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I felt a huge feeling of disappointment when I listened to this album, thinking it was their last studio album ever, and yet, it not being very good. The tracklist gives it away.. 4 songs out of 12 have "rock" in the title. Is this a Stryper album ? Is it a concept album about "rock" ?
The CD sleeve has almost no liner notes, no details as how these songs were put together. I have a feeling it is not unintentional; all but two songs have been written partly by collaborators, which is a situation not unlike on the previous album. Basically, Kolonovits and Bazilian had been modest contributors to some of the poorer songs on the otherwise excellent "Unbreakable "(2004) album; Bazilian had persevered on "Humanity: Hour I" (which was Desmond Child's project), whereas Nord/Andersson had contributed to one song on it ("Game of Life"). Why were external writers so involved in Scorpions' last two studio albums ? The title track, "Sting in the Tail", was written by Schenker/Meine duo alone, and is the most uninspired number they ever wrote: a flat empty song with very basic rhythm and plenty of "hey hey"s (the album abunds in "yeah yeah yeah yeah"s and "na na na na"s). It sadly shows that without these external writers there wouldn't have been album, nor a previous album. Basically, Scorpions' music writing career pretty much ended in 2004.
The best, almost "real" Scorpions songs on this album, where there is consistent and interesting riffing, are the ones revealed to have been written the "Unbreakable" sessions: "Slave Me", "Turn You On" and "No Limit" (whose title should clearly be "Reach for the Sky"; a cliche that reminds me the latter days of bands such as Ratt and Firehouse). "No Limit" does contain a mid-section not unlike the part sung by Billy Corgan in "The Cross", on the previous album.
The opening track is attempting to sound similar to "Rock You Like a Hurricane", but sounds quite generic and boring. They reintroduced the voicebox, but end up sounding more like "Living on a Prayer" than "The Zoo".
The two ballads, "Lorelei" and "SLY", ripping of "Still Loving You" (intentionally) and "Holiday" for the millionth time, are quite forgettable. The uninspired "Lorelei" chorus reminds me the Jesus Christ Superstar theme. However, "The Good Die Young" is quite memorable and unique. Just like the closing song on the previous album ("Humanity"), it is a song with a dark social message that contrasts with previous optimist hymns such as "Under the Same Sun" and "Wind of Change". Staying away from the "rock" titled songs, the two soft ballads, from the title track and the boring ender (which itself is an attempt at another positive hymn with na na na's..), it would have made a nice 4 song EP.
As I think and reflect upon their career, I can't, despite their overall unimpressive consistency over the years, deny that Scorpions had a knack for writing really catchy songs. Who can forget their heydays of Dynamite or Rock You Like A Hurricane? Alright yes they were radio-friendly and mainstream compared to your average Maiden or Sabbath albums, but hey can't we for a moment forget that and agree that despite their mainstream appeal Scorpions did provide us with a wild adrenaline rush. That is more than what I can say about many so called sacred cows of 'pure' heavy metal. Well so let us get back at our topic of Scorpions' output, the aptly titled The Sting In The Tail. Looking at their last release, my expectations for this album were quite niggard. well and they were not helped with song titles like Spirit Of Rock, Raised On Rock, Rock Zone. But as it quite turned out, this album is not that awful as the last output was. Hell it is quite an enjoyable record for a listen or two if not more. But come on folks, when was the last time you heard an entire Scorpions' album more than three times consecutively?
Klaus Meine has his pipes well regulated and I can't seem to find any flaws in his vocal work, even though I tried quite a lot to do so. The wild power in his voice which coloured some of the most powerfully cooking rockers is still quite intact. The guitar duo of Schenker and Jabs are in good form themselves. The riffs are not downtuned modern crap you will hear all over the radio since the last decade or so. They have a sharp crispiness and remind the listener of the heydays of the 80s. Alright I agree that those guys are no Edward Van Halen or Ritchie Blackmore and they can't shred like maniacs to make Ygnwie Malmsteen piss in his pants out of shame, but the guitar work is executed well enough for their standards. Well, no one ever liked Scorpions for their technical prowess anyway. The production is powerful and the guitars pack a heavy punch giving the songs more power.
