Scorpions - Fly To The Rainbow
or better or worse, we here at Stylus, in all of our autocratic consumer-crit greed, are slaves to timeliness. A record over six months old is often discarded, deemed too old for publication, a relic in the internet age. That's why each week at Stylus, one writer takes a look at an album with the benefit of time. Whether it has been unjustly ignored, unfairly lauded, or misunderstood in some fundamental way, we aim with On Second Thought to provide a fresh look at albums that need it.
Krautrock was the most escape-obsessed genre ever, aptly for a country then obsessed with escaping its own identity. The future, space, or a quadruple-digit speedometer – anything went, as long as it didn’t come back. Being from wherever the German industrial heartland, the Scorpions engaged with the sturm und drang of their geist while having the highest percentage of gtr-solo-spots/’other shit’ on record. This album was recorded somewhat previous to when they annexed the Dire Straits’ compact disc market by causing the state to wither away. If they’d used a theremin and not whistled it would’ve sent the ‘wrong signal’, horrible results available on the ‘Euroshima Mix’ (Parallel-world import only).
Guitarist Uli Roth was a truly incredible Jimi Hendrix/Michael Karoli hybrid and the Faustian (and to my ears, successful) struggle between Teutonic repression (the amount of which is necessary to suppress Teutonic paganism) and electrofuturist hedonism produced a singular guitar tone both simulating and responding to both the early (Musicland Munich Studios! They probably did the Chicory Tip record down the hall on the same day! Also explains why the cowbell on “Speedy’s Coming” sounds like a 303, and why “Fly People Fly” unfortunately goes on even longer than “Fly Robin Fly” should’ve) synths and Klaus Meine’s voice, which you all know from that Euroshima song and is an instrument of unequalled clarity and roughness, range and complexity, abandon and control. On the centrepiece “Drifting Sun”, however, the lead vocal is by Uli Roth. He sounds like a very excellent guitarist singing in a second language, also after having drunk as much as is possible without choking on your own vomit. In fact he sounds like Bobby Gillespie. Coincidentally the chorus of “Drifting Sun” is “shine on”. Like, you could fool the tabloids with this, or maybe Alan McGee. Elsewhere in Germany that year Jean-Paul Sartre interviewed the imprisoned urban terrorist Andreas Baader, whose preserved brain was recently stolen from Tuebingen University’s Neurological Research Institute.
The picture on the front would be the worst cover art in history if it yielded to any explication whatever. Then again it’s not as bad as the back cover where the propeller-appendaged clown with the Shriner hat is bending over and the band personnel is printed on his butt. 1978 and the Lovedrive bubblegum pic were years away. The lesser-noted In Trance cover is a strange one too, the guitar the chick’s squatting over has a whammy bar on it. Like, wouldn’t that hurt? “Just ask the Axis…”
By: Dave Queen
Published on: 2004-03-16