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Scorpions Unbreakable

By Jeff Kerby, Contributor
Friday, July 16, 2004 @ 1:26 AM


(Sanctuary)

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When Bill picked up the doe-eyed, six-foot, leggy prostitute from his local red light district, he had lust in his eyes. A couple of minutes later, when he was parked with said lady of the evening behind the local Piggly Wiggly, Bill was astonished to discover that not only did the woman he pick up possess a fully functional vagina—something he was expecting--but he also discovered that underneath her moistness was an extensive, flapping growth of flesh not unlike a large turkey wattle. It wasn’t long before he found this a painful proposition as the hot collection of excess of skin rubbed against the pre-existing acne condition on his thigh as he tried desperately to thrust his disgust away.

Finally noticing Bill’s disdain while he continued to glance down at the source of his irritation, the streetwalker looked into his eyes and said, “Don’t worry about it, hon, it feels better the more times we do it. You’ll get used to it. I’ll see you next time, baby.”

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If Bill had gone back to pick up this particular hooker again, people would have thought that he was sick or harboring some type of deep-seeded fetish.

It is exactly for that reason that I distrust individuals who tell me, “It’s ok if you hated that disc the first time—I did too. Just listen to it about ten more times.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I can buy the argument that it’s possible to appreciate an album more and more with each spin, but it’s hard to believe that a listener can initially abhor something only to find out later that the genius of the work has finally revealed itself after the fiftieth listen. That sounds like something Radiohead fanatics tell themselves simply to justify the $15.99 they wasted on the band’s latest audio cacophony.

One thing I kept hearing from people is that the Scorpions new album, Unbreakable, was one of those discs that gets better with each listen—something that doesn’t scare me as long as it doesn’t absolutely suck like Robert Downey Jr. on a crack pipe the first time I pop it in the stereo.

Most Scorps fans hated the experimentation of Eye II Eye and the overall crappiness of Pure Instinct. That being said, metalheads still faithfully attend the live shows, but there has been more than a little apprehension regarding the band’s latest studio efforts—rightfully so…I mean, saying that Eye II Eye is your favorite Scorpions album would be akin to saying Slang is your favorite Def Leppard offering.

Thankfully, when the first sounds of Unbreakable emanate from the speaker, the instrumentation and arrangement becomes instantly identifiable as originating from a disc whose attitude appears a lot closer to that of a classic Scorpions offering than to that of some of their more recent selections. In fact, Klaus’ voice also hasn’t sounded better since the majority of the band’s catalogue was primarily available on cassette and their fans wore feathered hair and skintight 501’s. It’s too bad though that the first track, “New Generation” has lyrics that one could imagine would accompany a metallic Pepsi commercial—you know, sentiment like, “We are, we are the new generation, we are the only ones who can make a change.” Listening to it the first time, I kept expecting Shaquille O’Neal to pop out from around the corner chugging from a bottle of soda, but that being said, it does sound… pretty decent—that is primarily what matters anyway. In the end it works as an opening selection.

Continuing in the tradition of massive cliché comes the rocker “Love’em or Leave’em” which has an appealing upper mid tempo flow and comes complete with a Rudolf/Matthias guitar break that sounds like it would have been right at home on Blackout. “Deep and Dark” rolls along at a slightly slower pace, but is instantly arena ready and sure to be included in the setlist when the band hits the road this fall with Tesla. The same can really also be said of “Borderline,” only the results aren’t quite as appealing as the over-the-top chorus is a bit too slow and sing-songy. “Blood Too Hot” cranks the speed up and is definitely one of Unbreakable’s highlights. After the burning swelter of the previous track, those who listen to the Scorpions fervently know that the listener is about to get a ballad. That is usually a stellar proposition given that the Scorps have produced some of the greatest power ballads in metal history. The problem is that “Maybe I Maybe You” with its piano intro isn’t going to make anyone forget “Still Loving You,” and it is basically the most disappointing song here.

At this point of the initial listen, I still wasn’t convinced this was a keeper—that was before the second half of the disc. “Someday is Now” is classic Scorpions and it made me forget not really connecting with the previous song very much. What continues is track after track of the type of music the band should have never really deviated from at all. Why should they? This group in peak form simply produces timeless rock and roll—no small task. “My City My Town,” “Through My Eyes” and “Can You Feel It” just make this disc an enjoyable listen and actually give metal fans a hope that vital music can still be produced by classic bands in the future. The second ballad, “She Said” is more representative of a great Scorps-type ode to love. When the disc ends with the anti-Alzheimer’s track “Remember the Good Times,” it is evident that it would be nearly impossible for anyone to deem this record a disappointment in any way.

Unbreakable succeeds on the first listen, and yes, it’s true that the experience only gets better with each successive spin. Thankfully, it in no way represents a hooker with a vaginal turkey wattle, so you don’t have to worry about the prospect of purchasing a disc that people say requires forty hours of listening to enjoy. Hell, a person could probably get brainwashed into tolerating Clay Aiken if they had to listen to it every second of every day for months—it would change their outlook on the world anyway. When one considers the impressive music recently released by Motorhead and Tesla, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that this may be the best period in the last ten years for a grouping of bands many felt would never produce anything worthy of purchase again. If that is the litmus test, then what Unbreakable dictates is that the next time you find yourself with an extra fifteen bucks you spend it on some vintage Scorpions, not a low rent hooker—with the former you know what you’ll get, with the latter, you never know.

* * * ½


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