The strength of this band has always been in short, catchy and to the point energetic songs, and on this record the guys don't go any further. The songwriting is pretty solid for most part and the songs though pretty simple, present a rich variety in themselves. The consistency is pretty high; high enough that this might be one of their most consistent albums. The choruses are pretty solid as they play a crucial role in making the song catchy. I would personally urge the listener to ignore the goofy song-titles like Raised On Rock or Rock Zone as this band has never been known for intelligent lyrical content. Ballads include The Good Die Young, Sly, Lorelei and The Best Is Yet To Come while the others being your typical rockers. Some listeners might be alarmed at the amount of balladry present in the record, but to be sure the ballads are not that bad. OK none of them have the power of a Holiday or a Still Loving You, but not the self pitying stuff that was presented on Eye II Eye. Highlights include the opener Raised On Rock, the title track, the ballad The Good Die Young which features a duet with Tarja Turunen of Nightwish fame. No Limit, Turn You On and Rock Zone are quite good entertaining rockers in themselves; all featuring stellar guitar work and catchy sing-along choruses. Sadly the remaining ballads do not manage to leave a lasting impression on listener and are dullard compared to the rest of the album.
This album in every way represents Scorpions over the years. I would without any slightest of a doubt would conclude that this has been one of the best hard rock albums released since the last fifteen or so years. If you are a fan of this band in the 80s or a fan of say Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Van Halen this album is mandatory for you. This is also recommended to all metalheads who can do with a bit of mainstream radio hard rock.
The 2010 Release by the Scorpions - "Sting in the Tail" - is not an album that tries to be something its not, and is not trying to be something new and creative. It feels like this album was written just to have some good old-fashioned rocking fun and this is why it is better than the last few releases. This album is filled with mid to high paced songs and almost each one is perfect for a rock and roll and metal party.
This album has a lot of young-spirited, and well written songs, the best of them are: "Raised on Rock", "Slave Me", "Turn you on", and the title track: "Sting in the Tail". Each one of these will make you want to bang your head and turn the volume up, and for me they are instant classics that i will listen to pretty often for a long time. After sixteen albums and about 45 years, the Scorpions still have songs that feel as good as any young band, and maybe even better, and these songs really have the true rock'n'roll feel to them.
Some of the other songs ("No Limit", "Rock Zone"..) are not as great as those listed above: they are not instant classics and they won't stay with you as long, but they all have a really good feel to them. These songs also are very good for a party, and fit the whole feel of the album.
And as many other Scorpions album, this album has a three ballads. The weaker of which is "Lorelei", which is a good song, but i feel it misses something - it feels a bit empty and it needs something to make it feel more alive.
"Sly" is a very good ballad, it is well written, and the lyrics are very good - this is a great song. And "The Best is Yet to Come" is a very good song, kind of a goodbye songs to the fans, as this is supposed to be the last scorpions album, and it is said that after the current world-tour they will break up.
Something i found a bit disappointing about this album is the booklet - it doesn't have the lyrics in it. Like a few of the latest albums, instead of the full lyrics there are only a sentence or two from each song, but this album isn't a musical masterpiece - the lyrics are really not bad on this album, but definitely not important as on other albums.
I think this album is very good because it easily makes you want to rock, and is pretty good throughout the whole album. I got this album right when it was released and I have listened to it a lot of times, and still every couple of weeks I want to listen to it again, and each time I enjoy it as much as I did when i first got it. It's not a metal classic as "Taken by Force", "Blackout" or "Lovedrive", but if you want to have some fun, just play this album and rock out!
