By JAY ROBERTS
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
SCORPIONS – SAVAGE AMUSEMENT (1988)
“Welcome to a trip into my hurt feelings.” – Klaus Meine
That opening line to the song “Walking On The Edge” sums up my reaction to the research I did on the Savage Amusement album as I prepared to write this article.
I say hurt feelings because it seems that this album is not all that fondly looked upon at all. Which is a mystery to me because I love it. Coming off the twin successes of Love At First Sting and the World Wide Live releases, I think Savage Amusement is a phenomenal follow-up. But it sold less than its immediate predecessors and seems to suffer from claims that it was chasing the trends in metal that ruled the day back in 1988.
To that, I say “PHOOEY!”.
When the album opens up with the rocking “Don’t Stop At The Top” track, the band has a song that pretty much sums up their place in the metal pecking order at the time. The Scorpions had everything going for them.
The first single released from the album was “Rhythm of Love”. While it isn’t all that bad of a song overall, it is rather bland compared to some of the other material on the album.
Meanwhile, “Passion Rules The Game” featured lyrics that could get anyone up for a challenge and it lends itself well to me on a personal level as a way to sum up the passion I once had for coaching basketball. You can’t try to do something and be good at it without a hefty dose of passion.
I know that the Scorpions aren’t looked to for in-depth lyrical exploration of themes, but sometimes you can find some meaning or equivalency to a real world situation. Case in point, check out the lyrics for the rocker “Media Overkill”. Those lyrics are insanely on point for today’s world. When you combine it with a strong music score, you have a great song. I bought the album when it was originally released and I noted that I always loved the kind of clipped delivery that Klaus Meine had when saying the song title. It’s just a small thing that bears no real significance but it has always stuck with me for some reason. Plus, it is just a really cool sounding song.
While the band found huge chart success with the album closing ballad “Believe In Love”, I thought it was actually the aforementioned “Walking On The Edge” that was the better of the two power ballad tracks on the album.
I thought the lyrical slant of “Every Minute Every Day” was overdone but I liked the music portion of the song which helped overcome that weaker set of lyrics.
The second side of the album is where the band seems to cut loose in terms of all out musical fury. “We Let It Rock…You Let It Roll” is lightning fast and really gets your blood pumping. And the song “Love On The Run” keeps that blood pressure rising with it’s relentlessly fast pacing.
And that’s kind of what I remember most about Savage Amusement, it is just a hard rocking album that has great hooks to draw you in and it is the total package you could desire for a metal album of its day. I’ve never been able to see The Scorpions in concert but I do think Savage Amusement is an album that coincides with my hopes for the band’s live show where the band just leaves you feeling fully satisfied and thoroughly entertained!
NOTES OF INTEREST: When the band reissued a large chunk of their catalog to celebrate their 50th anniversary, Savage Amusement contained seven bonus tracks. There were six demo tracks and the band’s cover of The Who’s “I Can’t Explain”. (By the way, if anyone knows where I can get a copy of this version of the CD release without breaking the bank, let me know.)
Canadian rocker Lee Aaron provided backing vocals on the song “Rhythm of Love”. Ex-Accept bassist Peter Baltes did the intro vocals on “Every Minute Every Day”.