Why is Europe’s The Final Countdown on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Do I need to finally say it? Do I need to count it down?
What does Europe’s The Final Countdown mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
There are iconic songs, and then there are iconic songs that speak to a specific time or place. Europe’s “The Final Countdown” is iconic 1980s arena rock. It’s not complicated, it’s not subtle. It’s loud and it’s hair sprayed, heavy metal with lipstick. It’s putting your hands in the air (and definitely not caring) with rock out hand signs pointed right at the stage. In short…
IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.
Everyone of a certain age (and far beyond as well) instantly recognizes that keyboard anthem – that very 1980s keyboard anthem) and everyone knows to scream IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.
And sometimes, my friends, that is enough. Sometimes it’s even beautiful.
I love Doug Stone’s take on the song, from All Music:
One of the most glorious launches in history, the title track for the thrice-platinum The Final Countdown is so bombastically brilliant, such glorious garbage, that this nuclear hair assault could only spew from the vacuous ’80s.
Much like McDonald’s French fries or General Tso’s chicken from that one Panda Express spot, sometimes glorious-tasting garbage does a body good.
But the wild thing, the crazy thing, is that The Final Countdown the album is also really freaking good. The entire thing is packed with the same opulently cheese-wonderful energy of “The Final Countdown,” both in power ballad and rocked out anthem forms.
Within those parameters, I’m genuinely blown away with how good “Love Chaser” is.
And because the chase for love is endless, check it out, live in London.
But if you’re going to trust me on anything, trust me on this. If you saw Europe at an arena show in 1987 (let’s say in Mesa, Arizona as part of the presumably epic Final Countdown tour) and during the power ballad “Carrie” they did the thing where they shine the flood lights on the audience during the chorus (because that’s when it’s your time to shine), there is a 100,000% chance that you would be singing the word “Carrie” with all the breath in your lungs even without knowing a single other word from the song.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Europe’s The Final Countdown
The wild keyboard solo in “The Final Countdown” reminds me of when “Beethoven” bugs out at the shopping mall (which just happens to conveniently have a bunch of keyboards and a piano set up) in another 1980s classic: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Europe’s The Final Countdown
I’m pretty sure I heard “The Final Countdown” a lot while both hanging out at the ice-skating rink and the roller skating rink as a kid. A lot of rink time as a young lad in the suburban wilds of Long Island, New York.
And if that’s not random enough for you, I recall that there was a rather robust arcade at the roller staking rink. I particularly recall being nearly in awe of a video game called Jungle King. What was so cool about it was the game wasn’t the same all the way through, as so many were way back in the day. It had different “stages,” where in one you were underwater (bearing a knife) and had to both avoid stuff and also swim to the surface pretty frequently to get your breathing of the air on.
Probably before that part, there was a jungle-y bit (your avatar being the King and all) where you had to swing through a crazy series of vines. I believe there were four such sections in all, though even if you were highly skilled it would take a monstrous number of quarters to continue all the way through to the end.
Some stats & info about Europe – The Final Countdown
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Rock, Arena Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Swedish Bands, Progressive Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was The Final Countdown released? 1986
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #928 out of 1,000
Europe’s The Final Countdown on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.