After last week's post, which was about a mellow and intellectual album by Leonard Cohen, I decided to take it to the other extreme and recommend an album that has nothing to do with mellow or intellectual—an album I treasured by the first non-American or British artist I have written about, the Germanic Scorpions.
Every time I listen to this album, I smell of new carpet. I listened to it for the first time, lying in an empty living room that was just recarpeted, and the smell is still printed in my brain. The cover was so cool, I loved the logo, the colors, and the concept and this is what at the beginning, attracted me to the album. The young tinkerer I was, decided to create a pair of sunglasses out of bent forks to look like Rudolf Schenker; my mom was not happy.
This album represents, along with other two or three I'll recommend some other time, the climax of 80's heavy metal. The perfect guitar rhythms, singable melodies, and solos made it more digestible for the masses and young listeners not ready for Ozzy Osbourne or even Led Zeppelin. With "No One Like You," this album introduced a "power ballad," a love song by a heavy metal band you could record on a cassette tape to express your devotion to a young lady. While Scorpions didn't invent the ballad, this was one of the first and most popular in this format, later followed by artists like Poison, Motley Crue, and many others. Unfortunately for me, not many Mexican girls my age would appreciate them, or maybe it was just me, but my cassettes didn't work.
The intro of "Can't Live Without You" was the signature sound of this record, something I could only dream of listening to in concert. It was in the early 2000s that I finally saw Scorpions live, I was old enough by then to recognize their corkiness, but I still loved their music, perfect for its time and still one of the best heavy metal albums of its era.
The album remained relevant but stopped being my favorite after a few months. It regained some status when I spent a year in Tucson, AZ, and understood the spirit of their song Arizona. Apparently, they loved touring there, and I don't blame them.
Scorpions had seven albums before this, some of them probably better. And after Blackout, they reached superstardom, and their 1990 song "Wind of Change" about the fall of the Soviet Union is one of those songs everybody knows but doesn't know where it comes from. They have been among the few 80s bands that have maintained some relevance and are still touring.