Sound — 8
Guitarist Rudolf Schenker emphasized in recent interviews that the 17th Scorpions album Sting In The Tail also the official last release from the legendary rockers would be seeped in the sound that characterized his band's heyday in the 1980's. So did the German quintet successfully recapture the spirit of such classics as Rock You Like A Hurricane and Send Me An Angel? Absolutely. Some fans might have wished that Schenker and the gang would have experimented or been a bit bolder for their swan song, but given the nostalgia craze, The Scorpions made the right move. From the opening track Raised On Rock, Sting In The Tail shows off the trademark Scorpions' formula: infectious riffs that dominate the musical intros, vocalist Klaus Meine's powerhouse vocals (a feat pretty amazing for a 61-year-old), and instantly hummable choruses. Raised On Rock in particular features an opening full of power chords that have a striking similarity to Rock You Like A Hurricane. It's a comparison that is obviously intended as soon as we hear Meine utter the lyrics, I was born in a hurricane. Of course, we can't forget that their biggest international hit was of the laid-back variety with Wind of Change. There are a couple offerings on the album that draw from that mellower, more introspective side of The Scorpions, who in the end do sound like they're just as enthused as they did back when they ruled many an MTV rotation playlist. While the core of each song is derived from a pretty standard rock sound, The Scorpions add some flare to the 11 tracks. Slave Me includes some intriguing Middle Eastern-influenced licks from Matthias Jabs, while Meine delivers some of his most odd-yet-fascinating vocal stylings in the title track. Rather than the silky smooth singing you might expect, Meine introduces a gruff, almost growling vocalization. While it might not sound as, well, pretty as his usual technique, it certainly grabs your attention. The album doesn't shy away from balladry, with The Good Die Young and Lorelei succeeding at carrying on the torch passed by Send Me An Angel and the ber-hit Wind of Change. Once again, there isn't anything that will shock or surprise in the arrangements of these ballads, but they are still more pleasing to the ear than most other bands' attempts at slower material these days. The final song The Best Is Yet To Come is somewhat of a tearjerker when the theme comes to light. Between the crescendo chorus and the lyrical content discussing how growing old doesn't mean an end to loving life, it makes for a fitting and extremely moving finish for a band that is going out with grace.
Lyrics — 7
While the bulk of the songs on the album feature your trademark rock-and-roll lyrics (love and sex are still favorite topics), they are a perfect fit for the musical style The Scorpions chose. You'll get a big helping of lyrics in the vein of No One Like You, and it's actually refreshing to hear that the band isn't about to take itself too seriously in 2010. The final track, as mentioned earlier, conveys one of the most heartfelt messages from The Scorpions (with the exception of Wind of Change) and the band couldn't have selected a better song for the album's closer.
Overall Impression — 8
Is it better to be safe than sorry? In The Scorpions' case, yes. Every song you hear on Sting In The Tail doesn't stray too far from the sound that has peppered the other 16 full-length records throughout the band's career, particularly during the 1980's. At this stage in the game, The Scorpions are living out their last few years as a thriving band (the upcoming world tour ensures they'll be together a bit longer) for the fans. What they deliver is familiar, comfortable, and riff-fueled, and that's not such a terrible way to end your career.