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Grab 'Em By The Titty - 90%

SweetLeaf95, May 16th, 2018

Yeah, yeah, if you're seeking a re-hash about this being the first record without Roth and all the Schenker drama, then please visit every other review anywhere. Lovedrive didn't only play a huge significance in Scorpions's career because of the drastic change in direction that they were taking. No, this was also the record that brought them over here to the good old United States of America, the first place being Cleveland, Ohio. For those that weren't aware, there's an interesting little tidbit you now know. But yes, the popularity that they would gain and the force behind their rise of fame was more than likely due to the attainable approach that Klaus and co. were seeking to create. And create they did, as this would prove to be a fantastic effort to exit the 1970's with.

Few signs of pop were present this early on in the great transition. While this is where the inclusion of ballads would begin its reign in their discography, the majority of the tracks are hard hitters and heavy classics through and through. "Another Piece Of Meat" strikes with a fierce riff underlying a clean but threatening vocal delivery from their beloved front-man. This track pumps out speed metal banger one after another, while others will slow to the steady yet heavy approach, such as the album opener, "Loving You Sunday Morning". The level of intensity isn't quite as high, but this song still rocks pretty hard. And of course, smooth and catchy rhythms mixed with strong instrumental complexity are fused into a unique fashion, which would remain a staple up to and including the classic Love At First Sting. The mighty title track shows this best, and Klaus could not have done a better job, bearing strong falsetto skill. This is the correct way to implement catchy hooks without falling victim to the distilled format of hallow tracks with nothing else holding them afloat but a bunch of air.

"Coast To Coast" deserves its own mentioning, as it's the greatest instrumental track they've ever done. This is a fine example of how a guitar should replace vocal harmony with solid instrumentation. And the kicker is that it's really not very complex, just beautifully executed with an awesome beat. When I saw them, they blew my mind with this. This wasn't to test Jabs' ability since Schenker was the one to take it on, but they both work as a solid team on this entire effort. The big ballad off of this one is "Holiday", a six minute slow-dancer that closes the album on a soothing note. It rides on acoustic guitars with a calm but firm electric transition. "Always Somewhere" is something of a weaker ballad, but the tone is set very nicely, and it has a neat lick to lay on. There are areas where they clearly just kicked back and had fun, with "Is There Anybody There?" being one of the most laid back tracks on here. It definitely let's the developing pop sound shine through more than anything, and it's a great sing-a-long type tune.

Turning away due to commercial status change is a bad idea, as it's nothing more than a label. The flawless hunk of albums that would be their peak in musical writing is now behind them, but great things were clearly still in the making, starting with Lovedrive. This is an essential listen for sure, and definitely essential to own for any fans of The Scorps. Who can resist the sexual appeal and strong arrangement that is this beast? It's a lovedrive on wheels of fire, a lovedrive just one desire, love, you drive me crazy babe.

This is the best Scorpions album - 83%

TrooperEd, March 29th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, EMI (Remastered)

It's the best by about a whisker. If Scorpions kept Uli Jon Roth around long enough to record Sails of Charon for this album rather than Taken By Force (why not, they already had Matthias Jabs AND Michael Schenker bouncing back and forth), then you would have the best Scorpions album by a country mile. As talented of a player as Roth was, his metal contributions to the band were rather inconsistent. For every Sails of Charon we got stuck with a Your Light. Not a great signal to noise ratio.

While there are still (and would always be) ballads, Lovedrive is where the Scorpions trimmed as much fat as possible and the result is a lean mean metal machine. It's the perfect ratio between ballads, stadium rockers, and metal. Even the reggae tinged Is There Anybody There does a fine fusion between the two genres. It's not quite as metal as say, The Rage, but it makes up for it great songwriting. As for the great lead guitar player controversy, maybe I don't listen to enough UFO, but I honestly can't tell which solo is Jabs and which solo is Schenker. Again, there isn't really anything that approaches the technical mastery of Sails of Charon, but in this day and age I'll take proper songwriting over technique.

The highlight of the album is the one-two-three knockout combo of Can't Get Enough, Is There Anybody There and the title track. Again, a reggae gumbo mixed between two crushers. Even in 1979's age of Van Halen, Stained Class and Overkill, Can't Get Enough holds its own as a proto-thrash assault waiting to claim another corpse (particularly when they play it twice as fast live). There still isn't really quite any metal song like this. Most metal songs pushing the boundaries around this time had straightforward speedy double bass laden drums providing the back beat. This is just a relentless down-picking attack with the drums serving more as a punching accent rather than a strict time keeper. Even after Rock You Like A Hurricane became a monster, Can't get enough would still serve as the grand finale to Scorpions live shows throughout the 80s as nothing quite brought the house down like this did. As for the title track, think of a slightly less menacing Stained Class. The song is very much based around that triplet gallop, but it's not quite the runaway racehorse of say, Run To The Hills. A very metal song and one that should be a live staple, but for whatever stupid reason isn't.

