It started back on August 1, 2022 and it ends today. The Scorpions Collection Series has been a run ride and after 40 posts, we come to the conclusion. And that conclusion will take the 19 Studio albums and 1 compilation and rank them from the best album to the worst. The 1 compilation is really a studio album. ‘Comeblack’ is 1/2 re-recorded hits and 1/2 covers so in my book, it is a studio album.
Scorpions started way back in 1965, but their first album after many ups and downs finally came out in 1972. It was ‘Lonesome Crow’. There are two classic line-ups of the band in my book. You have the 1st with Rudolf Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, Klaus Meine, Francis Buchholz and Rudy Lennars. Then their heyday of the 80’s saw Rudolf Schenker, Klaus Meine, Francis Buchholz, Mathias Jabs and Herman Rarebell. Yes, Micheal Schenker was in the band and there have numerous drummers and the like, but I would say these two were my favorite line-ups. The final album came out in 2022 and it was called ‘Rock Believer’, so we have 50 years of albums and over 50 years of the band and it was a hell of a ride going through this series.
Now, let us get to the brass tacks here and start this ranking…and away we go….
THE WORST – ‘EYE II EYE’ (1999):
I think it is fair to say this might be the worst Scorpions album of them all. And since I’ve heard them all, I think I’m qualified to make that statement. I am all fine with experimenting, but with such a drastic change, it is a little too much all at once. The techno sound, the rapping, the almost full album of ballads was too shocking for most humans to handle. Now, there are a handful of great tracks on here, but not enough to save this pile of garbage (though good enough for a Scorps playlist). My Overall Score is a 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars as the Scorpions are not a boy band, they are not a pop band and they are definitely not a techno band. They are a hard rock, heavy metal giant that got lost in the 90’s like a lot of 70’s/80’s bands did.
#19 – ‘COMEBLACK’ (2011):
The re-recording of the classic Scorpions songs was a complete and utter waste of time for me. If I want to hear those, I’m going to ALWAYS listen to the original tracks. Under no circumstances would I ever care to listen to the re-recordings…EVER!! Now, the covers are a different story. Although they all don’t work perfectly, most are stellar covers and a lot of fun and I’d listen to the Scorpionized versions anytime. I wish they would’ve done a full covers album as that would be worth having in the collection. As a result, this one is for those people that need to complete the Scorpions library and nothing more. My Overall Score is a 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars as the covers were good, but nothing else was worth it.
#18 – ‘PURE INSTINCT’ (1996):
If you like ballads, then this is the album for you. However, if you are like most people and there should be more rockers than ballads, then this isn’t for you. And when I say rockers, that is a little misleading because this one doesn’t have many and the ones that are might be closer to pop rock than hard rock. Even though the album grew on me a little, it also bored me a little too which is never a good thing. Musically, the band sounds good; Vocally, Klaus still sound great; but the songs…oh the songs…didn’t have the punch they needed and too many ballads drag the record down. It is funny how some of the 80’s bands went really heavy in the mid-90’s and changed up their sound completely, Scorpions thought the softer route was the way to go…they were wrong. My Overall Score is 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars.
#17 – ‘LONESOME CROW’ (1972):
I don’t know if I’ve ever had so many songs I liked, but still not thrilled about overall. ‘Lonesome Crow’ is psychedelic ride that will leave you tripping, but also scratching your head as it is unfocused, experimental and not what you’d expect when you hear the band name Scorpions. Klaus Meine might be the lead singer, but he is barely on the album. It is really more an instrumental, jam style record with a little Klaus thrown in so you don’t forget he is there. There is no denying the musicianship on this thing as it is tremendous and I do enjoy it, but it isn’t an album I will pull out too much and will be a mood album meaning I’ll need to be in the mood for it. My Overall Score is 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars as it isn’t half bad, but it isn’t half good either.
#16 – ‘FACE THE HEAT’ (1993):
This was the last album I bought from the band for about a decade. I sort of jumped off ship at this point to finally come back some time in the 00’s with “Humanity: Hour 1”. The album had a few great songs, but the rest was forgettable moments after you heard it. Production was great, but the songs weren’t. The idea of a heavier Scorpions would’ve been great, but they could find the right feel. The band seemed to be out of steam as they tried to be political due to the success of “Wind of Change”, but that direction led them to lose themselves and what makes the Scorpions…the Scorpions. My Overall Score is 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars. It has its moments, but they are few and far between.
#15 – ‘VIRGIN KILLER’ (1976):
I can’t say I was blown away by this album as there aren’t a ton of memorable tracks. You do get the great “Catch Your Train”, “Pictured Life” and “Virgin Killer”, but there are too many misses when you only have 9 tracks. It wasn’t a step forward, yet not necessarily a step backwards either. They didn’t have the songs is all. The controversy of the album cover is really the most exciting thing about it and that isn’t great. Now, there were more good songs than bad so it gets a passing grade. My Overall Score is a 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars. We know things get better so not going to worry about this one too much.
