to the album. I think that, overall, this album is heavier than a lot of their previous albums, which is sort of interesting considering that it was also their best selling album in the U.S. (triple platinum).

Then there is Rock You Like a Hurricane, which I guess is the main reason that this record sold so well. It's one of those infectuously good songs that you'll probably listen to, even if you loathe pop metal. The other major reason that this album sold so well would probably be Still Loving You, which is a great ballad.

There are a few average songs, though I wouldn't go so far as to call them filler. Also, while they drag the album down somewhat, they are scattered throughout the album, so there's no long lulls. I guess this album would be pop metal, but it nonetheless has some good tunes.

Classic Scorpions - 75%

DawnoftheShred, March 14th, 2007

One of the undeniable forces of 80’s metal, the Scorpions stood high above their glam contemporaries, creating a much darker and more technical sound better compared to Skid Row than to Whitesnake. Love at First Sting is a foundation of their popularity, reflecting all of the aspects of their unique sound and while it might not be their best album, it is certainly a good representation of their abilities, dwarfed only by the might of their 70's material and the unfuckable Blackout that preceded it.

There’s a nice variety of song types on here, ranging from standard rockers to ballads to borderline speed metal numbers, all being quality. Despite this, I must say that “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is really fucking overrated. Perhaps it's standard wear from years of mainstream radio play, or maybe its just that the song is unbearably typical of generic 80’s metal, but I can’t stand this track, though a few of the other songs on this album follow its formula. Songs like “I’m Leaving You” and the other big hit “Big City Nights” feature that signature Scorpions catchy riff work with Klaus Meine’s equally signature vocals over top, but without complaints. The rest of the songs mix it up a bit. “The Same Thrill” picks up the pace and displays a ton of cool lead moments, which just begs the question as to why the Schenker/Jabs harmony tag team was never as revered as the Smith/Murray one over in Iron Maiden. But the real beauty of this album (as well as many other Scorps offerings) is the power ballads. It’s in their mellower moments that the band truly shines, evident on the album’s masterpiece “Still Loving You.” Haunting riffing, magnificent vocals, brilliant soloing and great lyrics, this song rules and provides a great tone upon which to end the album.

There’s not a whole lot else to say here. This is classic 80’s metal, classic Scorpions, and classic hard rock. They weren’t pushing any boundaries with this one (though there’s some overt progressivism to be found in “As Soon as the Good Times Roll), but this is solid in performance, technical flair, and songwriting, so what else can you ask for? Definitely worth checking out if you’re into the style.

It rocks you like a freakin' hurricane! - 94%

cyclone, November 30th, 2004

You all know Scorpions. Yeah, you do. They're the band, who has that huge hit, Wind Of Change with that famous start. And this is their metal bible. Love At First Sting is as metal as a record can get. Let me explain a bit. Scorpions are a German heavy metal/hard rock/arena rock band. They have this great singer, who's voice is completely out of this planet and guitarists, who are able to do the most catchy riffs, flashy solos and all-in-all great songs you could ever imagine. And this is, in my opinion their finest record.

Klaus Meine does a great job with vocals. As said, he has an amazing voice and he was probably born just to sing on this record. Melodic, fun and catchy. That's what is all about. Jabs and Schenker also do great. They produce some of the catchiest riffs ever. The riffs are really simple, but they work just amazing. Soloing and lead work is typically 80s. Flashy and pure fun.

The record is really well balanced, but there are some highlights worth mentioning. The opener, Bad Boys Running Wild is a great way to start off. Nice catchy chorus, neat guitar work and the lyrics that just scream HEAVY METAL!

Rock You Like A Hurricane is the best song on the album. It's one of those song you just love. The ones who just make you wanna scream, headbang and just go crazy (see also: Mötley Crüe - Kickstart My Heart, Saxon - Princess Of The Night,...). Awesome! It goes almost the same for Big City Nights. Two songs like that on an album - a winner! Crossfire is a neat song with that army rhythm, which works fine.

Scorpions have always been the masters of ballads. And they didn't fail to do it again. Still Loving you is a touching ballad, placed at the end of the album and it's definitely a must-hear. As one can see from the title, it's about love. It builds up with an acoustic, the verse part is really mellow and soft, but the chorus picks it up a little bit, just to get a bit more exciting.

Love At First Sting is a great album. If you like heavy metal, and I'm sure you do, get it! Now!

Nearly perfect pop-metal - 86%

OlympicSharpshooter, April 18th, 2004

And after Blackout there was Love at First Sting, the second biggest seller in Scorpions catalogue, and with good reason. This is scintillating hair metal, quintessential 80's rock, and a great all around record. I don't think it can be denied that the mid-to-late 70's records were the Scorpions real zenith (In Trance, Virgin Killer, Taken by Force, Tokyo Tapes), but this stuff was the height of their popularity, and it shows that they could do hard-edged commercial metal as good or better than Ratt, Def Leppard, or Motley Crue. Turns out this would also be the last really good Scorpions record though, as the band suddenly developed a single-minded drive to destroy any respect that twelve years of hard rockin' had accrued.