Most will probably tell you that if you must own one Scorpions album, it should be Blackout. Blackout is also a classic, but it's a little repetitive (two songs exactly like No One Like You back to back? Come on now). This album is the reason most who don denim jackets are proud to have Scorpions patch amongst the others. If 80s metal is your itch, get this backscratcher.

Sometimes moving, but patchy - 75%

gasmask_colostomy, September 18th, 2015

I’m trying to write this review without looking at the album’s cover image, because I don’t think it’s going to help me get into the right mood to talk about songs like ‘Holiday’ and ‘Is There Anybody There?’, nor do I think it will help me concentrate. To be fair, it does bear the mark of Scorpions’ slightly odd sense of humour and mildly eclectic tastes (I mean, that isn’t the kind of woman who appears on most rock album covers), though it doesn’t have the same mood as the album’s music and sure as hell shows it. Perhaps if the man’s face showed something beyond mere complacence and concentration - something closer to worry or perplexity - I might argue that it could fit ‘Lovedrive’, since this isn’t a straightforward ballsy rock album in the least.

In fact, ‘Lovedrive’ may just be the most complicated of all Scorpions’ early material (I’m thinking of the 70s albums) to assess, because it doesn’t have the same energy to it like ‘Virgin Killer’, ending up like a downbeat ‘Taken by Force’ with fewer riffs. There are only 8 songs here, but they run through a whole load of different styles to varying degrees of success, displaying most of Scorpions’ specific traits as well as developing a few additional parts of the sound. We get everything from the rollicking hard rock sprint through ‘Another Piece of Meat’ to the effortlessly poignant ballad ‘Holiday’, including ‘Loving You Sunday Morning’, which is somewhere between the two, and ‘Is There Anybody There?’ which is something else entirely. These many approaches give the album a scattered feeling, as if it doesn’t fit together well, with many odd jumps in mood and tone.

The complexity and experimentation that made songs like ‘Sails of Charon’ and ‘Your Light’ from ‘Taken by Force’ so exciting and different is much duller on this album. Uli Roth was out by this point, which might have played a part in the simpler sound, though both Schenker brothers turn up (Michael plays lead guitar on a select few tracks) and occasionally turn in some interesting parts. However, the leads aren’t all that spectacular and the driving presence for most of the songs is Klaus Meine, who quite simply steals the album. The first time you hear his voice, you probably won’t think too much of it, but as he starts to move you realise that his comparative lack of power (against Rob Halford or Bon Scott) is no problem, because he scores all his points through subtlety and mood. The slow ‘Is There Anybody There?’ with its reggae chords really shouldn’t work as a Scorpions song; however, Meine’s understated “Aah”s and the gorgeous harmony with the backing vocals turn it into a highlight. The same happens to ‘Holiday’, the vocal lines of which bear a resemblance to the wistful ‘When the Smoke Is Going Down’ from ‘Blackout’, capturing a bittersweet, reflective mood absolutely fantastically - hence my concern about the blasé nature of the cover image.

The rhythm section turns in a few intriguing moments, such as the upbeat offbeat stomp of ‘Can’t Get Enough’, which avoids the obvious, even while the guitars plow ahead on their own momentum and the solo shreds a hole through the middle of the song. What disappoints are the more straightforward moments of ‘Always Somewhere’ and ‘Coast to Coast’, which are respectively a dull ballad without much feeling or nuance and a rocking instrumental that doesn’t merit being an instrumental - it requires something more to make it worthwhile. The couple of faster songs that kick off the album would usually be the highlights, but here they too lack a certain something and don't quite swing as hard as they should.

Perhaps it’s cruel to call ‘Lovedrive’ patchy, falling as it does between two monster Scorpions albums, but about half of the songs here fail to deliver all the goods or just end up as decent, though unremarkable. If there were more songs, or if they were all of a high quality, it wouldn’t be a problem: I just feel that 36 minutes of music should be the absolute best a band can offer, otherwise they need to add more content. For a band in as golden a period as the Scorpions were in the 70s, this falls short.

The Birthplace of the Popular Scorpions - 74%

DawnoftheShred, July 14th, 2009

With tensions building up between guitarist extraordinaire Uli Jon Roth and founding members Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine over the band’s musical direction, a separation was inevitable. Roth wanted a more ambitious musical output that his success-driven bandmates were not prepared to accommodate, so he was replaced by Matthias Jabs, thus completing the so-called “classic” Scorpions lineup (drummer Herman Rarebell had been acquired for the previous Taken by Force) that would indeed achieve commercial success and several popular mega-selling albums in the decade to come.

