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The Best Fucking Collaboration Week Ever!, Pt.2: Scorpions – Animal Magnetism

Hey folks! It’s The Best Fucking Collaboration Week Ever, Pt. 2! Just like last time, Mike and Aaron will be doing simultaneous daily reviews of albums. This time, they’re covering stuff these two intrepid music reporters have sent to each other. Even better, today we’re joined by Deke for a 3-way collab review! Buckle up, buttercups, it’s gonna be a blast!

Go HERE TO READ DEKE’S TAKE ON IT! And then go HERE TO READ MIKE’S TAKE ON IT!

Mike sent me (the AAAA) this disc, and it’s awesome fun. Thanks Mike!!

I should tell you, I listened to this album and wrote it up. But then…

Bonus Points: We had our son’s 7th birthday party at the house yesterday, which meant nine kids under 7 years old running around in ninja masks, all hepped up on sugar. When the dust settled, I realized we had no booze in the house, so I went out and corrected that. So my contribution to this Scorpions collab is a (personally much-deserved, after today) Drunk Review! You lucky hounds. Now, normally I do this for albums I don’t wanna hear sober (I’m looking at you, Mr. Suck Jovi, and oh my Lorde) but this was one I actually want to hear… so it’s more of a tribute drunk. A victory lap with help! Heck these guys are Germans, right? I’m drinking beer. It’s all good.

Haha nobody said I had to be sober for this! It’s time to re-write this! Let’s give ‘er!

First off, that album cover. What the hell was it with people in the 80s and the back pockets of their jeans? Could be a frickin’ Wayne Gretzky jeans ad, man, except that lady kinda looks like she likes what she sees because she’s been told to like it, and that dog is thinking ‘yeah but lady you should see what he does with that thing all the time, when he thinks no one is watching…’ At least he has a beer! Me too! And why all of this on a beach? This cover confuses me. What does all of this mean?

I found this on Wiki just now:

“The album cover was created by Storm Thorgerson of the design firm Hipgnosis and, as with earlier Scorpions album sleeves, courted controversy. However, unlike several of their previous album sleeves the controversy did not result in the cover being replaced with an alternate sleeve. Recalling the cover photo, Thorgerson remarked, “That one was funny. I don’t think we figured it out. We just knew there was something rude somewhere.”

Scorpions bassist at the time, Francis Buchholz, recalls that, “Herman came up with the title for the album Animal Magnetism and we all liked it because it’s an interesting title. So we had this guy Storm who was doing album covers for Pink Floyd, I think he did the one with the guy with the flames. So Storm came up with the idea for the Animal Magnetism cover, I personally didn’t like it, but the rest of the band loved it. I liked the dog though.”

Well shit, that didn’t help much. Ah well.

And now the songs.

Make It Real brings the big riff and super-melodic vocals. The instrumental breakdown was frickin’ fantastic. Don’t Make Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep) cranks the pace to early 80s punk levels and juxtaposes that with great chugging metal riffage, classic metal vocals over top. Damn that was fun. I start to wonder if that singer dude answers the phone in that voice. You know? “Helllooooo! Whatcha wantin’, bab-aaaaaayyy?” That would rule.

I have to remember this is from 1980. That helps place it. Hold Me Tight’s walking pace is fine, and it doesn’t matter as he way overcompensates for it with those vocals oh man. Some of it sounds awesome, some of it like he’s constipated, and some of it is silly good fun. I oughta look up his name instead of saying ‘that guy’ all the time. Klaus Meine. Alright, Klaus! This guy’s got the pipes, man.

Twentieth Century Man is funky bluesy fun with a throbbing bass line. It doesn’t grow or alter much, but it’s still sex-ay! Lady Starlight is the obligatory acoustic ballad. I can see them on stage, lights low, maybe even two spotlights on vocals and guitar. Time to bring it down and get the girls in the front row past their rock froth and all lovey-dovey. Like, baby, I can do the tough leather rocker thing, but I’m also so sensitive. Rarrr! Ooooo… Haha this was great. Where’s my lighter… Ah then the band comes in and it rocks out all lovey-dowvy. Hawt.

Falling In Love brings back the rock with a Def Leppard-like intro (and outro), but this tune. Man, I listened to it twice. There’s something Stooges about it, a slinky something that would be really dirty and diseased if it had hung out with same-era Iggy for a week or two. I really dug this track a lot, a highlight for me. Only A Man’s weak intro is soon obliterated by big guitars, pounding drums, and wailing. It sails into an epic that makes me want to come ashore with my fellow vikings and pillage that village!