It's mostly likely that a band with so many years on the road as Scorpions can only release "carreer albums" after all the inspiration and youthness has been diluted over the years. Nevertheless we've been proven wrong with many great releases or comebacks albums from veterans like Accept, Heaven & Hell, Ratt and others. But whats most surprising about Scorpions is that they never got away, even after their Acoustic album the momentum has been growing back since Unbreakeable.
What makes this album so good? The simple fact that every single song on this album rocks! heck, i can't say this about Love at First Sting!
I dare anyone not to bang your head with No Limit, Slave Me, Sting in The Tail, Raised to Rock, Rock Zone, Turn You On, Spirit of Rock... just the name of them are awesome. Most of the songs are uptempo rockers with stellar performances from Klaus Meine and everyone else on the band. Ive never seen Klaus sream like this before; Rock Zone might be the heaviest song the band ever recorded!
The other songs on the albums are slower, but only three of them can be called "ballads". Lorelei closes the first half of the album with beautiful lyrics and acoustic guitars. Sly is also very melodic and dramatic. The Best is Yet to Come closes the album with an epic feel and a positive mesage for all the fans of the bands. This is said to be the last album from the band and there wasnt any better way possible to say goodbye than with a song that talks equaly about nostalgia and hope. The band plays this song live on every concert from the current tour.
Drumming on this album is very solid, keeping it simple mostly but with very strong attacks... the mixing has kept the drum pedals and snare very loud, the bass guitar is also bery clear working with the drums as twin brothers. It sounds like a rock album no doubt about it! Do i need to talk about the guitars? This is Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs guys.
Most critcs on this album is about the lack of originality and emulating the sound from the Blackout era. Sure Turn You On is a lot like Big CIty Nights, Raised to Rock is a lot like Rock You Like a Hurricane... but what's the problem about it? Dozens of bands like ACDC and Motorhead record the same album over and over and are considered respectable. Scorpions promised us a farewell album that would give the fans the same sound you would expect from the band on their prime, and they delivered it!
This is one of the best Scorpions albums ever, and the best rock album from 2010!
Careers come and go. This is the fate of all bands eventually – the Last Album. The mark of their legacy on the world. The last one they’ll be remembered for, even taking into account their previous works. What is a band supposed to do for their last effort? It should be a summation of everything that made them so great. And that’s what Sting in the Tail is for those horny ol’ Germans in the Scorpions.
First of all, I’d like to extend a hearty what the fuck to everyone who doesn’t like this, as there seems to be a very middling opinion of this album, and I don’t really see why. I mean, OK, if you never liked anything this band did, fine. And if you never liked anything they did after ’79 or so, that’s fine too. But for anyone else who enjoyed anything else this band did, this album is mandatory! It’s the Scorpions doing what the Scorpions do. It’s pure, unadulterated hard rock music of the old order. It’s kind of an amalgam of everything they did since the 80s, being square in the middle of the varying sounds they accumulated, from the streamlined Blackout sound to the more modernized Humanity era. And it sounds natural!
It’s about as happy go lucky and upbeat as you can get with this stuff and still have testicles. It’s just pure, hard-driving old school womanizing rock music the way only they can do it. “Raised on Rock” is a great opener with a hook that is sticker than Gorilla Glue, and it’s followed up with more greatness like the title track – which has some of the weirdest vocals I’ve ever heard on a Scorpions album. What is that before the chorus? It sounds kind of like a strangled cat talking through a vocoder…but the song itself is a good one. “Slave Me” is sleazy fun, especially if you can ignore the fact that this is a group of 60 year old men singing about bondage, and “Rock Zone” and “No Limits” are slickly addicting hard rockers in the classic Scorpions mold.