#14 – ‘UNBREAKABLE’ (2004):
The album starts off really strong as the front half is way better than the back half. I think a lot of this is a case of too many songs. Streamline this down to 10 songs and you have a smash hit. However, the extra bloated weight does weigh it down for me. I’m glad to see the band get back to form and remember what they are all about by bringing back the rock. Let me tell you, they definitely brought it with this one. I really dug “New Generation”, “Deep and Dark” and the ballad “Maybe I Maybe You” is one of my favorites from the band. But too much dead weight on this one brings the score down. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as I do like this one a lot, just should’ve been shorter.
#13 – ‘STING IN THE TAIL’ (2010):
It might not be their best album, but it has some great moments and I still find it enjoyable overall. The first half of the album is actually great and the back half only has a couple stellar moments. The problem is the album is filled with filler and a lot of ballads even though they are some of the best moments of the album. This will never be considered a top Scorpions album, but a band and their 17th album, it is still a respectable piece. And if this is how they were going to go out, not a terrible way to end..but thankfully we know they can come back and do better. My Overall Score is 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars.
#12 – ‘RETURN TO FOREVER’ (2015):
Most bands around this long, the material tends to dry up, but not with Scorpions. They still sound fresh and ready to rock. Yes, a lot of these are old songs, finally released, but the new songs are so good and this album was way better than expected. Their output hasn’t really suffered and it is impressive. The album has a whole nostalgic vibe to it and maybe because of that it feels comfortable like we’ve heard it before and already know the songs. It feels like home and for that I really enjoyed this album. It didn’t all work, but enough does to make this a must have and a great listen. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as it isn’t the best, but it is above average and some really great songs, especially “We Built This House”, as it is now one of my favorite Scorpion tracks.
#11 – ‘FLY TO THE RAINBOW’ (1974):
The first half of the album is pretty stellar as the band has started to find their groove with this more hard rock sound. The back half was a weaker but didn’t bring you down too much. Uli’s guitar playing is a shot in the arm for the band and Klaus finally gets to show what he can do and that is sing the shit out of the songs. With a rhythm section that consists of Rudolf and Francis, you are in for a treat. This is the only album with Jurgen on drums and he leaves his mark as he has some great fills and moments throughout. A step up from the debut, but still not quite classic status although did really enjoy this one. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars as the band takes their turn towards hard rock and make a giant leap forward, but still aren’t there yet.
#10 – ‘ANIMAL MAGNETISM’ (1980):
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.
#9 – ‘SAVAGE AMUSEMENT’ (1988):
It is a well-polished machine with slick songs that make the album feel mature and yet a bit over-produced. I blame the producer and the record company for this one as I am sure they pressured everyone to modernize the sound with the changing tide in the music. As I’ve said before, I loved this album when it came out because of the way it sounded, which was like everything else at the time, but today I feel that is its downfall. I still love this album, however, I can now see its limitations. My Overall Score is a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars and it would’ve been higher back in the day, but we aren’t back in 1988 now are we.
#8 – ‘CRAZY WORLD’ (1990):
I like this one and the fact they didn’t over produce this one like ‘Savage Amusement’. The sleazy songs were so much fun and sometimes you just need down & dirty. The more sophisticated tracks like “Winds of Change”, “Crazy World” and “Send Me An Angel” also were a nice dichotomy to the album. You got some slick and some sick…that is what you need sometimes. It was good to bring Keith Olsen in to produce as the guys needed to shake things up a bit. My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars as this is their last great album for some time to come…at least in my book.
#7 – ‘IN TRANCE’ (1975):
I have seen the album listed as the band’s first “real” album and that would because it is the start of the classic Scorpions sound that made them famous. Tighter songs and straight up hard rock. The progressive sounds of the earlier albums are gone and replaced with a more in your face, wham bam thank you ‘mam attitude. What is also really cool about this album is that there is an overall sadness to it which I think adds a lot of magic to the sound. The front half of this album is pure brilliance and the back half has a few misses, but in a total overall picture, it is a fantastic record. My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars as you can hear the Scorpions honing in on their sound and starting to hit on all cylinders.
#6 – ‘LOVEDRIVE’ (1979):
Maybe because I already loved this album or was overly familiar with it, but I think it is awesome. I was so excited to get to this era of the band as it is the era I grew up with so I might be a little biased with it, but I don’t care. It is cool that Michael Schenker was back and to have Mathias Jabs as well only added to the greatness. You can definitely tell their different styles on the solos and where Michael is a little more flashy, Mathias plays it better for the song and seems more versatile. Both bring a nice touch. I thought Klaus had never sounded better as he seems to have found his zone. The songs were more melodic, more catchy and just more inviting. The only real complaints is there were only 8 tracks and too many ballads, though the songs were great. As a result, My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. It isn’t their best, but it is a step in the right direction.
#5 – ‘ROCK BELIEVER’ (2022):
All I can say is Wow!! This was a totally unexpected gem from Scorpions. Their last set of albums have been good with some songs that showed they still had some gas in the tank, but I never expected an album full of stellar tracks that kept my interest from beginning to end (with the exception of the last ballad). With songs as strong as “Rock Believer” and “Seventh Sun”, this album really stands out. Then with the typical great Scorpions rockers like “Gas in the Tank”, “Roots in My Boots” and “Peacemaker”, I was heaven with this album. My Overall Score is a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars. If this turns out to be their last album…they are going out with a bang!!
