After listening to this every day for about a month, it's finally come time to write something about this latest effort from Scorpions. As a giant fan of the band, I firmly wanted to like this release, but after at last 20 listens, it's just not clicking with me. There's just something about it that feels wrong. The arrangements are a bit too happy and fun, for one thing. For another, the edge that made Scorpions one of the best bands of all time, even in their down years, is completely removed from this effort. I've seen a great many reviews out there stating that MTV UNPLUGGED is a must have for a diehard fan. That's untrue though, because as a diehard fan, this has almost no use for my collection. Long story short, I love Scorpions as much as the next 40 something that found them at any point in their historic career...but I have no need to hear these watered down versions of these songs.
There's just something very drastically missing from MTV UNPLUGGED. When you listen to songs like "Can't Live Without You", it comes across as this sappy, happy song. It's just not very good. Vocalist Klaus Meine sounds pretty good, as do drummer James Kottak and guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs. It's not that they are bad at all. It's that the arrangements simply don't fit the songs. "Pictured Life" was never his happy song, and now it's been converted into an almost countrified hillbilly version, complete with harmonica accompaniment that simply drains the song. In reality, it's the oldest material that comes off the worst. Tracks like "Speedy's Coming" are just very dull and boring. "Blackout" has been converted into an almost orchestral conglomeration of nonsense that simply doesn't work at all.
PITRIFF RATING - 40/100 - Since the Scorpions announced their retirement, many have wondered just why they felt the need to go away. Their last two studio releases were quality...at least quality enough to allow them to continue. Now it seems though that they are into the phase where they need to capitalize on the back catalog in any way they can. This cash grab is one such way, in my opinion. It's unnecessary, and really has very little appeal to me; a lifelong fan of the band. This did literally nothing for me except remind me that I haven't pulled out TOKYO TAPES in awhile.