Label Legacy Recordings
Release date 20 February 2015
|Released 20 February 2015 (2015-02-20)|
Producer Mikael Nord Andersson, Martin Hansen
Genres Hard rock, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal
Similar Scorpions albums, Heavy metal albums
Return to Forever is the eighteenth studio album by German rock band Scorpions. It was released in Europe on 20 February 2015. The album marks the final release of the band with longtime drummer James Kottak, who was replaced in 2016 by former Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee.
In 2011 Scorpions started searching their archives for any previously unreleased songs. Those were the songs that didn't make an album mainly because of the limited space on the vinyl records. Guitarist Rudolf Schenker explained: "We have a library in our warehouse where we have a lot of old songs, especially from the days where you had only the possibility of putting eight or nine songs on vinyl. We always recorded 13 or 14 songs, so (the rest) are hanging out somewhere in our warehouse". In the period between the January and March 2012, the band worked in the studio with producers Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen on 12 unreleased songs from the 1980s and early 1990s. Those were the demos from the Blackout, Love at First Sting, Savage Amusement and Crazy World era which were unfinished. Band members added new musical parts on those old recordings, such as new rewritten lyrics to make them sound more modern. Matthias Jabs explained: "We're doing it the way we are recording albums today, but the basic ideas, the riffs, the feel, the way they were written and arranged, we try to keep as much from the old recordings as possible. Thirty years later no one would come up with these ideas we came up with when we were younger, so we want to keep that spirit in there."
In a March 2014 interview for Guitar World, Matthias Jabs confirmed that band had twelve songs for the new album. In that same interview, Rudolf Schenker also said that band is planning to release total of 15 songs from the seventies and eighties. Among them are electric versions of songs "Rock 'N' Roll Band" and "Dancing With the Moonlight" which were saved for the "Bonus Tracks".
Songs on the album originate from periods between late seventies and the year 2014. "Crazy Ride" originates from late seventies. There are also four songs from the eighties. "Hard Rockin' the Place" is a song from the beginning of eighties. It's a song that band always had on their demo CD. Band members often picked this song for their albums, but every time they tried the song, it never fit any of the albums. "Rock My Car" is a song that was written in 1985. "Catch Your Luck and Play" is a song that was written between 1986 and 1987, and it was supposed to go on the Savage Amusement (1988) album. It was originally titled "Bite of the Snake" and had great opening riff, but it didn't have great catchy chorus and great hook line, so Rudolf Schenker in collaboration with Andersson and Hansen wrote a new chorus. "Eye of the Storm" is a song that was written around 1991. The band occasionally picked the song for their albums, including Humanity: Hour I (2007), but didn't make on this album because band was working with different composing teams and had plenty of other songs, so this song couldn't fit on it. "House of Cards" is a song that originates from late nineties and early 2000's. "Gypsy Life" is song that was written around year 2000 for the album Acoustica (2001). "The Scratch" is a song that was written in October 2014, and was the last song written for the album. "One and One Is Three" is a song that Rudolf Schenker started on Christmas 2012 with Scorpions's road manager Clifford Gauntlett. Gauntlett came up with the title of the song and also started to write lyrics with Schenker, and then later Schenker finished song with his guitar technician and album producers Andersson and Hansen.
Lyrics and music
"We Built This House" has a chorus which comes after the verse and again one more chorus after the chorus. "When the Truth is a Lie" is a song that is in the vein of songs "China White" from Blackout (1982) and title song from the Animal Magnetism (1980). "Who We Are" is a song in the tradition of the band The Who and it is one of the shortest songs ever written by Klaus Meine. The song features background vocals by Andersson and Hansen. "Delirious" is an experimental song that is influenced by the album Physical Graffiti (1975) by Led Zeppelin and has dance rhythm.