“The Good Die Young” is a midpaced tune with Tarja Turunen, who the band thankfully dialed down in the mix so that we couldn’t hear her awful warbling that much. It’s pretty good and I like the slight Western twinge to the guitars. “Turn You On” is more nostalgic goodness, and then after that we get possibly one of my favorite Scorpions songs. “Spirit of Rock” is up there as one of the most heartfelt, earnest, warmly touching songs about rock music I’ve ever heard, and definitely one of the band’s best. I love the smooth, candy-coated verses and I love that thumping, heavy-ended guitar base, all building up to the simple chorus that still manages to hit like an anvil with how electric it is. Really great.
I will say that the ballads are a little much. They’re all decent enough songs on their own, and would be welcome individually, but having three of them on the same album is just too much. “Lorelei” and “Sly” pretty much sound the same, and hell, even the titles kind of rhyme. So my pick would have to be the other stand out awesome tune here, “The Best Is Yet to Come.” The title is a bit silly – what, do they really look forward to lounging around in Floridian retirement communities that much? But the song itself is pure gold, with wistful articulation and heavy pathos from the vocals making for a real masterpiece of a ballad. The one-two punch of “Spirit of Rock” and this song is just masterful and I can’t think of a better way to end a career short of shooting the ashes out of a cannon.
Well, is this it, Scorpions? Is it really over? Feels a bit nostalgic over here – just a little lightheaded. I can put Savage Amusement behind me for this final shot. But maybe it doesn’t have to be sad, now does it? Careers do come and go. Maybe the best is yet to come, after all. All I know is, I’ll still be spinning the classic Scorpions albums in years to come and this one was a welcome addition to the canon. It’s been a fun ride, guys. Best of luck in the future.
So this is it. Or maybe that should read "so this is it?" The last Scorpions studio CD hit the stores in the USA a few months back and what are we to make of it? Is it great? No. Is it terrible? Absolutely not. It is sadly, a fair representation of where they are today. Done.
It must be incredibly difficult to desire artistic license but be trapped and pigeon holed by one's own successful formula. When this is the case there is no artistic progression, just essentially a re-writing and a re-working and a re-issuing of what has worked before. This creates staleness, and a paint by numbers approach. A bands sound is then dictated by what the fans demand or what the fans will accept. However, in the case of the Scorps, the fans are no longer ranging in age from 14 to 21. There are no 14 year old Scorpions fans today. There are no 25 year old Scorpion fans today. I'd have the odds on my side by venturing that perhaps there are but a meager handful of 30 year old Scorpion fans today. Perhaps one or two 25 or 30 year old's remember seeing mom or dad's old Scorpions albums with kinky cover art, but that's it.
Their history spans nearly 40 years and their career can be broken into three chapters. Chapter 1 spanned the years 1972 - 1979, this was probably their most unique and "true to themselves" period. A hungry band with their own sound; one of the world's great guitar players in Uli Jon Roth and no label support, these were the RCA years and Fly to The Rainbow (1974) In Trance (1975), Virgin Killer (1976) Taken By Force (1977) and concluding with the incredible double live Tokyo Tapes (1978) showed the band a serious force to be reckoned with. Chapter 2 is the period from 1979 through 1988, which saw them become one of the planet's most successful groups, interestingly all the while being produced by Dieter Dierks. With the great Mathias Jabs now shredding for them, the Scorpion sound changed; in some respects became more "Americanized", but they penned nary a duff track for virtually the entire decade, and Lovedrive (1979), Animal Magnetism (1980), Blackout (1982), Love At First Sting (1984), Worldwide Live (1985) and concluding with Savage Amusement (1988) are all absolute killers and are definitive examples of the cream of the crop of the great 1980's metal movement which dominated the music world at the time. Chapter 3 began in 1990 and spans till the present. This was a period of time which saw them record their biggest hit, "Wind of Change" from the "Crazy World" CD. They become in a sense "global ambassadors" for music and peace, and at the same time shifted their focus to South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. "Face the Heat" (1993) was followed by "Pure Instinct" (1996) They brought in outside writers and changed bass players twice and drummers once during this time; they also changed producers on every studio record during that time span. Album sales began to decline; a series of "Greatest Hit's and "Best Of" packages were released, followed by the bad experiment called Eye II Eye (1999), the orchestral CD (2000) and the acoustic CD (2001), both of which were very good. A return to form took place in 2004 with the terrific "Unbreakable" and the very decent "Humanity Hour 1" (2007).
