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Crazy to be the same - 50%

gasmask_colostomy, November 10th, 2018

Scorpions are almost as old as The Beatles. How's that for crazy? Considering that their recorded output dates back 46 years, some degree of change must be accepted throughout that lengthy career, though sitting at this end of it I feel it's a pity it had to happen as it did. Scorpions are one of the most important rock bands of all time, yet there was only about a decade when they actually influenced much new music and a great deal of their later life when they were merely permeating the same old hard rock without coming up with much good. Crazy World - in case you needed to ask - is definitely a part of the "permeating" era of the band.

So, is the music shit? No, not really, but it's just so dry, like high quality crackers with nothing on top. I know the point of this album (and the preceding couple) was to unite fans around the world in the glory of rock and make them all sing to the same song, that much is clear. And, frankly, Scorpions did a good job to make several of those songs. Following on from mega-hit 'Rock Me Like a Hurricane', 'Wind of Change' would go on to sell 14 million copies, making it the highest-selling single by a German artist. Ever. Suffice to say, that's a far cry from innovative heavy metal like 'Sails of Charon' or even 'Pictured Life' from the group's earlier albums, though the intention is clearly very different, since the Scorps were trying to make universal music. To be fair, 'Winds of Change' isn't exactly a lowest common denominator ballad, featuring oddly prophetic lyrics about the fall of the Soviet Union, but it sounds like almost anyone could like it - and almost anyone could have written it. The song may be weighted and poised and have that unusual whistle in it; however, I hate it, because it has no personality whatsoever, which Scorpions never had a problem with earlier in their careers. The vocals are passionless as well.

Crazy World is not an album of ballads, only 'Send Me an Angel' following 'Winds of Change' down a softer route. The rest of the material is rock, as opposed to metal, and features catchy arrangements with upbeat riffing and some attention-grabbing soloing from Matthias Jabs. Therefore, if you aren't a fan of the softer stuff, you should probably find something to dig in 'Don't Believe Her' or 'Kicks After Six', the former of which is in the same sleazy ballpark (makin' out somewhere in right field) as the big hair bands of the time, while the latter ventures back to original rock 'n' roll in a fun yet skin-deep manner. Undoubtedly, critics must have frothed over both of them as "a band moving with the times" and "Scorpions going back to their roots"; nevertheless, they offer nothing in a creative sense, merely proving how easy it is for a capable band to tread water in the commercial swimming pool while an ocean of other possibilities await. 'Money and Fame', despite vacuous lyrics, surprises by being able to offer something fresh, Jabs playing about with a talk-box solo that occasionally rings out in discord with Klaus Meine's eerie backing vocals, taking me back to 'Animal Magnetism' in a less dangerous, less mysterious manner.

Call me a jaded grinch if you like, but there's no denying that Crazy World sounds utterly homogeneous and bland when compared to the other musical movements of 1990 (grunge, thrash, alternative), not to mention how it fades into insignificance today regarding its lack of creative ideas. Credit to Scorpions if they were trying to make a commercial album here, since they truly succeeded, yet that doesn't make me rate the music any better than if they had had other intentions. Listen to this if you want to be the same as everyone else: if you give a shit about music, try something different. It sure is a crazy world.