"Going Out With a Bang" is a song about triumph of friendship between band members and their surviving through all the ups and downs of their career . Klaus Meine said: "We are still standing strong and we are going out with bang, yeah!". "Rock My Car" is a song about driving in a fast car on the Autobahn. "House of Cards" is a song about love and when love turns to hate. Klaus explained: "When you are in Heaven, for all your emotions and your love and it turns out it's the other way around and when your feelings and emotions getting crushed in a house of cards". "All For One" is a song about the band's philosophy and friendship."Rock 'n' Roll Band" is a song about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll and nightlife in Los Angeles. Klaus Meine said: "With this song, when I wrote the lyrics, I was walking down Sunset Boulevard, i went to the Rainbow, I went to all those clubs and when the Scorpions are on the road and you know that sometimes you end up in a strip club and you see all those dancers dancing to the Scorpions music, that's amazing. This is also what this song is all about, this crazy rock 'n' roll vibe, what you see out there when light's go out in L.A.". "Rollin' Home" is a song inspired by the story of how Scorpions went on their concerts in their early days in seventies. Meine said: "We had some old beat up vans, packed with equipement to the top. And then one night we crashed and we were lucky that we survived, actually. This truck was loaded with those amplifiers and stuff and in those days we were just playing so many gigs, we tried to squeze all the people including fans. We had a place in car, we called "Hell" because you couldn't see the daylight. You went off for a gig, let's says we started at noon, two guys or three guys could sit up front in the car, where you go for other two guys? So, we opened the sliding door at the side and it was all loaded with the equipement and we put mattress in there you can sleep. It was nice at night on the way back, but for the rest of the day going into the gig, you go to sleep, you go into the Hell and it was a pitch dark". "The World We Used to Know" is a political song. It's inspired by the conflicts that happened around the world in 2014, including the ones in Gaza and Ukraine. Klaus Meine explained: "I thought, we all go backwards in time, you know. And I hope we will have chance to go forward, saying right now it feels like it's a long way to go to find the world we used to know. And the world we used to know is the world we know for the past 25 years." "Dancing With the Moonlight" is a song about a plane trip that occurred on Meine's birthday in 2009 when Scorpions toured with Alice Cooper and Kingdom Come. While in the air, the plane ran into the storm and started going down. Klaus Meine said: "I wrote the song about it "Dancing With the Moonlight", because our plane was dancing with the moonlight, going through this rough thunder storms, but we survived." "Who We Are" is a song about romantic relationships. "One and One Is Three" is a song about synergy. "Crazy Ride" is a song about that talks about fifty years of the Scorpions, from their early days to international success.
Release and promotion
‘Return To Forever’ was released on 20 February 2015, and is available as a standard album, a limited deluxe CD which contains four bonus songs "The World We Used to Know", "When the Truth Is a Lie", "Dancing With the Moonlight" and "Who We Are", an iTunes version which contains same songs as the limited deluxe edition plus the song "Delirious", a double heavyweight vinyl, and a limited edition collector’s boxset containing the deluxe album, an exclusive ‘Return To Forever’ t-shirt, a 7″ picture vinyl single, signed autograph card and a USB lanyard including a fan pass and an audiobook.
The album was officially released in North America in 11 September 2015. The first single "We Built This House" has reached the Top 10 on U.S. Classic Rock radio.
Fred Thomas from Allmusic gave the album 3.5 stars out of 5 stating that "Return to Forever follows suit very much, with the 12 new songs here embodying the same over the top celebration and hedonistic revelry of a much younger Scorpions. At times the throwbacks are a little transparent". Ray Van Horn, Jr. from Blabbermouth.net gave the album 8 stars out of 10 stating about the album that "The SCORPIONS do their damnedest here, like they did on Sting in the Tail prior, to make believe they're living in a "World Wide Live" once again". Nick Hasted from Classic Rock gave the album 3.5 stars out of 5 saying that "It’s 1984 forever for the Scorpions, a return to slick, semi-hard rock and power ballads". Arie van der Graaf from Melodic gave the album 4.5 stars out of 5 by saying "They haven't made an album as fresh as this one for years. With its razorsharp guitars, great melodic harmonies and hymns they still rule as Germany's most successful rock band, miles ahead of good followers Edguy and Rammstein". Jedd Beaudoin from Popmatters gave the album 7 stars out of 10 by saying "We don’t know that this will be the final Scorpions LP, but if it is, the little band from Hanover will certainly have gone out with, as they say, a bang".
1Going Out With a Bang3:47
2We Built This House3:53
3Rock My Car3:20