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Love Drive

Review by Gary Hill

I know that for many people the post Uli Jon Roth era of Scorpions is the best. Personally, I've always preferred the earlier stuff. The previous album to this one was Taken by Force, and it was the final one with Roth. To me, this was more of a transition album, seeming to have a lot of that older sound still in place, while also foreshadowing a lot of the more formulaic Scorpions sound that was to come. In place of Roth, Matthias Jabs took over the guitar position, but Michael Schenker (brother of Scorpions' Rudolf Schenker" guested here. He provided the lead solos on "Another Piece of Meat", "Coast to Coast", "Holiday", "Loving You Sunday Morning" and "Lovedrive" and co-wrote "Coast to Coast" and "Holiday." There was definitely a bit of his trademark sound in the musical mix of this album. I think this is the one disc that probably equally pleased fans of both eras of the group. The lineup was rounded out by Scorpions mainstays Klaus Meine (vocals), Francis Buchholz (bass) and Herman Rarebell (drums).

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Track by Track Review
Loving You Sunday Morning
A guitar riff starts things tentatively. The rocking begins from there. The vocals come in over the top, with this feeling like a bridge between the earlier Scorpions music and the sound that would come later. The more melodic chorus section is perhaps more tied to the type of thing that would become the predominate sound for the band in later years. In some ways this feels like the precursor for the song "The Zoo" that would show up on the next album from the band. The cool bridge with intriguing changes and non-lyrical vocals, though, is more fully tied to the earlier sound of albums like Virgin Killer and Taken by Force.
Another Piece Of Meat
Now, this fierce screamer is really a call back to the Virgin Killer era. It's raw in lyrical content and musical textures. Yet it is also packed with meat. The pace is furious, and this is such a powerhouse tune.
Always Somewhere
This melodic rocker is sort of a power ballad. It has a nice balance between the mellower end of the spectrum and the more rocking movements. The guitar solo is tasty. This number is definitely more tied to the future of the band than it is to the past, but it's still got some of that older element built into it. It's an evocative and powerful number.
Coast To Coast
While this is more of a pure driving rocker, it has a melodic element to the guitar riffing built into it. The guitar soloing on the track is so expressive. This definitely bears the branding of Michael Schenker. This is a classy instrumental.
Can't Get Enough
Here we're back into fast and furious metal screaming. This is a short song, but it's so up-tempo that it sort of needs to be. This is fierce and strong. It's another that feels like it would have been at home on the Virgin Killer album.
Is There Anybody There?
Now, this was an oddity. There is almost a reggae vibe to the piece. Yet there are some elements that lean back toward some of the sounds on Taken by Force. This has a lot more of the melodic angle of the band's sound. That said, there is still some metallic crunch, and the guitar solo is tasty.
The metal jam that opens this is very much in line with the dramatic and powerful side of older Scorpions. In fact, this number is probably the most closely tied to the era of the band. I'd bet this was written around the same time as the Taken by Force album because it feels like it could have been an out-take from that set. This is one of the most fiercely metallic tunes here, and also one of my favorites. That makes it a great choice for title track. The instrumental section has a bit of a Michael Schenker Group element to it, but with a fiercer early Scorpions sound at the core.
Intricate acoustic guitar opens this number. There is a sadness amongst the beauty. It feels cold, but also emotional somehow. The vocals come in gentle, and the song gains another level of beauty. This occupies much the same musical space as early Scorpions cuts like "We'll Burn the Sky" and "Born to Touch Your Feelings." As it launches into the rocking movement, the line "Longing for the sun" seems to be a reference to earlier Scorpions music. The backing vocals over the top of the arrangements adds a lot to the cut, and this is generally a much deeper tune than just your basic power ballad. It drops back for a short intricate guitar solo before moving back into the opening movement. While the previous guitar solo bit was acoustic, a melodic electric guitar solo comes over the top of the mellow balladic arrangement as this continues. The guitar soloing carries on until the song (and album) finishes.
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