A couple months ago the Scorps announced that "Sting In The Tail" would be their final studio CD. They also said the creative juices were flowing at their peak and the new CD would be a very special farewell.
That's the problem. It's not special at all. The best songs on "Sting In the Tail" would be the worst song on so many of their previous albums. The CD kicks off in energetic fashion with "Raised On Rock", which is text book Scorpions, including the signature underlying guitar melody line. But where is the guitar break? Where is the screaming Mathias Jabs solo? It's just not there. We are only treated to a lead as the song fades out. Why have the Scorpions either buried Mathias in the mix or chosen to minimize the lead breaks for the last 15 years? His lead work from "Blackout" through "Savage Amusement" was nothing short of astounding, at times soloing throughout the songs, and helping to define their sound and his place in the upper echelon of great players. The title track begins with some weird voice box effects of Klaus saying something stupid like "bang bang, rock with the gang". The tune is ok, but.......you guessed it, no lead break. Up next is "Slave Me" a mid tempo sexy tale and finally we are treated to a lead break but a forgetful one which last for only about 8 measures. "The Good Die Young" features Klaus speaking/singing in a low octave. It's a fairly dramatic tune, not extremely heavy and with minimal lead break. "No Limits" is an up tempo tune with the positive message and again a minimal lead break. "Rock Zone" is the 2010 version of "Now" from 1982. But Klaus was 34 in 1982 and he's 62 now, and penning such non memorable phrases as "you're not alone in the Rock Zone". "Lorelei" is a beautiful ballad with a great vocal melody line and a Rudy Schenker solo, melodic but short...again. "Turn You On" is a really good Scorps song. It moves and it grooves. Nothing too deep here, but the underlying guitar melody line is just so catchy. Right after Klaus yells "I wanna turn you on", we are treated to the competent 4 measure Mathias solo. "Sly" is another ballad with great Klaus vocals and this is another example of how the Scorps have changed. They used to be the kings of the power ballad. While both "Sly" and "The Good Die Young" are ballads, they are not powerful. "The Spirit of Rock" is an extremely catchy radio friendly tune which could be a single but won't be. The lead solo is longer than 4 measures but it is forgettable. The final tune is a nice uplifting melody called "The Best Is Yet To Come". Klaus Meine sounds fantastic throughout the album, as he always does. The years have taken nothing away from his voice. It seems to be as strong now as in 1982. Bassist Pawel Maciwoda and drummer James Kottak add much to the band; studio-wise they are up high in the mix, and are better, more imaginative players then their predecessors, Francis Bucholtz and Herman Rarebell, especially live, as they spice up older songs with a slightly more modern feel. The production is excellent, though for their final album I wonder if they considered Dieter Dierks. Perhaps he could have brought back some of the magic. Lyrically, I am disappointed as the Scorpions always penned clever, nasty, kinky lyrics (Blackout, Rock you like A Hurricane, Dynamite) and the lyrics on this CD seem trite. Additionally, the selection of songs leaves me wondering if they really sought to do something special for this record. None of the songs on "Sting in the Tail" are classics and they did write classics as recently as 2004 with "Deep and Dark", "Through My Eyes" and "Love `em or Leave `em" The new songs are all just decent catchy, albeit forgettable tunes. On every CD going back to at least "Love at First Sting in 1984 they have had at least one tune with a social statement ("Media Overkill", "Under the Same Sun", "Wind of Change"), but not on "Sting In The Tail". Why not? They could have re-recorded some of their 1970's classics in a medley. They could have created a 3 CD retrospective with all phases of their career represented and recorded with a modern sound. The bands "sense of self" seems to be missing, and I know I'm possibly over analyzing, but that is what a scribe is supposed to do. Since I truly have loved this band for 30 years and being as familiar with everything they have ever recorded and performed as I am, I wanted their last studio CD to be a celebration of who they are, who they were and what they meant to heavy metal, hard rock, and rock `n' roll in general. Unfortunately, that does not come across on "Sting In the Tail".
