Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Final Countdown

Europe - The Final Countdown - 1986

Picked up on the way out the door of the most recent edition of the DC Record Fair when VVer #2 jokingly coerced VVer #1 into buying it for the 80's box (to be explained in a later post...stay tuned).  "Come on ... it's got "The Final Countdown" on it!  One listen and get rid of it.  Plus just look at that cover!  For crying out loud, it's embossed!" ... Bwahahaha. Sucker.

Should the VVers not waste their time writing about any of the music on this one? Should you not waste your time reading this?  Enough with the doubting!  It really is easy to be won over by Europe and their antics once you take the plunge.  No surprises here; plenty of synths, fade-outs, and power ballads to match with their elegantly styled poufy coifs.  You get the gist.  Many "whoas" and "whoa-os" lace the upbeat tunes.  It is so much more than just the title track!  (kidding. maybe.)  Winding down the first side of this album is "Ninja" which might just be made for a little-known, crap-tastic movie from the 80s Miami Connection, which the VVers saw this summer at local theater, AFI Silver.  Curious?  Here's the plot:

A gang of motorcycle ninjas wreaking havoc across Orlando, Florida, Mark (writer/director and Tae Kwan Do master Y. K. Kim) and his rock band Dragon Sound decide to fight back. Roundhouse-kicking their way to justice, the band still finds time to chase beach bunnies and perform their hit song, "Against the Ninja."

Yes, it is ridiculous as it seems.  And you should watch it.  Kind of like listening to The Final Countdown on purpose.

Back to this masterpiece of an album... Most of side A, including the slow ballad "Carrie," are well put together.  It's a good listen.  Things go off the rails on side B where it seems the band throws everything at the wall with reckless abandon.  It hurts the ears.  Apparently one can only withstand a single side of the album before having a meltdown.  On a completely other week VVer #1 took the plunge into side B with some less pain inducing results.  First song "Cherokee" recalls the trail of tears and the plight of the American Indian, all set to the fist pumping rock of the 80's that Europe so effortlessly delivers to your spleen  Tis' mighty indeed.  "Hey VVer #1, I thought this blog was about this goofy album we own and we weren't actually going to write about the music!" [Apparently VVer #1 actually listened to the lyrics].  The remainder of the side is tolerable if you can manage it.  Final song "Love Chaser" is heavy and heavily dull.  The thunderous blare of lead guitar rockets in every which way proving that somebody at least plugged the thing in and went through the trouble of tuning it.  Still, there are more than a few moments of well intentioned riffage that remind us of Queen.  A good influence for a band that really lacks Freddie Mercury and could probably use a ton of Brian May.

So why write about this album?  As we have previously noted, we have a little, yappy dog that lives next door, that, whenever the neighbors leave, cries endlessly, which in turn, causes the VVer household to crank some music.  Upon playing The Final Countdown on a recent spin, the realization came, "Shhh! I think it put Fluffy to sleep!"  Total silence... excellent.  It must remain in our collection now... Bwahahahaa.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh yes, Europe. I recall being in 8th grade and getting on the bus with some friends one morning on the way to school. Those friends had brought their silver boom box and the secret weapon, a cassette tape of this very album by Europe, that you speak of. We proceeded to insert the tape into the box and press PLAY. We held the boombox high, speakers facing the back of the bus, as the opening synth melody filled the air. For a brief four or five minutes, the mad chatter of middle school gossip ceased and the only thing you could here was THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.

    Good find, and yes Cherokee is definitely a stand out on the LP as well. Great post as always!