Other than Klaus Meine's inimitable voice, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Scorpions is guitar perfection, and LAFS does not disappoint. I've always found it strange that Scorpions, who have had four unbelievably talented and influential guitarists are never given their fair due from guitar mags and metal lists. Rudolf Schenker, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, and Matthias Jabs. These men have come up with solo after solo, riff after riff that have been branded into my brain, many of them from this album. Rudy Schenker and Jabs are the tandem on LAFS, and although it doesn't match the virtuosity of Blackout, there is plenty to love here. "Bad Boys Running Wild" is the frenzied album opener, and despite the insipid lyrics and recycled riff (see: "Dynamite"), it's hard to ignore. Harder still is "Crossfire", an adrenaline-pumping rhythm section driven firecracker that is tailor-made for the live environment.

Since you've all heard it ad nauseum, it's easy to forget how original "Rock You Like a Hurricane" is. There's no blues-based simplistics here, Scorpions blending thespian metal theatrics with arena rock, coming up with a really incendiary song that took the air-waves by storm. Just listen to that opening flourish, cold steel winding and mixing and building up to a crescendo, the verses simple and withdrawn with the guitars simply adding atmosphere while Meine whispers gleefully, and then BOOM! that chorus hits you like a tidal wave and the guitars build up these windy cathedrals that a less commercial band might've turned into something like "Hallowed be thy Name". And hell, that solo has some serious power behind it, almost making you forget the nonsensical video for the song. Almost.

For pure force though, there is a song that tops it. "Coming Home" is a flat out amazing song, folks. It opens with a tender acoustic intro, fooling you into thinking it's another power ballad (not that there's anything wrong with that...) before smacking you upside the head and bursting forth with unbridled metal might. This is pretty good speed metal actually. That underrated rhythm section is top-notch here, particularly Rarebell who stomps and fills with an admirable solid quality like a less busy Vinnie Appice. Man though, you just can�t ignore the hot chops on the solo, one of those shredders that just tears off the record and "melts your face". Hell, Meine is perfect on this one too, stretching his upper register and playing what could be a silly song with just straight-faced earnestness that you just have to respect it. Very good use of sudden stops in the action too, as if simulating a rollercoaster ride.

The new Scorpions keep it simple, stupid, attitude is really laid out with the gleefully sparkly "Big City Nights". This is just a perfect energetic rocker, sorta like "No One Like You" in that it has the classic Scorpions steel grafted onto a standard pop construct and forms a totally different hybrid. The solos by Jabs are just so damn dramatic, even here, especially the little transitional lick heading into the slow break, before taking off on the power of Meine's voice for another fast Jabs diddler. This is perfect cruising music, and its great fun to sing along with these strangely accented German tourists. And, I'll point out, this is nothing like the ball-less clap-trap that Scorpions would put out basically non-stop for the rest of their careers, the soulless pap that would make Scorpions possibly the worst sell-outs in metal history.

A lot of the other songs on here are awfully generic, particularly Schenker's rather dull classic rocky "As Soon as the Good Times Roll", so I'll gloss over them in favour of devoting more time to the last song on the album, and also the best one. Yep, "Still Loving You" is one of the all time best Scorpions songs, and probably the best power ballad ever written. Really. Klaus Meine is kind of a repulsive little imp, but I'll be damned if he isn't a romantic SOB. This song is his calling card, a challenge to other vocalists out there to be this emotional, this grandiose, this by God powerful. Thing is, he cruises through the majority of this thing in a very reserved fashion, scarcely registering a pulse as he spins his tale of lost love and woe, going up just a little at the choruses, stringing us along... until we get to the real climax, this incredible release of pent up lust and sorrow, perhaps the zenith of the mid to late Scorpions catalogue.

"I'm still lovin' you
Me alone
Still lovin' you..."

So, simple, but so effective. And let�s not forget one of the best solos I've ever heard, Jabs and Schenker turning in a magical performance, one of those long solos that follows the music rather than breaking from it, adding colour and depth to these simple chords, duelling high-note for high-note with Meine before plunging down. It's just perfection.

So despite the effusive praise, I do have to knock off a few points here and there because it isn't as all-around solid as Blackout and it has a lot of really forgettable songs. But when Scorpions are on, as they are through so much of Love at First Sting... they're tough to top.

Stand-Outs: �Still Loving You�, �Coming Home�, �Rock You Like a Hurricane