After the disappointment of the first Scorpions album Lonesome Crow and the fact that their guitarist Michael Schenker had joined UFO after its release indicated that the German Hard Rock band were in some sort of trouble. Guitar wizard Uli Jon Roth quickly joined Scorpions as their new guitarist and the band got together to create this, their second album. Let’s take a listen to the music on this album and see where it takes us.
Speedy’s Coming begins with some neat guitars, pummelling drumming and some great Progressive Rock styled singing in the vein of Deep Purple. This sounds clever, cool and amazing, and is proof that these guys definitely had something really amazing going on. Nonetheless, although the music present in this tune isn’t overly original in a stylistic context, the musicianship and playing of this song are ridiculously good. Uli Jon Roth plays in an amazing and impressive way, he just sounds really excellent throughout this song. A very good effort, and a good mish-mash of styles, influences and musicianship throughout. There are some excellent guitar tones and playing here. A must listen, and this isn’t even the best Scorpions album or song for the matter. Great start.
They Need A Million begins with some gorgeous acoustic guitar fingerpicking and some clear and gorgeous singing from Klaus Meine is here. Despite the fact that these guys were German, the singing is in English and it sounds really cool. The acoustic guitar playing on this tune is really amazing. Soon enough, this enters into a speedy and excellent song that is really great to listen to. The tempo and style present in this song is very unusual, it just sounds really different. Uli Jon Roth’s playing and guitar tone are really insane, he lights up what would be otherwise ordinary and dull music. A dramatic and fine listen, this is quirky nonetheless and is obviously indebted to many Rock contemporaries, but is a decent tune. A very good listen throughout, Uli Jon Roth is the real star on these songs. The mock Opera section towards the end is rather weird, but it’s not unlistenable. Different.
Drifting Sun is an extended piece at well over seven minutes long. It begins with some excellent guitars, spacey keyboard and thunderous drums. Soon enough, Klaus Meine gets singing away and this piece sounds really lively and excellent. Uli Jon Roth is the real star of the show here, and his wailing and screaming guitars come across as brilliant and tonally excellent. Nonetheless, a powerful and lively musical statement that sounds really great and powerful. Sure, this may take its cues from Progressive Rock in general, but unlike some Progressive Rock, this is not dull nor boring. A pseudo-shred guitar section emerges, before a brilliant piece of vocoder led vocals and instrumentation arises. This is heavily influenced by the trio of proto Metal music bands that are Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, and it sure sounds fantastic. The sonic textures and musicianship on this song are nothing but brilliant. Some awesome dual tracked guitars emerge in the second half, and the whole song is marvellous. This is somewhat a nod to the lengthy statements of guitarists before Uli Jon Roth, namely Jimi Hendrix. Even so, this is very original and brilliant sounding. The playing, techniques and harmonics on the guitar solos are out of this world, and are quite unlike anything else out there today. It re-emerges into the Rock groove that the song had earlier, and the song section returns. A truly awesome and great listen, these guys are underrated. Thoroughly great and enjoyable, this is a golden oldie. An awesome piece of music, it concludes abruptly. Excellent.
Fly People Fly begins with some excellent and expressive guitar leads with the band joining in. Immediately fantastic sounding, this is a legendary and excellent tune from the start, like the rest of the songs on this album. Awesome, wonderful and glorious, the music present is a great melting pot of enormous Rock music influences, particularly from the late 1960s and early 1970s. All the same, this song is very inspirational and different in some ways to what many of the Scorpions contemporaries were doing. Towards the middle, a majestic guitar solo from Uli Jon Roth commences and will leave you awestruck. This is very intellectual and motivated by many Rock musicians of the time. Nonetheless, a really cool tune that deserves your ears. Towards the end is a searing guitar solo that sounds absolutely killer that fits in nicely with the intelligent drumming present on this album. Majestically beautiful.
This Is My Song begins with a short fade in which has some powerful drumming and clean guitars before some singing kicks in. Although this music is particularly indebted to both Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple, it sounds incredible, even if you have heard both to death or not. Uli Jon Roth is a hugely underrated guitarist, and he plays every note incredibly well on this album. All in all, this is a strong effort. Soon enough, a strong and legendary guitar solo kicks in. It’s rather strange that the Scorpions aren’t mentioned more often in the Rock history books, these guys are musically amazing at what they do. A wah-wah heavy guitar sound and excellent use of harmonics in the guitar solo are present. Towards the end is more verse based lyricism, before the outro has some simply beautiful guitar playing, all the way through to the fade out. Brilliantly excellent.
Far Away begins with some nicely fingerpicked acoustic guitar in the distant background, along with some bass guitar playing. Soon enough, Klaus Meine gets singing away softly and this track is gradually brought into the fore. This is excellent music, and it truly sounds terrific. The whole tune is gloriously beautiful. Even though this may not be accepted as a popular classic album today, this sure sounds like one regardless. After some time, this morphs into a powerful Hard Rock groove and sounds absolutely wonderful. Uli Jon Roth gets his guitar playing on, and he sounds truly terrific on this tune. Regardless, this is an animated song brought alive by the fantastic musicianship present. A truly amazing guitar solo then enters the scene, and this piece of music sounds really excellent and incredible. The singing and playing on this song are amazing and incredible, the Scorpions rock better than many of their Progressive Rock contemporaries. There is some nice spacey Mellotron towards the end to add some extra textural flavour to the song, before this concludes. A great listen.
Fly To The Rainbow is the final song, title track and the longest song on the album at nearly 10 minutes long. It begins with some lovely fingerpicked acoustic guitar with some great playing and harmonics on it. This is extremely pretty sounding, it just sounds really beautiful and lively throughout. A really lively, gorgeous and tuneful listen, Scorpions rival fellow contemporaries Deep Purple for their own mixture of Hard Rock, Progressive Rock and proto-Metal. After a little bit the band enters and we launch into Classic Rock territory. This is excellently structured and great listening, every instrument and note is exciting to hear. A refreshingly interesting, powerful and beautiful piece of music, this is a great listening experience that although is based in Progressive Rock territory, takes some influence from all greats forms of music until that point. Nonetheless, this song is euphoric, listenable and amazing, much unlike anything else out there. A bunch of flanger treated drum rolls in the middle really get things going, and this piece comes alive. Some intertwined melodies from both keyboard and guitar emerge here, and this is followed by some strange lead guitar parts. This is very theatrical and is suspenseful and brilliant. A completely different and unique listening experience, this is inspired and amazing music. Soon enough, rolling drums enter as we progress through the second half and some good musicianship powers this along. In the last section are some tremendously powerful and emotional sounding guitars being played. This is extremely underrated music, and if you listen, you will know why. Some surreal and very Jimi Hendrix style guitar leads then enter to finish off this wonderful and interesting song. Truly dynamic and wonderful listening, this tune concludes with some spacey flanger effects on the entire mix, before fading out. Excellent work.
This is a really amazing and different piece of melodic Hard Rock and Progressive Rock mashed together, with a touch of Psychedelia about it. If you like Deep Purple, yet you find their music somewhat tedious at times, do give the Scorpions a try. These guys had a long and successful career ahead of them at this point. A very underrated record and something to hear whenever you need some intellectual and awesome Rock music.
Underrated band and tunes.