If Animal Magnetism caught my ear, Blackout confirmed the hard rock abilities of
Scorpions. Of course, this was before I had any knowledge of their 70’s output.
This was at the point in the band relationship where one begins the awesome
task of digging into an established band’s back catalog.
For many fans, that can only be a rewarding experience if the previous work happens to be good as isn’t too far from the excitement of what caught your ear to begin with.
Thankfully with the Scorpions, you really can’t go too wrong with picking up anything from their older material when you’re looking for further listening. Aside from the debut, which is misguided weak-sauce, the band gets progressively better, and they barely miss a beat when they lost their incredible lead guitarist Uli-Jon Roth towards the end of the decade.
That’s where I started. Under the recommendation of a friend, I was steered towards Lovedrive. I learned later that this was the album that began to get some consistent airplay across
particularly with the opener “Loving You Sunday Morning” and the infectiously
silly ballad, “ Holiday.”
I remember thinking that Lovedrive was not as intense as the album’s I had heard, but in the years since I’ve grown fonder of some of the album’s tracks that I wasn’t too keen on upon first listen.
Lyrically, the band continues to string broken English with common themes like loose women, touring, and missing the loose women from back in
when they’re on tour. After a bit, the humor of some of the couplets transition
from hilarious to hilariously awesome.
Particularly on “Another Piece Of Meat,” an ode to a Japanese fan who told Klaus “I’ve been too long alone/I need hot love, you know/And I need it now.” The entire song plays out like it was written by someone who’s never had sex in their life and the fact that the potty-mouthed chick was from
Japan is the
equivalent of a thirteen year-old saying that their girlfriend lives in Indiana.
Yes, I want the wallet sized school picture of this woman, Klaus. Prove it.
More incredulous is the part where Klaus tries to make up for the fact that his partner only refers to him as another piece of meat, bragging “She was screaming for more blood/Loved it more than any slut/I couldn’t stand it!”
But you consider the language barrier-a recurring excuse for Scorpions-you begin to see how utterly innocent these songwriters are. The band simply takes their second language (third, maybe, if you consider Tokyo Tapes) and tries to add provocative English words together that phonetically rhyme without fully realizing how utterly ridiculous they really sound together.
God bless ‘em for trying, and God bless ‘em for coming up with the amount of riffage that they do for such unintentionally funny words.
Lovedrive is a surprisingly tentative affair as the band tiptoes around new guitarist Mathias Jabs, even letting younger brother Michael Schenker guests as a guitarist for a few tracks just as a precaution.
All of this must have led to an awful amount of ambivalence when it came time to collect enough songs for the record. At one point, even “Is There Anybody There,” a misguided stab at reggae, finds its way on to the album.
They’d get more comfortable with this line-up for the next album, and they’d find enormous success around the corner. Lovedrive is the first Scorpions record that points the way to their commercial zenith while doing little to damage the high reputation of Uli Jon Roth’s era of the band where they used brute force to get your attention.
The cover is certainly attention grabbing to say the least, but there are hints throughout Lovedrive that show how their formula for a U.S. Arachnid invasion is proving to be successful.