Man, the Scorpions sure know how to cause a bit of controversy with their album covers. Remember “Virgin Killer” or “Lovedrive” and to a lesser extent “Animal Magnetism”. Well, you can add “Pure Instinct” to the list.
And all of this controversy generated an alternative cover, with the Scorpion guys acting like animals..
And the music catalog of Scorpions is all over the place when it comes to streaming services. This album like many others from the Scorpions is not available on streaming services like Spotify, Deezer or Apple, but hey YouTube has it.
So “Pure Instinct” is album thirteen. Released in 1996 it’s basically forgotten.
Klaus Meine is on vocals, Rudolf Schenker on rhythm guitars, Matthias Jabs on lead guitars and Ralph Rieckermann on bass. For drums they used a session player (aka a “Hired Gun”) called Curt Cress.
The main Producer is Erwin Musper with 80s legend Keith Olsen, producing tracks 1 and 7.
Produced by Keith Olsen.
Bag pipes play a Celtic like melody before the crunchy guitars of Rudolf Schenker kick in. Its classic Scorpions delivering a kick ass rock song.
Check out the lead breaks from Mattias Jabs especially the outro solo.
And to close out, the bag pipe melody is back in. Musically it’s as good as any hard rock track from the Scorpions.
“But the Best for You”
Klaus Meine wrote the song.
It’s more Bryan Adams in the Intro than the Euro Scorpions Rock and the verses are very heavily influenced by ELP and the song “From The Beginning”.
What is it with that ELP track?
Dokken covered the ELP track a year before on “Dysfunctional”.
The Chorus also has that “You Give Love A Bad Name” vibe.
“Does Anyone Know”
Another Meine composition and its the first ballad on the album.
Another day has just begun
Life goes on there’s no return
How can I trust anyone
When honesty is such a dirty word
A breakdown in a relationship is not easy especially when you’ve been deceived.
The guitar solo from Jabs is excellent, reminding me a bit of a certain UFO guitarist who did time in Scorpions.
“Stone in My Shoe”
The hard rock of Schenker is back and its got that 70’s feel.
“Soul Behind the Face”
The intro remimds of the Uli Jon Roth era with a bit of Neal Schon.
And even though the acoustic guitar is prominent in the verses, i class the song as a rocker.
And Meine’s lyrics are better here, questioning who he’s real friends are.
And What a Chorus!.
“Oh Girl (I Wanna Be with You)”
A mix of “No One Like You” and “Passion Rules the Game”.
“When You Came into My Life”
A ballad written by Meine and Schenker along with Titiek Puspa and James F. Sundah.
The intro arpeggios remind me of something, but I cant remember what.
The acoustic lead break by Jabs is brief.
“Where the River Flows”
I thought of Collective Soul when I saw this title, even though their version came after. A rock song but with a strummed acoustic as the main focal point.
Under suburban skies
Where life is bleeding
Where concrete skies are grey
There’s plenty of room for dreaming
My hometown has sure changed. Suburbia has moved from the house into the apartment which goes up many levels.
“Time Will Call Your Name”
It’s like a long lost cut from Led Zep III.
“You and I”
A boring ballad to me but it got played live.
“Are You the One?”
A ballad to close the album with.
And the album was a Top 10 album in Germany and Finland. It was also a Top 20 album in France, Switzerland and Austria.
It was also certified Gold in Germany, France and Finland.
In the end, it was a release to keep the Scorpions brand going. But the songs feel dull and uninspired. Other artists who had fame in the 80s ask struggled during this period, unsure of what to write, how to sound and how they fit in. Like when Slayer delivered a Nu-Metal album, you knew as a fan that bands were doing it tough.
Klaus Meine at 48 years of age was still writing about “Wild Child’s” and other irrelevant 80s cliches. But on some songs he showed us that there is a questioning human behind the rock star bravado.