13 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Europe had released two independent albums prior to 1986’s The Final Countdown, but from its opening notes it was clear that this set was their masterpiece. In fact, those opening notes would come to define Europe’s entire career. The title song has long since become an indelible piece of pop culture. With its insidiously catchy neo-classical riff, “The Final Countdown” can be whatever its listener chooses: an epic and imaginative piece of power metal, the theme to a fantasy movie or a sports event, the funniest song of all time, or, better yet, all of the above. Nothing else on the album is nearly as much fun—how could it be?—but the rest of the tracks offer a stellar lineup of ear candy. If not for the title track, Europe's signature hits might have been “Rock the Night” and “Carrie.” The band had a star in singer Joey Tempest, whose crystalline vocals made “Cherokee” and “Time Has Come” feel spectacular, even if they were fairly silly. Longtime fans will be drawn to the live bonus tracks, including “The Final Countdown” and a superior version of “Carrie.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Europe had released two independent albums prior to 1986’s The Final Countdown, but from its opening notes it was clear that this set was their masterpiece. In fact, those opening notes would come to define Europe’s entire career. The title song has long since become an indelible piece of pop culture. With its insidiously catchy neo-classical riff, “The Final Countdown” can be whatever its listener chooses: an epic and imaginative piece of power metal, the theme to a fantasy movie or a sports event, the funniest song of all time, or, better yet, all of the above. Nothing else on the album is nearly as much fun—how could it be?—but the rest of the tracks offer a stellar lineup of ear candy. If not for the title track, Europe's signature hits might have been “Rock the Night” and “Carrie.” The band had a star in singer Joey Tempest, whose crystalline vocals made “Cherokee” and “Time Has Come” feel spectacular, even if they were fairly silly. Longtime fans will be drawn to the live bonus tracks, including “The Final Countdown” and a superior version of “Carrie.”

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