I’m getting old…but not as old as the Scorpions. Klaus Meine and Rudolph Schenker have been at it for over and 50 years and Mathias Jabs has been with them for over 40. With the core of the band from their prime intact, Rock Believer is their 19th studio album. If they put a question mark after the opening track, “Gas in the Tank,” it would be an appropriate question at this point. Interestingly, the song provides answers as well. If anything, the Scorps play looser now and that translates into an album that would be exciting and energetic had it come at any point in their career. Well, mostly at least. There are times throughout the album, as in the opener, that Meine’s voice comes up a little short. It’s really a matter of him knowing his limitations, because he sounds as good as ever 99% of the time, but there are a few moments where he sounds, well, old. Does it take away from the album as whole? Only slightly. They still have a better sense of melody that almost any of their peers and that continues to shine all these years later.
While the music still sounds young and hungry for the most part, the lyrics are also young…and stupid. The Scorpions were never poets (except when cooperating with the CIA), but “Gas in the Tank” has gems like this: “Move your fingers up and down the fret / The V is flyin’ without a net.” Yeah, that makes “Rock You Like a Hurricane” look like Wordsworth! But it’s better than the attempted seriousness of the closer, “When You Know (Where You Come From),” and its poorly constructed driving metaphor. Goofy Flying V references are certainly more their milieu. Again, if they just knew and accepted their limitations, Rock Believer would be an even better rock record than it is.
Released: February 25, 2022