A wait of more than seven years for new music from Scorpions officially ended Friday when the band released its new album, Rock Believer. Released through Spinefarm Records and Vertigo Records (a subsidiary of Universal Music Group), the 16-song record is a presentation that the band’s established audiences and rock fans in general will agree is a mostly successful new offering from the band. That is due in part to the album’s featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The album’s lyrical content adds to the album’s interest in its own way and will be discussed a little later. The production rounds out the album’s most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Rock Believer a record that will keep audiences believing in Scorpions.
Rock Believer, the 19th (yes, 19th) new album from veteran rock act Scorpions, is a presentation that audiences will agree is mostly successful. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements are of note because for the most part, they continue to present the hard rock sound that first made the band a hit back in the 80s. At the same time, the stylistic approach that the band took in each arrangement also clearly exhibits the band’s ability to evolve with the times while still staying true to its musical roots. Case in point is the arrangement featured in the late entry, ‘Shoot For Your Heart.’ The production, which will be discussed later, comes fully into play here. The band’s 80s rock sensibility is here. That is fully evident. At the same time, there is a certain edge to the arrangement that fits just as well into today’s rock community as it would into the scene back in the 80s. It makes for its own interesting presentation.
On another hand, the blues-based rock sound of the album’s opener, ‘Gas in the Tank’ is another example of that ability of the band to so expertly balance elements of old and new. The choruses in this song and even portions of the verses display plenty of classic rock sounds. At the same time, the aforementioned edge that the band incorporated into so much of the album is just as much on display here. It ensures the song (and album) will appeal to a wide range of audiences. In turn, it keeps the band just as relevant today as it was in its early days.
‘Peacemaker,’ the album’s lead single, is yet another example of how the band has continued to evolve while maintaining its identity. The hard rock approach taken here (which is very bass heavy) would fit perfectly into any modern, active rock radio programmer’s play list. The heaviness and related depth to the instrumentation and its sound shows the band can still hold its own alongside any of today’s veteran and young, new acts. When it is considered along with the other arrangements examined here and with the rest of the album’s arrangements, the whole of that content shows fully why this album’s musical arrangements make it worth hearing. They are just part of what makes the record successful. The album’s lyrical content makes for its own share of interest.
The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content are important because of their accessibility. From start to end, the album’s lyrical content touches on a wide range of topics, all of which will find appeal. Right from the album’s outset, the band presents a positive message that perhaps is reflective of the uncertainty that the band went through following the release of its then latest album, Return to Forever, and the tour that followed. The clear declaration in the song’s chorus, “Let’s play it louder/Play it hard/Laid back and a little dark/Give me a dirty riff, my friend/There’s gotta be more gas in the tank” does well to lead to such inference. The additional mentions of hammer riffs and that “best friends will never part” continues to infer the noted theme. It all collectively comes across as a first statement to audiences that even with what it went through after celebrating its 50th anniversary, is still going strong. On a deeper level, that overt sense of determination inferred through this content could encourage others who might be going through tough times to push on through in their own situations. To that end, it makes this song just one example of what makes the album’s lyrical content so important to the record’s presentation.
‘Call Of The Wild’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. In the case of this song, it is sung from the standpoint of a man trying to get a woman to stay with him. This is clear right from the song’s outset as the lead verse states, “Hear the call of the wild, girl/I wanna spend the night, yeah/Right by your side.” The attempt to win the woman over continues later in the statement, “Getting lost in the jungle, babe/In the shade of the night/You’ve got the funky rhythm, girl/I’ve got the rocking drive.” It is pretty obvious what is happening here. The man is trying to tell the woman how well they “move” together. This is more of that attempt to flirt so to speak and get her to stay with him. The bluesy approach taken to the song’s musical arrangement adds even more to the engagement that these lyrics (and the topic) ensure. Overall, it is one more example of why the record’s lyrical content is so important to the album’s presentation.
‘When Tomorrow Comes’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. In the case of this song, the band has opted to go socially conscious. This is made clear as front man Klaus Meine states in his spoken word style approach, “Good morning, world/How do you feel/Sometimes I think you’re gonna stop turning ‘round/Who’s to blame but us/When half the planet caught on fire/And one more spark seems enough/To burn it down/Good morning, world/How do you feel/You look so sad/The clock is ticking/And precious time will fade away/Oh, the cyber war/A dirty ocean/The climate change/When tomorrow comes/We’ll pay the price.” The song’s chorus adds even more to the clarity in the message as Meine and his band mates sing, “See the writing on the wall (The future calls)/Can I trust fate anymore (The world is yours)/Young is old and old is young (You are the ones)/Call me when tomorrow comes (When tomorrow comes).” This is a familiar way to address a familiar topic. In other words, it is fully accessible and shows even more, the diversity in the album’s lyrical content. It also shows the depth of the record’s lyrical content. When this is considered along with the themes in the other songs examined here and with that of the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes clear, the importance of the album’s lyrical content.
The musical and lyrical content that makes up the body of Rock Believer obviously does plenty to make the album worth hearing. They are just part of what makes the album successful. The album’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation. The production is important to note because of its impact on the album’s general effect. From start to end, the production ensures that no one part of the songs’ instrumentations overpowers the others. At the same time, it ensures that the band’s ability to balance its vintage rock sound with more modern influences cuts through just as clearly. What’s more, the vocals are just as well balanced with the instrumentations, topping off the positive impact of the production. All things considered here, the album’s production does just as much to make it engaging and entertaining as the album’s content. To that end, all of the album’s noted elements make it an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums so far this year.
Rock Believer, the latest album from Scorpions, is a positive new offering from the veteran rock band. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements continue to exhibit the band’s familiar vintage 80s hard rock leanings while also displaying the band’s ability to evolve and adapt to the current rock scene without losing anything in either end along the way. The lyrical themes featured throughout the album add their own appeal to the presentation. That is because of their diversity and accessibility. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to the presentation, ensuring its general effect is just as positive as its content. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Rock Believer a record in which Scorpions’ established audiences and rock fans in general will believe.
Rock Believer is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Scorpions’ latest news at:
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.