As reported in the ‘Lovedrive’ review, Michael Schenker rejoined Scorpions after he left UFO. He toured with the band and left during the tour so Mathias Jabs was brought back in the fold after some heave negotiations. It is the line-up of Mathias Jabs, Rudolf Schenker, Klaus Meine, Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell that bring us the bands seventh studio album, ‘Animal Magnetism’. A name that was thought up by Mr. Rarebell.
The album was released on March 31, 1980 and saw the band maintain their current sound with hard rock songs that were melodic and catchy as hell. The sound that the world would soon catch on too and see them hit the stratosphere, but not just yet. The album went #52 in the U.S. and it would reach platinum status. In the UK, the album spawned two singles that reached the Top 100 though the only made it as high as the 70’s and not Top 40 hits. It was another album that saw the band keep moving in the right direction.
Now, like almost all of Scorpions album covers, this one too had a little controversy. It was designed by renowned artist, Storm Thorgerson of the design firm Hipgnosis. It had a young lady on her knees in front of a man and she only comes up waist high. It is very suggestive as we wonder is she going to do something sexually to the man although nothing is shown. It is purely speculation. As a result, there was no alternative cover done for this one. But the most interesting thing about the cover is the addition of the dog right next to the girl. Why is he/she there, we have no idea other than to stick with the name of the album, ‘Animal Magnetism’. It is so strange and yet so captivating. I love this cover for everything that it doesn’t show.
The album kicks off with “Make It Real” which sees Herman Rarebell get full lyric writing credit as he does on three of the songs on the album and shares three with Klaus. It is equally split between the two lyric writers. Most of the music is done by Rudolf Schenker, but not all. “Make It Real” is a pretty laid back opener and not explosive like some of their opening tracks, but it isn’t less of a song. It is actually quite fantastic as it chugs along and is so melodic with a chorus that sucks you in and gets stuck in your head. Klaus sounds great and that extra “fantasy” lyric in the chorus is Klaus it his finest. It gives it a little something extra.
Up next is “Don’t Make Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep)” which gives us Mathias Jabs only writing credit but what a doozy it is. It is a heavy, quick tempo track with some gritty riffs and great drum fills by Rarebell. Full of energy, recklessness and lightning fast speed it is a classic Scorpions sounding track and I want to crank it to 11 every chance I get. Mathias shows why he is now the main guitarist and Michael is not needed.
“Hold Me Tight” slows it down only a little and giving us a slight groove and some great rhythm section work as the bass is working overtime on this one. The song is slow with a whole brooding vibe and it starts to gets a little monotonous, but Klaus’ screams and growls keep it from falling to the delete side of things.
Then with “Twentieth Century Man” is another mid-tempo track and that drags and drones on with no direction. The chorus falls flat and the whole song fills like filler as there is nothing killer about it.
Then we end Side A with a ballad called “Lady Starlight”. It is one of the only songs (or only song) with any type of orchestration of both strings and horns and though they were going for sophistication with the adds, it felt more pretentious. I know lot of people love this song, but for me it comes across as not authentic or believable. They have better ballads then this one.
Side B kicks off with “Falling in Love” written solely by Herman Rarebell. The song is slightly repetitive with the same riff throughout and it is quite simple sounding with no real heart and soul. The chorus is hardly anything at all and leaves me wanting…not anything, just wanting something to feel maybe. Bleh!
But all is not lost as the last three songs on this album kick some major ass. First up is “Only A Man” and it is a beast. Klaus opens a cappella and then the band explodes and delivers a destructive assault that is most welcomed. It screams for you to join right in and sing along. It is one of the more interesting songs on the album.
The most interesting though is “The Zoo” and is a pure classic. It has rip-roaring riffs along with pulse pounding percussion and then that groove chugs along like a run away locomotive. Klaus delivers one of his finest vocal performances with some great inflections in his delivery. It is a pure masterpiece of a track and is like nothing else on the album. It sweeps you up in the emotion and when that chorus hits, it bores in to your ears like a sweet ear candy and you can’t help but get it stuck in your head. And it has some Frampton Talk Box on the guitar and man, I’m all in at this point.
The final track is the title track, “Animal Magnetism”. Talk about a song that sounds nothing like anything else on the album…wow. “Animal Magnetism” is pure Sabbathy Heavy Metal. It is dark, eerie and scary as hell. Klaus’ vocals are hauntingly evil and the song is so out of left field, it works on every level. I always love these kind of surprises on an album.
- Make It Real – Keeper
- Don’t Make No Promises (Your Body Can’t Keep) – Keeper
- Hold Me Tight – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Twentieth Century Man – Delete
- Lady Starlight – Delete
- Falling in Love – Delete
- Only a Man – Keeper
- The Zoo – Keeper
- Animal Magnetism – Keeper
The Track Score is 5.5 out of 9 or 61%. The middle part of this album weighs it down a lot, but the songs on here that are good aren’t just good, they are great. From the opening duo of “Make it Real” and “Don’t Make No Promises” to the tri-fecta of closers with “Only A Man”, “The Zoo” and “Animal Magnetism”, I am all in. Those songs elevate the album more than the weak tracks that weigh it down. For me at this point, Scorpions are on the cusp of greatness…but not quite there. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars. Some classic Scorpions songs here so well worth a grab, just skip on over a few tracks and all is good.
NEXT UP: ROCK GALAXY (1980)
THE SCORPIONS COLLECTION SERIES:
- Lonesome Crow (1972)
- Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
- In Trance (1975)
- Virgin Killer (1976)
- Taken by Force (1977)
- Tokyo Tapes (1978)
- Lovedrive (1979)
- Best of Scorpions (1979)
- Animal Magnetism (1980)
- Rock Galaxy (1980)
- Blackout (1982)
- Hot & Heavy (1982)
- Love at First Sting (1984)
- Still Loving You Maxi Single (1984)
- Best of Scorpions Vol. 2 (1984)
- Gold Ballads (1984)
- World Wide Live (1985)
- Savage Amusement (1988)
- Rhythm of Love – Single (Box Set) (1988)
- Best of Rockers ‘n’ Ballads (1989)
- Crazy World (1990)
- Crazy World – 4 Track From Crazy World Promo Vinyl (1990)
- Tease Me Please Me Promo CD (1990)
- Don’t Believe Her Promo CD (1990)
- Send Me An Angle Promo CD (1991)
- Face the Heat (1993)
- Live Bites (1995)
- Pure Instinct (1996)
- Big City Nights (Compilation) (1998)
- Eye II Eye (1999)
- Moment of Glory (with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) (2000)
- Acoustica (2001)
- Unbreakable (2004)
- Humanity: Hour 1 (2007)
- Sting in the Tail (2010)
- Comeblack (2011)
- MTV Unplugged – Live in Athens (2013)
- Return to Forever (2015)
- Rock Believer (2022)
- The Albums Ranked Worst to First