The Scorpions
Humanity Hour 1

So the last time the Scorpions tried to reinvent themselves, on 1999’s Eye II Eye, the results weren’t very good. Most fans disliked it, and the attempt to update their sound and capture new fans certainly failed. But when I took a look at this record, I thought perhaps they’d decided to give it another shot. It was obviously some sort of concept piece. The opening track “Hour 1,” co-written by John 5, has kind of a bouncy and interesting guitar riff and it’s not your usual Scorpions tune. By the end of the song I was thinking this might work.

I, of course, missed one thing by just popping this CD into my truck player without reading the liner notes or back cover, and that was the name Desmond Child plastered all over it as producer and co-writer. I’m glad I didn’t notice that because Child has ruined enough bands I like that this record probably wouldn’t have gotten a fair listen if I’d seen it beforehand.

The real problem that I have with Humanity Hour 1 is that, after that first track, it’s just another Scorpions record. For fans I’m sure that’s great. For me, admittedly only a casual Scorps fan to begin with, I feel like I’ve heard all these songs before. I mean, how many times have they done the bass line and heartfelt vocal combo from “We Were Born to Fly.” For that matter, how many times have we heard that chorus melody?

I like the hard-rocking Scorpions. Give me “Blackout” over “Still Loving You” any day. But there’s just really aren’t any of those hard-rocking songs here. “The Cross” and “321” are about as close as it comes, and they’re definitely no “Blackout.” About the most charitable you could be with most of the stuff here is to call it power pop.

Humanity Hour 1 is not a bad record for what it is, and I suspect that the hardcore Scorpions fans will love it because it’s a return to a familiar style and sound. If you’re fond of the bands softer songs from the mid-1980s and wish they’d return to that style, you’re in luck. If you’re looking for something with a harder edge, better dig into the back catalog a bit.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
September 26th, 2007

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