The Zoo comes on all lithe and muscular, that threat of lift-off tense under the surface. I love the didjeridoo-like guitar bit, that was classy. When it does lift off, it’s the guitar that provided all the thrust. Thrust. That’s the word for this whole damn song. It is thrusting its hips at you. Lasciviously. And licking its lips. And leering… Almost an aliteration! Wait, now that was aliteration!

And finally it’s the title track, Animal Magnetism (haha of course, why did I type that out) is pretty spooky, in its metal majesty. It has this restless guitar line tied to this drawn-out groove… I keep waiting for it to explode (this type of song always does). It never really does, it just lets that menace simmer, but around 3:30 the instrumental section is the real payoff. And then, right at the end, the fucker laughs at us. LAUGHS! Good on ya, Klaus!

IN SUM:

The title of this album is frickin’ perfect. The whole thing is like one big come-on, Animal Magnetism INDEED. It’s definitely of its time, but it is also classic enough to fit in anywhere. Like an old Mustang. Yeah, there are newer models, but this oldie still has the goods under the hood, if ya know what I mean.

Fantastic. This was great fun. I liked this one sober, and I liked it even more while drunk. It got sexier the more I drank, too. Beer goggles!

And that’s the end of The Best Fucking Collaboration Week Ever!, Pt.2. That went by really quickly! We need to do this again. Soon.

Scorpions – Face The Heat

I’ll be honest: I really only know the hits of this band. So, this record that Mike, our Almighty Lebrain, sent me is a fantastic opportunity to get to know them a bit better. Let’s give ‘er!

Alien Nation sets up a brilliant intro riff and gives notice that we’re here to fucking rock. The whole song is just very, very big… No Pain No Gain crunches along beautifully. The weirdo noises in the background were distracting. But the vocals totally suit this song. It’s almost… Def Leppard-y? Is that even a word? IT IS NOW… Someone To Touch picks up the pace again, and doesn’t let off on the rock at all. This would be a great work-out mix track.

Under The Same Sun is the obligatory slow rock ballad in the mix. The touchy-feely ‘why can’t we all just get along’ lyrics like these always come across as smarmy. I’m not knocking the sentiment at all, I would agree with it myself. It’s just very hard to write a song about this stuff without sounding either strident, or soft, or both. It has a big, juicy guitar solo, though.

Unholy Alliance brings back the rock (thus fulfilling the unspoken rawk album requirement of following a ballad with a fast rocker track). This one is all muscular and slinky. They do this sound very well, indeed. Pretty sure this didn’t need to be a 5 minute song, when about 3.5 minutes would have sufficed.

Woman’s orchestral backing and long, slow build make this a certainty to be a concert showcase. It’s 2:45 by the time the band even comes in, and that’s a helluva scream at 3:17. This is a bluesy one… Hate To Be Nice brings back the rock metal standard with a great shout-along chorus. Funny, a few tracks ago he was saying we should all get along under the same sun. And now, here, he’s saying ‘the world out there is down and dirty, baby/and I hate to be nice.’ Bit of a wandering conviction, perhaps.

Taxman Woman has a strange title, but it happily rocks and swings at the same time. It’s a fun, bluesy track that, given enough volume, would still rattle the walls… Ship Of Fools is full-throttle metal perfect for movie soundtracks. It seems I always say that, at some point, but I call it as I hear it.

Nightmare Avenue keeps the pace very high, and sounds like Guns ’N Roses could have done a killer cover of it. Damn, this track and Ship Of Fools before it should have been higher up in the mix. Why the hell do we have to wait until the last tracks of the albums to get rocked this hard?

And finally, it’s Lonely Nights, a piano-acoustic ballad about how lonely it is now that his lover is gone. Oh boo hoo. Haha. It’s pretty enough, but quite repetitive. Fair play to them.

In sum? For not knowing much about this record, I’ve got to say that this is a collection of strong songs that gets better as it goes along. I liked it best when they jammed the pedal to the metal and let ‘er rip. I am super-glad I got this opportunity to take this for a spin, and so I offer up my huge heaps of thanks once again to Mike, our Benevolent and Supreme LeBrain. Woohoo!

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