[15 October 2002]
I’d like to dedicate this review to Adam Arehart, of the Gamma Chi chapter of Delta Tau Delta.
Why, you ask?
Because when I went to Yahoo and typed in the phrase “rock you like a hurricane”, I discovered that, of all the quotes this strapping young lad possibly could have chosen to sum himself up for posterity on the Gamma Chi website, he went with a Scorpions lyric and declared, “Here I am . . . rock you like a hurricane.”
So, Adam . . . ? This one’s for you, buddy. Way to put yourself out there like that.
As tempting as it might be to lump the Scorpions in with the rest of the ‘80s metal boon, based solely on “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” would you believe that it’s actually been thirty years since the band’s debut album, Lonesome Crow?
Seriously. It came out back in ‘72.
And while I’ve never heard anything from that album, it’s apparently so good that that’s why there’s not a single song from it on Bad for Good: The Very Best of Scorpions.
I mean, that’s my theory, anyway.
Yes, I suspect that the Lonesome Crow material would so terribly overshadow the band’s later, more popular material that it was in the band’s best interest to leave it off this new best-of collection. And, as such, I can only imagine that the same concept must hold true for the other four albums the band released between ‘72 and ‘77, since there’s nothing here from those albums, either.
Of course, it’s also possible that those albums were released on other labels, and that Hip-O can’t be bothered to license them for us on this collection. There’s a lot more evidence to back up that theory, actually . . . like, say, the way Bad for Good‘s press release shunts the group’s post-Mercury albums off to the side with the simple sentence, “Albums continued on other labels.”
But, hey, screw those other labels, right? Besides, the Scorpions are clearly back among the close-knit Universal Music family, since they managed to contribute two brand new songs to this new best-of compilation. Bad for Good opens in the only fashion it conceivably can, with “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, thereby saving consumers everywhere from having to immediately skip over however many tracks might be required to get to it and listen to it first. After that, however, the disc settles into a standard chronological order, beginning with “Loving You Sunday Morning,” from 1979’s Lovedrive album.
After five albums that did little to break the Scorpions in the States (they’re from Germany, you know), Lovedrive was the first of the band’s records to give them any sort of chart headway. From there, the band produced Animal Magnetism in 1980, an album which, in addition to containing the single “The Zoo”, also had cover artwork that may well have inspired the Spinal Tap song, “Bitch School”.
Still, to put the band’s success at that time in some sort of perspective, while Lovedrive went gold and Animal Magnetism went platinum, they didn’t actually do so until seven and ten years after their respective releases.
It wasn’t until 1982’s Blackout that the band produced a full-on hit single with “No-One Like You”, but, when 1983 brought Love at First Sting and “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, there was no turning back; the Scorpions had made it. “Big City Nights” and “Still Loving You” followed suit as hit singles from Sting, and, while they may not have reached anthem status, when they erupt from your speakers, you’ll find they’ve stood the test of time just as well as their more famous sibling.
After that, however, there was a five-year gap between albums. By the time Savage Amusement showed up on record stores shelves in ‘88, heavy metal was passé. “Rhythm of Love” was a big AOR hit, but it took a best-of compilation, Best of Rockers ‘N’ Ballads, the following year to bring them back to chart prominence and platinum sales.
But that was nothing compared to Crazy World. Showing up not long after Rockers ‘N’ Ballads (the very same year, in fact), the new studio album contained the Berlin Wall tribute, “Winds of Change.” Suddenly, the Scorpions were cool again . . . and so was whistling, for that matter. After that, though, the band proved once and for all that they just didn’t quite grasp the concept of maintaining momentum, waiting another four years to release another album. Face the Heat, like Savage Amusement, was big with the AOR crowd . . . but not with much of anyone else.
And then, the Scorpions left Mercury and, based on this press release, didn’t do anything that counted until now, with Bad for Good and its two new songs, “Cause I Love You” and the title cut. Surprisingly, the pair of songs are actually pretty strong; they’re both definitely rockers (as opposed to ballads), and, believe it or not, the band doesn’t sound nearly as irrelevant as you’d expect, given how much music has changed since their heyday.
A definitive collection Bad for Good is not, of course; there’s no way it could be without springing for the licensing from the band’s other labels. It is, however, a definitive collection of the band’s years on Mercury . . . and, really, that’s all it’s trying to be.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/scorpions-bad/