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Almost Unplugged

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Europe continued their late-career reinvention with 2008’s Almost Unplugged, an unexpectedly fresh take on the “unplugged” concept. Though the performance is mostly acoustic, it’s not really “unplugged” as much as it is “turned down.” The interesting part of the proceedings is the arrangements: Europe performed these songs live with a small string ensemble. This lets the band totally reinvent signature songs like “The Final Countdown,” which is here transformed into an entirely new piece of work. “Got to Have Faith” was one of the best hard rock songs of the band’s later career, but here it becomes something even more interesting: a dark and sinewy groove more reminiscent of early Verve than anything in the metal realm. The band’s cover songs offer some of the album’s highlights. It’s almost impossible for a band to convincingly play Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were” and Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You,” but Europe find a way to make these hallowed classics their own.


Formed: 1981 in Stockholm, Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally a progressive rock group, Europe didn't achieve success until they reworked their sound into bombastic yet melodic pop-metal. In their first incarnation, the Swedish band was called Force. The band -- featuring core members Joey Tempest (vocals), John Norum (guitar), Tony Reno (drums), and John Leven (bass) -- won a national talent contest in the early '80s, which led to a record contract. After changing their name to Europe and releasing two albums in Sweden (Europe and Wings of Tomorrow),...
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Almost Unplugged, Europe
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