But back to 1979. With Roth finally out of the way, there was nothing standing in the way of Rudolf and Klaus’ shot at mainstream acceptance. As such, Lovedrive is easily the most straightforward and accessible of the Scorpions albums up to this point, though not necessarily a strictly commercial outing. The bizarro cover art (produced by Hipgnosis, who else?) and the biting, occasionally dissonant riffs of tracks like “Another Piece of Meat” and “Loving You Sunday Morning” are products of a band not entirely opposed to experimentation. But Lovedrive is definitely the official birthplace of the popularly accepted Scorpions and once again we find the band’s material paralleling that of Judas Priest’s work of the same period (see: British Steel or Killing Machine). No-nonsense, hook-oriented riffing and Klaus Meine’s signature vocals are the driving forces behind these songs and at times, their only saving grace (the strange reggae-rock of “Is There Anybody There?”). Jabs proves himself a reasonable soloist, but his skill would mature a few albums down the road. In the meantime, founding guitarist Michael Schenker briefly returns to add a bit of lead magic to some of the album’s more remarkable tracks.

The rhythm section has been simplified from albums of the past, one of a few unfortunate concessions in the bid for popular approval. A more tragic example occurs in the album’s softer moments, where the band’s signature power ballads, once sublime, are now merely token. “Holiday” is the better of the two, somewhat recalling the soft-spoken beauty of the Roth-era. Other highlights include the instrumental rocker “Coast to Coast” and the title track, the latter of which borrows the unmistakable groove of Priest’s “Diamonds and Rust” to good effect.

Certainly a weaker Scorpions album (and a surprisingly shorter one), but it isn’t bad at all: the worst things you can say about it are that it’s occasionally typical (“Always Somewhere”) and at other times very strange (“Is There Anybody There?”). However, those things are enough to fault it, and all the sticky bubblegum tits in the world can’t kick it into the same league as their earlier material.

The rise of Scorpions's flame - 87%

MetalReaper, September 1st, 2004

Scorpions's sixth studio effort was it's best, until the Blackout arrived some years later. Lovedrive is described as the Scorpions's first classic album, because the album contains some classic material. This is also the first album to feature the classic line-up (Meine/Schenker/Jabs/Buchholz/Rarebell). Ulrich Roth left the band and Matthias Jabs is his replacement.

The line-up and the musical direction got stabilized for about ten years. Their style is more leaning to harsher edge since 1976´s Virgin Killer. The Scorpions's cover art has always been sexist in the way or other, and this doesn't make an exception (bubblegum on lady's tit). Album also has a brief return of mama Schenker's prodigal son Michael, who appears on three tracks. He's last Scorpions album was the debut Lonesome Crow before moving to UFO.

Lovedrive offers classic after a classic, for the whole record. "Loving you sunday morning" starts this package. It completely fulfills the requirements for the "classic Scorpions track", which means it's cathcy, chorus is great, vocal melodies are good and the screaming solos fill the air. "Another piece of meat" is also a classic. It's more rude and rowdy than "Loving you sunday morning". It has Michael Schenker on lead guitar. The next piece is "Always somewhere". Scorpions have the pattern that the third song is a power-ballad, and this doesn't make the exception. Is there something new to be said about the Scorpions-power ballads? I don't think so. This one is sweet, but not in the way the band approached about twenty years later. Guitar melodies are good. "Coast to coast" is another classic song, and Michael again on lead guitar. This one is an instrumental, what isn't common on Scorpions-albums. The over-technical solos are missing on the track, what isn't a bad thing at all.

"Can't get enough" is rude and crushing and also faster. Meine screams a lot on this track. Probably the best song of the album is the classic "Is there anybody there?". If I have to describe it to someone who doesn't know it, I say it's slower and more peaceful. The main guitar riff sounds to my ear, that it has some reggae-influences. The last rocksong and Michael Schenker track of the album is the title track, "Lovedrive". It's intro is too progressive and dim to fit into classic Scorpions song. The song gets back to normal Scorpions mold in the chorus at the last. It has also a very stange ending. "Holiday" is the last classic song of the album, because it's the last song of the album (quite logical, innit?). A ballad is in question, but it's one of the best Scorpions ballad ever made. The song is acoustic guitar-driven and weepy, but it has some raw guitar attacks in the middle, and the solos are crying. The songs ends instrumentally, with acoustic guitar and the crying solo guitar backing it.

If I have to choose the most definitive tracks of the album, I would choose "Loving you sunday morning", "Another piece of meat" and "Is there anybody there?". There are no bad tracks here, but some of them are maybe too average like "Can't get enough". The classic album packed with classic material, but not at their best.