“Born To Touch Your Feelings” shows The Scorpions’ best ballad-making

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German heavy metal band, The Scorpions, are poised to release their first album in two years. “Born to Touch Your Feelings: Best of Rock Ballads,” will contain the band’s classic melodic hits, plus a few new songs. The album is set for release Nov. 24, 2017. The new album is named after a ballad the Scorpions released in 1977. The song symbolizes the artistic approach the band takes to ballad-making.

“Born to Touch Your Feelings…” showcases the band’s ability to make even ballads sound hard-edged. It also isn’t the first time the band has re-issued a compilation of ballads and added two or three new songs.

Scorpions and a history of ballads

As early as 1984, The Scorpions began re-packaging their ballads and re-issuing them. That mid-’80s release was called “Gold Ballads.” Likewise, 1991’s “Hot & Slow: The Best of the Ballads” also catalogued the group’s love songs. Then, in 2003, an album simply titled, “Ballads” performed the same function.

Now in 2017, the heavy metal band is back. The title of the mostly re-issued work derives from a 1977 ballad called, “Born to Touch Your Feelings.”

Clarification is needed to distinguish Scorpions’ ballads from traditional ideas of ballads. Whether it is 1990’s “Winds of Change,” 1984’s, “Still Loving You,” or “Born to Touch Your Feelings,” a Scorpions’ ballad succeeds on the basis of texture, dynamics and intensity.

Even while the chords of beautiful instrumentation underscore lyrical delivery, listeners familiar with the Scorpions know to brace themselves for an onslaught of heavy riffs and thunderous drums. In short, the pretty ballads don’t lose their sentiment. They do, however, ramp up the intensity as they move from a traditional ballad sound to a heavy metal ballad sound.

“Born to Touch Your Feelings” : The Scorpions

Heavy metal is not a genre typically associated with ballads. That The Scorpions have had multiple collections of ballads is an almost avant-garde approach to heavy music. Many of The Scorpions’ ballads pre-date glam metal ballads. Allegedly, those were created to entice young women to listen to heavy metal.

The Scorpions on the other hand, seem to have an authentic place for ballads in their collections. One of the best examples of the band’s ballad work is “Born to Touch Your Feelings.”

“Taken By Force,” the 1977 album that contains “Born to Touch Your Feelings” is the first Scorpions album to feature drummer Herman Rarebell. Forty years later, he is still with the band.

The first element that listeners might notice about “Born to Touch Your Feelings” is probably the poetry of the lyrics. This is actually a facet of several Scorpions’ ballads.

Without knowledge of the song, some might think that the sub-title of the new album is a joke of sorts. However, one listen to the song that shares its name illustrates that the song is serious in concept and approach.

“Born To Touch Your Feelings” is beautiful and simple in its approach. Just a cursory analysis of the lyrics reveals the authenticity of emotion. The narrator states that he is a song, and as such, he was created to touch the feelings of his love object. Notice, too, that it isn’t a heart being touched, but “feelings.” This indicates a deeper connection between two people, and just as the lyrical poetry captivates listeners, the heavy chords kick in, and the song sounds like a metal ballad.

The Scorpions have a 50-year history of making mind-blowing heavy metal. That they can use that same performance standard when making ballads says important things about the band’s musical ethos.

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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