Posts Tagged ‘John Levén’

europeI never thought in the five or six years that I have been blogging that a GEICO commercial would inspire me to do an album of the week. If you don’t know what I am talking about there is a GEICO commercial that features a band by the name of Europe in it performing The Final Countdown while people wait for something to come out of a microwave. The Final Countdown was also the name of the record that the legendary song comes from by the band Europe and that is the album I am covering. The band comes all the way from Sweden and the band at the time of the release of the album in 1986 was made up of Joey Tempest (Vocals), John Norum (Guitars), John Leven (Bass), Mic Michaeli (Keyboards), and Ian Haugland (Drums). The album just may be the biggest album the band had ever released in their careers as it peaked at number one in Sweden, Switzerland, and France. It peaked at number two in Canada and Italy, four in Norway, five in Austria, six in Germany, eight on the Billboard Top 200 charts here in the states, and number nine in the UK. The album also went triple platinum in the US while it went double platinum in Canada.

europe 21. The Final Countdown– This is probably the most recognizable song int he world as soon as you hear the opening keyboard synth parts of the track. The track is played in every arena and stadium across the US. Believe it or not the lyrics were inspired by David Bowie’s Space Oddity. 5/5

2. Rock The Night– The track opens up with a beefy guitar riff with those synths included before the bass drives the verses. It was the second single released off the album and it’s amazing. 5/5

3. Carrie– If you were a hair metal band in the 80’s, it was customary to have at least one power ballad on your record and this was the band’s power ballad. 4/5

4. Danger on the Track– Big power chords and some keys open up the song, but then the Deep Purple like riffs carry the track which seems to be about a man who leaves to go out on the road, but fears that someone is there to steal his girl. 4/5

5. Ninja– The track is a real rocker, but for some reason the lyrics make absolutely no sense to me. 3/5

Europe-The-Final-Countdown-Cd-Cover-870666. Cherokee– Another keyboard/rock driven classic from the band that absolutely rips and guess who it’s about? 5/5

7. Time Has Come– a softer rocker from the band which seems to ask you to think of the people who sacrifice for good and for those less fortunate. 3/5

8. Heart of Stone– a cool rock song from the band with some nicely placed keyboard parts in a track about a guy who longs for love, but that girl just has a heart of stone. 4/5

9. On The Loose– This is one of three tracks that was originally recorded for a soundtrack to a Swedish film, but was re-recorded for the album and the guitar riff is a barn burner. The track’s lyrics seem to be about a guy who is a dreamer of sorts and wants to be on top of the world. 4/5

10. Love Chaser- This is the last track on the record and while it has the flare of the guitars, it has a real chugging bass line mixed with the keyboards who add another layer to the song. It’s not a ballad by any means, but it’s about someone who is chasing after love. 3.5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is the definitive album from Europe if you’re looking to hear 80’s Europe. If you’re looking to hear some serious business from the band then you have to check out their later stuff because they’ve turned into great songwriters. This was the first album that I heard from the band and it was the album that got me hooked to them in the first place. Check it out for yourself, but right now I am giving the album 4 stars out of five for a final grade.

war of kiEveryone’s favorite Swedish rock band is back with their tenth studio album War Of Kings which continues the direction the band has been in since they returned in 2004. What is incredible about this album is that the original Final Countdown lineup of Joey Tempest (Vocals), John Norum (Guitars), John Levén (Bass), Mic Michaeli (Keyborads), and Ian Haugland (Drums) are still making music together after all these years. That is an impressive statistic considering most bands from that era are missing multiple members. One of the things I was most impressed about with this album is the fact that Joey Tempest has reinvented himself vocally and I love it because it adds a different dimension to their music like in the first track which is also the title track. It has a very Deep Purple-esque sound to it and Norum’s guitar solo is impressive. Hole In My Pocket heads more in the rock and roll direction with a little stank added to the guitar sound while Second Day gets epic like a Led Zeppelin track. Praise You gets real garage band ballsy with elements of Sabbath-esque riffs while  Nothin’ To Ya has some monster riffs that will make you turn it up way past 11. California 405 continues the lesson in what real rock and roll is for all the kids of America with it’s Deep Purple-esque monster riffs matched with the keyboards that would make Jon Lord proud. Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll is the second single off the record and it’s another rocker with Europe adding their flavor to it while Children Of The Mind had a Dio/Black Sabbath feel with the monster bass riff to accompany the guitars. Rainbow Bridge has this Middle Eastern like sounding keyboard riff with that power chord heavy guitar riffs while Angels (With Broken Hearts) is very bluesy, but the tempo is slowed down and I love Norum’s playing on this track. Light It Up is the last track on the album and the bass playing is very impressive on the track while the song is a rocker that closes out the album right. This album is a lesson on what real rock is supposed to sound like, so kids grab a pen and paper and take some notes. I am giving the album four stars out five for a final grade. Check out in stores or online now!!! The band is also touring this spring so check out the dates below to see if you’re one of the lucky ones.

EUROPE U.S. Tour Dates:

4/18 – 4/22 – Miami, FL @ Monsters of Rock Cruise

4/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ Potowatomi Casino – w/ Black Star Riders

4/25 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues

4/26 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue

4/28 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues – w/ Black Star Riders

4/30 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza – w/ Black Star Riders

5/1 – Niagara Falls, NY @ The Bears Den

5/2 – Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion – M3 Rock Festival

5/3 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun