'Savage Amusement' would be the last time the Scorpions teamed up with producer Dieter Dierks and for the first time in ten albums, the production is nothing better than mediocre. The successful, radio-friendly rock songs of the late Eighties undoubtedly encouraged the band to go for a shinier, sleeker sound (despite them having done just fine in the past), but it's a move that robs the Scorpions of their usual sting (forgive the cliché). The lack of excitement this smooth edge gives to the music means that 'Savage Amusement' simply rolls along, without any significant peaks or troughs, leaving the listener distinctly unmoved. Of course, some pretty average writing doesn't help and there are several tracks that are nothing more than mid-paced rock by numbers; 'Media Overkill' and 'Passion Rules the Game' are prime examples and even 'Rhythm of Love' is memorable mostly due to it being the first single from the album, although as a melodic hard-rocker it actually works just fine. Things do get more promising as the album progresses, however, with 'We Let it Rock, You Let it Roll' (another clunky title from the Scorpions) possessing more drive and aggression and 'Love on the Run' positively sprinting, albeit with something of a limp. Unfortunately, after lifting one's hopes the album reaches it's nadir as it comes to the end. Where previous releases 'Lovedrive', 'Blackout' and 'Love at First Sting' excelled with their closing ballads (indeed, up until to this album the Scorpions had a terrific track record of last songs), here we get the wishy-washy effort of 'Believe in Love'. Klaus does as good a job as the production allows, but that's not enough to save this damp squib of a song.
I'm a Scorpions fan and a fan will always find something of value in an album, be it a typically crunching guitar sound, the familiar vocals, the songwriting templates or whatever. So I don't mind 'Savage Amusement' because it is, after all, the Scorpions and as such I'll give it an extra star. For a rock fan who has no particular passion or fascination for their music, however, this record has very little to recommend it. Moreover, it's the first indication of a decline in not just musical quality but simple ear-bursting power from the Scorpions, a band previously renowned as a premier league hard rock / heavy metal powerhouse.