The tightest, catchiest Scorpions album at the time of its release, Blackout won the band a whole new audience with its first No. 1 single, “No One Like You.” The song gets to the essence of Scorpions’ massive crossover success: they wrote incredibly lean pop songs but delivered them with the ferocity of a metal band. On top of that, there was something mysterious and even mystical about the vocals of singer Klaus Meine. At a time when every vocalist wanted to sound American, he didn’t, and that set the band apart. The songs on Blackout hit like bottles being knocked off a ledge one by one: “Blackout,” “Can’t Live Without You,” “You Give Me All I Need.” With “Dynamite,” Scorpions kept place with British metal innovators like Iron Maiden, but “Arizona” and “Now!” showed they had a feel for pop music that likeminded bands couldn’t match. Meine’s voice was perfectly suited to ballads like “When the Smoke Is Going Down,” but this effort was all about their rock songs, which were never more efficient or more ingratiating.

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