Scorpions - Sting in the Tail

by Kevin Wierzbicki

If you judge the success of a band by its latest radio hit then you probably wrote off Scorpions nearly twenty years ago, shortly after their worldwide smash "Wind of Change" finished its tornadic romp through the charts where it pushed the Crazy World album to double-platinum status. Despite a few years of massive commercial success brought on by hit singles, Scorpions has always been a band living in the second tier where their ongoing popularity depends more on their status as road warriors than it does on radio play. Now after forty years of arena-rocking the band has announced that they'll be retiring from touring at the conclusion of their "Get Your Sting and Blackout" tour, a journey that'll take them around the world over the next three years or so. Sting in the Tail is the companion piece to the farewell tour and is also billed as being the final Scorpions album. It's important to know that Sting in the Tail is a musical goodbye when you set it spinning, otherwise you might think opening cut "Raised on Rock" with its "Rock You Like a Hurricane" riffing is a formulaic exercise in cannibalizing one's own body of work. But "Raised on Rock" purposely references "…Hurricane" in a tribute to surviving forty years as a band while also giving a nod to the different generations of fans that have made it all possible. It's not destined for the top of the charts but "Raised on Rock" has new Scorpions music back on the radio for the first time in ages and it's not even the best radio-ready tune here; that honor would go to the anthem-like title cut "Sting in the Tail" where singer Klaus Meine sounds like he really means it when he rasps out a phrase he'll no doubt utter thousands of times on the farewell tour, "Hail hail, sting in the tail!" Elsewhere Sting in the Tail is pretty much a typical Scorpions effort filled with well-performed but ultimately forgettable rockers like "Rock Zone" and "Spirit of Rock" tempered with a couple of downbeat "Wind of Change"-style tunes in the anti-war "The Good Die Young" and the tearjerker "Lorelei." The sentiment may be different in three years after some of these songs have potentially taken to life as a result of the big farewell tour but for now Sting in the Tail is good but not essential Scorpions. Catching the band live one last time if you can, though, is highly-recommended.

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