The sooner the release date approached, the better the album was promised to be. First we are told this album is going to sound like the Scorpions did in the early 80s. Second we are told that this album is very good, on par with the classic albums Blackout and Love at First Sting, in the opinions of the band members. Last we are surprised with this being the final studio album the Scorpions will ever make together and they want to end their career on a high note, making this their swan song. If all these things were true, the Scorps would be making one hell of a farewell album. Unfortunately, the Scorpions seemed to have set the bar extremely low or they have just no more inspiration. I don’t mean to say the entire album is bad, but it sounds uninspired nonetheless.
Oh yes, this album sounds 80s alright, but it’s nowhere near Blackout. Actually, the sound reminds me more of Crazy World and Unbreakable, with a dash of new. This new element is the will to party, and party they did. Choruses like “Let’s Rock” and “Turn You On” are really happy and celebrating, unique to Sting in the Tail. The quality of the songs is however a bit less. I already said it was a little like Crazy World, and I think that one is a bit of a dull album. Well, this album is actually quite the same, but in a different way. Where Crazy World just didn’t have enough hooks and heartbreaking melodies, SitT does have hooks, but they don’t last for very long. They kept this album very simple, very happy and thus making it sound uninspired. The band’s performance is very tight, but the arrangements are dull. Best example of that is the title track with its one-chord verses and chorus. There’s just no challenge for the listeners on this album, although I have to admit the guitar solos are great again, after a short absence from previous albums.
This doesn’t mean the album doesn’t have its moments. “Raised on Rock” is a classic opener with very tight “Hurricane”-ish riffs and real good vocals. Vocalist Klaus Meine is really shining on the album, hitting high notes on his old day. “Lorelei” is a truly great ballad, slightly borrowing arrangements in the main theme from Crazy World’s “Send Me An Angel”. “Let’s Rock” is my favorite track with it’s relaxing heavy riff and very melodic partying chorus, but unfortunately not all CD releases of SitT feature this song. “The Best Is Yet to Come” is as a final ballad also worth a positive mention with its more modern sound and very catchy melodies. It’s obviously an upcoming live track with the stadium chants of ‘heyaheyo’. Having mentioned these four good songs, this is where the notable work stops.
The rest of the album is filled with okay but not great tracks. “Sting in the Tail” and “Rock Zone” for example are two very uninspired rock songs that don’t feature anything really stunning or notable. Same with rockers as “No Limit” or “Spirit of Rock”. These songs are not necessarily bad: they have considerably good riffs, great vocals and good choruses, but they are far from memorable. It’s okay, but not great. The ballad “SLY” on the other hand is quite a bad song. They not only copied the opening chords from “Send Me An Angel” again, but the rest of the track doesn’t go anywhere. That’s the whole problem with this album: most songs don’t go anywhere, they just go. That’s what makes this album pretty dull. European single “The Good Die Young” is in itself not a bad song, but doesn’t add anything to the album but an okay track without a solo. And then we have Tarja Turunen doing some backing vocals here, but it’s nothing that can’t be replaced by keyboards. It’s really a pity the Scorpions decide to end their career with this.
In short, Sting in the Tail is not the great farewell album they promised it to be. There are some fine songs on it, but the rest doesn’t matter. They’re not bad songs, but not at all great, and thus they make this a very dull album. I would recommend this only to collectors of the Scorpions’ music.
Strongest tracks: “Let’s Rock”, “Lorelei” and “Raised on Rock”.
Weakest tracks: “Sting in the Tail”, “Rock Zone” and “SLY”.