Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's the Final Countdown

I've never understood the appeal of some bands, and the one I've understood the least is Europe. They burst onto the music scene officially in late 1985 when I'd heard a couple of songs being played on the radio, and I have to say it was bland and totally awful. But then again, a lot of the hair metal being played at that time was truly horrible. I bet if Bon Jovi had to think about it all over again, he might not have the teased hair and some of the crappy songs, but I digress.

Europe was a true hair band, with big poofy hair styles and attempted big crunchy guitars. But they added the most unmetal of instruments, the keyboard, which only added to their unique musical stylings. No other respecting hair metal band would be caught dead with a piano or keyboard at that time, but somehow Europe threw them in and gave them room to breathe. And then their album in 1986, The Final Countdown, caught fire and was gaining some airplay and strength in sales.

They followed the lead of another great band, Big Country, in releasing a song that was the same as the album title, but they avoided the trifecta of song, album and band name that fueled Big Country. Their song, the Final Countdown, starts with a cheesy synthesizer riff that either wakes you from slumber or makes you run in horror. The song then breaks into a big drum/guitar explosion with some lyrics and then the chorus of "It's the Final Countdown" with the same synthisizer riff and the chorus sung over and over. It's pure cheese, but like with many other cheesy pop songs, it's addicting.

girl has it as a ring tone on her phone, and I hear it in the radio now and then and I find myself bopping along to it in shame. The song is truly one of the worst things about 80's music - bland, loud, inoffensive, big hair, cheesy lyrics - but it has one of the best things about pop music is that it's catchy. I can't explain why some bands get popular and some don't, so I can't explain how Europe managed to gain success, but it must have been the synthezier. I'm amazed that you still hear people doing other versions of it, and yes, I even hear it at sporting events.

I'd love to hear comments about cheesy songs you love to listen to but secretly hate, and enjoy the links to a couple of versions of the Final Countdown. Wait, it's trapped in my head now. Crap...ok, talk to you all soon. - Air Version - Cello Version (yea, it's pretty cool)

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