REVIEW: Scorpions – Pure Instinct (1996)

PURE INSTINCT_0001SCORPIONS – Pure Instinct (1996)

I remember being very excited when this album came out due to the powerful first single “Wild Child”. I had enjoyed previous Scorpions albums well enough — Face The Heat, Live Bites — due to some great singles.  Face the Heat in particular showed that the Scorpions were still interested in playing heavy music, via the first single “Alien Nation”.  I could have handled some more of that. Pure Instinct, however, is ballad-ridden dreck with no energy and no inspiration.

We all know that since the 80’s, the Scorpions have had tremendous success with ballads. “Still Loving You” has become a signature song, and one of their biggest hits ever was 1990’s “Wind of Change”.  The problem is that Scorpions are a rock band, and Pure Instinct is over half-full with ballads!

I mentioned “Wild Child” as a standout track, and it is.  But even as a hard rock track, it is very commercial.  It’s a lot more pop than “Rock You Like a Hurricane” or “Big City Nights”, though it does boast some enormous hooks.  It is the opening song, and unfortunately it’s all a downhill snooze from there, more or less.

Longtime Scorpion Herman Rarebell departed after Live Bites, so the band employed a session drummer (Curt Cress), while sounding like they are on autopilot. Ballad after ballad after ballad…this gives you, the ballad-loving listener, almost half an hour of ballads. The single “You And I” alone is over 6 minutes long! Most of the rest of the tracks are flat, dull, and uninspired.

The few highlights include the first track “Wild Child”, the uptempo “Stone In My Shoe”, and the ballady-but-still-decent “Where The River Flows”. And that is about it.

The Japanese bonus track, which I have on the single for “You and I”, was called “She’s Knocking At My Door”, which although it was a rocker was also pretty bland.

It would only get worse — the next Scorpions album Eye II Eye has been likened to Savage Garden!  I never bought it and haven’t listened to it since it came out.

2/5 stars. Avoid unless you want to buy it for the three good songs.

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26 comments

  1. The only song of theirs I know is Wind of Change. Haven’t heard it in years, but man I loved that song when I was younger. A friend gave me an album a few months ago, though I haven’t listened to it yet (Blackout??).

    … man, that album cover there is unsettling.

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        1. I love doing that for bands I don’t know a lot about. The sheer number of Fleetwood Mac albums I had never seen was astounding! And just forget about diving into the Zappa discography, that’s a week right there just for reading!

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        2. Yeah – you can get lost for weeks looking at some artists. I tend to trawl Wiki when an artists appears on my radar – try and work out where to start!

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        3. It is, yeah – back then I just stared at the albums in the store and made the decision based on album cover and song titles. Sometimes that proved unsuccessful.

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        4. I have bought many albums I wish I didn’t spend the money on. Covers albums in particular. They looked so enticing in the stores and never lived up to the promise.

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  2. Mike – I would have to agree that this gets filed under “D” for dreck but didn’t you also include it on your list of the most overlooked albums?

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    1. I am having a flashback. This girl I was in love with dumped me in Nov 95…then around the time I got this Scorpions CD, April or May of 96…I received an invite to her wedding with the new guy! I was a bit depressed. It all makes sense why I would like this, then.

      The nice thing is I’m still friends with the girl and she is still married to the same guy 19 years later so she obviously chose the right one!!!

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  3. Scorps for me started to derail when Savage Amusement(puke) was released. Crazy World was step better than Alien Nation was kinda a step back but still better than S.A! I have not bought any Scorps since The Live Bites album….for me I go back to there earlier works…..
    Good to see you doing a 3/4s Filler Ladano style!

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  4. I have a hard time with the Scorps after Blackout…Love at First Sting in the day but can’t listen to anything after that…at least I never put it on myself. BTW Rarebell is touring with Michael Schenker now so is Bucholz .Do you know a good website for buying posters i.e. EVH SRV Jimmy Page..guitarists? THX surprisingly harder than I thought to find

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  5. This was a dull album. I can’t believe the Scorps went all sassy on us. I have heard One Direction songs with more balls than this album. I also though the Scorps were back when I heard Alien Nation – what a brilliant song – but even tough Face The Heat had some good songs on it, it left me underwhelmed.

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    1. Yeah I’m the same. Alien Nation was awesome, Face the Head had some good songs (No Pain No Gain) but it was only about half good. They could have continued heavy, but they didn’t.

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