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Scorpions Month IV: Bottom's up! - 35%

Empyreal, December 24th, 2009

People, I love rock music. But that doesn't mean a good band can just throw any crap together and I'll eat it up. There are lines that can be crossed, folks. Scorpions were on top of the world in the early 80s, but they went completely overboard with Savage Amusement, and the result is a shiny, neutered, glammed up shitpiling that goes against everything the band did so well in the past and ends up a godforsaken mess of 80s cliche. Why is this album so bad? Prepare the J├Ągermeister, get some cups out and let's get started, folks.

In fact, let's not just do this like a normal review. No, let's make this one a drinking game. Listen to this album along with me while I review it, and every time you think about how much better the band used to be, take a drink. Sound good? Okay.

I mean, what the fuck? Where did this come from? It's like a drive-by glam clusterfuck. It comes out of nowhere, leaving no lasting impression except, where the fuck did my Scorpions go? This album is completely bereft of any musical worth! Hooks? What are those? Savage Amusement is savagely amusing to the devil-horned record executives who pushed it on the public, perhaps, but not to me. This album basically takes the Scorpions formula and rapes it with a pitchfork, removing all the charm and innocence that I loved about it and replacing that with a lot of sleazy redundancy and trend-hopping disgust. What happened to the heart and passion that filled the band's previous material so vigorously?

Oops, there's one. Take a drink.

Right away, you notice the first problem: the band hasn't written any good hooks. Don't you remember how on their older albums, they'd write songs that you could remember instantly? Like how about "Catch Your Train"? Or maybe "Dynamite," off of Blackout? Ah, I can hear them in my head as if I were listening to THEM now instead of this unmemorable piece of prostitution...

And that's two. Take another drink.

So the album kicks off with "Don't Stop at the Top," which is pretty much the model for all of the non-ballads on here. There are a lot of shiny riffs and flashy licks and a big, high-pitched Def Leppard-wannabe chorus belted out at full volume for the whole arena to sing along to and then forget about. And indeed, I do mean forgettable - these songs are nothing but fluff; no substance at all. I can't remember one note or one line from any of them. They're not engaging, they have no longevity and I don't even think they're that much fun to listen to. I'm not asking for the metal equivalent of Shakespeare here, guys, I'm just asking for a little bit of the likability and energy that Scorpions once so proudly displayed on their sleeves.

Three makes a party, so take a drink.

"Rhythm of Love" is almost cool, but the awful "Passion Rules the Game" busts out annoyingly sugary glam guitar licks that you've heard a thousand times, and "Media Overkill" starts off with a sound effect that is something like the belching of Fat Albert. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Keep in mind, people, that the band that once wrote the ballad "Yellow Raven" and the epic "China White" is now writing a song with a sound effect that sounds like Fat Albert's bowel movements. Let that sink in for a second. Sadly, they do not keep up this stupidity, and the song sinks into a mire of below-average hard rock shash. This song is really about as bland as a rock song can get - using those chorus layers doesn't really do much when the chorus itself isn't any good, guys! You would think the band that wrote "Make It Real" or "Blackout" would know something about writing chorus hooks, but apparently not. I know I keep coming back to the lack of hooks,'s just so insipid. There is a shocking laziness to the compositions here that I am surprised the band actually let out of the studio. They didn't need to lean on the crutch of what's popular in order to be liked, but here they are doing it anyway. Mindblowing.

Sigh. Take another drink. Witness the blandly generic gang shout chorus on "We Let It Rock...You Let It Roll," and you'll probably need another one after that.

This album is so conniving. You think because it's so well played, so pristinely produced and inoffensive, that it is actually good, but no! It's a trick by the record producers who brainwashed this band into doing this! DAMN YOU, CORPORATE MEDIA OVERLORDS! A POX ON ALL YE BLACKENED HEARTS! Ahem. Excuse my outburst. I just get a little emotional when I hear great bands that I love releasing such watered down, piss-weak commercial crap. But there is one saving grace...sort the moderately good "Love on the Run," which packs some legitimately kick-ass metal riffing - hell, it's more intense than the classic stuff at times. But the vocal performance is still weak and you won't remember much of it after it's over.

This album is a wretched pile of flaming drivel that I would sooner eat a bag of nails than listen to again. It is a gutted whore of worthless candy-metal without any kind of entertainment value, made doubly ironic by the band's usual good record for that kind of thing. I can't think of even one reason to listen to this crap over any other Scorpions album. Just listen to the dying notes of "Believe in Love" - it's so defeated sounding. It's pitiful. This album is probably the best reason I can think of to take up heavy drinking, but before you do that, throw this album in the trash where it belongs. Good riddance and Merry Christmas - may you listen to no horrible musical sell-outs this year. Have a good one!