CD Review: Scorpions “Sting in the Tail”

It is the end of an era. Everyone’s favorite arachnids are back for one last album. Hard to believe, but after 40 years, the Scorpions have released what they are calling their swan song.

It is easy to raise expectations too high for what we know to be a final record. It is even easier to set the bar excessively high after they rolled out one of the best albums of their entire career on their last outing (read our rave review of “Humanity Hour 1” here). So I have given “Sting in the Tail” many more than the usual number of spins I give a record under review, hoping that I would like it more than I initially did.

But if I’m being honest, “Sting in the Tail” is less than a terrific album. It certainly has its share of highlights, and listening to Klaus Meine open the record singing, “I was born in a hurricane” damn near put a tear in my eye – to think that there will soon be a world with no new music from the Scorpions. But its eleven tracks – most of which are plodding rockers or nondescript ballads – left me somewhat disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong: “Sting in the Tail” serves as a veritable tribute to rock and roll and does have its moments. The opener, “Raised On Rock” is a fantastic trademark rocker, and “No Limit” and “Turn You On” recall some of the finer moments of their late 80s heyday (“Crazy World” era). The Scorpions also show their more thoughtful side with a moving song of a soldier’s plight (“The Good Die Young”) and a chill-inducing closer ironically entitled, “The Best Is Yet To Come”. The guys sound tremendous as always, with Klaus Meine‘s distinctive vocals being as rugged as they were on day one.

So the boys don’t quite go out in a blaze of glory, but “Sting in the Tail” is a solid capstone to one of the finest careers in hard rock music. Cheers to the guys and thanks for four decades of great tunes.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4, 5, 8, 11

Scorpions on MySpace. Official site.