#4 – ‘HUMANITY: HOUR 1’ (2007):
I don’t know if I ever expected an album like this from the Scorpions, but man did they blow my mind with this one. This is one of those albums for me that connected so well and as a result, I pull it out frequently to listen to it. The production is top notch thanks to James Michael and yes, even Desmond Child. The band sounds, fresh, hungry and Klaus’ vocals are some of his best ever. From the opening of “Hour 1” to “The Game of Life”, “321”, “The Cross” and the closer of “Humanity”, you get some of their finest work in over 15 years. The band was on fire with this one and proved they still have a lot to give. Yes, there is still gas in the tank with these guys. My Overall Score is a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars!! I think I’m going to go listen to this one again. You can disagree with me on the placement, but I’m right, you are wrong…get over it!!
#3 – ‘TAKEN BY FORCE’ (1977):
Scorpions really out-do themselves with this one. They seem to be finding their groove even if Uli Jon Roth didn’t like it. Us music fans really started to love it. Herman Rarebell joins the band and makes a real impact even getting his first co-write. Uli’s playing is still inspiring even if he wasn’t anymore. Klaus keeps sounding better and keeps getting more comfortable at the helm. Rudolf is always underrated rhythm guitarist and Francis still killing it on the bass. This to me is the first totally killer Scorpions album and won’t be the last. If you had to start somewhere, this might be the place to start. My Overall Score is a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars as it just kept getting better with every listen as a great album should.
#2 – ‘BLACKOUT’ (1982):
On any given day, this one could be #1. ‘Blackout’ is as close to perfection as you can get. No song is worth skipping over and it all needs to be taken in during one sitting with the volume cranked up to 10. There is enough variety on here with the 80’s rock sound, some 70’s glam and even 70’s dark and gloomy heavy metal. You get rockers and even ballads. It is all there for you to inhale and absorb, but don’t blackout from all the greatness. My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars! It don’t get much better than this. That one hiccup at the end doesn’t detract from its overall amazingness.
#1 – ‘LOVE AT FIRST STING’ (1984):
Quite simply their best album…at least for me. It takes you on a ride and delivers different twists and turns and not the same old crap song after song. It had variety and that is the spice of life. It has one of the most iconic 80’s rock songs of all time with “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and one of my all time favorite ballads as well with “Still Loving You”. And if that wasn’t enough, it might have my all time favorite Scorpions song with “Coming Home”. What more could you want from an album…nothing!! My Overall Score is a solid 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars! It don’t get much better than this!!
And there you have it, Scorpions studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!
I can’t believe it is already over, but if you missed any reviews in the series, don’t fret…you can click on the links below and get all caught up. Thanks for riding along on this journey. And the next series will be coming soon…just not sure how soon…
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) – Bonus Edition
- 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)
- Bad for Good: The Very Best Of Scorpions (2002)
- Unbreakable (2004)
- Humanity: Hour 1 (2007)
- Sting in the Tail (2010)
- Comeblack (2011)
- MTV Unplugged in Athens (2013)
- Return to Forever (2015)
- Rock Believer (2022)
- The Albums Ranked Worst to First
9 thoughts on “Scorpions – The Albums Ranked Worst to First (The Scorpions Collection Series)”
Good one, I would’ve put the uli jon roth albums waaaaaaaaay lower and lovedrive (and animal magnetism) waaaaaaaaay higher but the rest is good although sometimes it’s cocky but I agree with these choices
Am I the only one to hate the american cover of taken by force ?
Holy fuckin’ cock, it’s been going on since August? Where does time go?
Man that is one mega list. My top 2 would be Blackout followed by LAFS. Nice to see Crazy World up there as well as Rock Believer. Great stuff John congrats on getting this done…Now onto more Soto!
I have to like this just for Eye II Eye being worst. Why does Lafon love it???
Agree with u on many points….Eye to Eye worst, First Sting being the best but I really like Lonesome Crow…
Nice ranking. Not a massive amount of difference for me, the one that would be in a very different spot is Face The Heat, I’d put it a fair bit higher. I might also bump Crazy World a few spots, but there are a few albums I wouldn’t know where to rank right off hand and it’s a bit tough to say.
Massive undertaking this Scorpions series. The final ranking is pretty much spot on. Depending on mood some might move higher or lower.
Rock Believer I would have had a few spots lower, but that’s about it.
Great work on this.
I’m sure in a few years it will be one of your most read posts as I cannot recall coming across a more detailed and definitive undertaking of Scorpions albums.
“The progressive sounds of the earlier albums are gone and replaced with a more in your face, wham bam thank you ‘mam attitude.” Great line, first of all! Congrats on finishing the Scorpions series! Like every band, there were good albums and bad albums. I like ‘Virgin Killer’ a lot more than you do, but that’s cause I love a good controversy. Can’t wait for your next series, John!