There are certain bands whose music instantly offers up a comfort of sorts – you pop in one of their CDs - or, in this case, a brand new record, and are instantly reminded of just how good they are. There's a familiarity in the style of music, but yet without sounding dated or too reminiscent of the group's musical past. The Scorpions are one of those bands. They are a group that has been around long enough and has gotten to the level that they simply know how to do it well – really well.
Absolutely one of the best bands I've ever seen live, and they continually put out great songs - album after album. This isn't surprising when one thinks that it's been 35 years since Scorpions released their debut record, and in that time they've sold more than 70 million records world-wide. Their current release, Humanity Hour 1, is no exception to the stellar performance, talent, and execution that rock fans have grown accustomed to.
To augment the already superior talent and know-how, the Scorps brought in "Midas" - as he's known in the music world, Desmond Child to work with James Michael on the production of the record. Child, who seems to have the 'golden touch,' has worked with acts such as Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Ricky Martin, Cher, and Michael Bolton assisting in the creation of mega-hits for these artists. As a result in this case, the production is crisp and crystal clear – not one thing in any of these songs sounds awkward or 'wrong.'
The 12-song Humanity Hour 1 kicks off with the powerful opener, "Hour 1." Throughout the entire disc there is almost a dark feel present, lyrically, and this is exemplified in "Hour 1" with somewhat of an apocalyptic point of view.
Then we experience "The Game Of Life," probably my favorite on the entire disc. This is a rocker, no doubt, but it also has great moments of musical subtleties, and yet too with extremely catchy hooks. "The Game Of Life" is a quintessentially well-written Scorpions song which proves that practice does make perfect.
Followed by "We Were Born To Fly," a song with almost a dreamy quality which flows with a delicate beckoning and the promise of love.
"The Future Never Dies" begins with the sweet piano part and then launches into something the Scorpions are known and loved for – the power ballad. With heart wrenching lyrics about watching the love you're involved with slipping through your fingers, "The Future Never Dies" is a rock ballad without the sappiness. Extremely well done – few bands can put out this powerful of a song without a whole lot of guitar and drum bravado.
A close second for favorites would have to be "321." It's got a heavy groove with a catchy chorus that will instantly have you tapping your foot and singing along. The rhythm section is solid here, and the song's simply got a cool sounding guitar solo and bridge.
"We Will Rise Again" is modest but with a strong, melodic billow.
"Your Last Song" is another heartbreaking musical interpretation of having to move forward and out of a relationship that has died.
"The Cross" is a heady and progressive sounding rocker and which features Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins fame. Corgan's blissfully unique vocals are most obvious in the bridge. This is a very cool collaboration, and a nice addition to an already great record.
Other songs on the disc include the light and salient "Love Will Keep Us Alive," "You're Lovin' Me To Death," and "Love Is War."
Wrapping up the record is the very Scorpion-ish sounding "Humanity." Yet another excellent song on this album.I find myself wanting to write over and over how 'good' this album is because frankly it is that good - probably one of the best new albums to come out in quite some time, and one which I already know will become one of my top favorites of all time.