Europe, The Final Countdown

No one ever accused hair metal of having artistic pretense, and then there's this. To be sure, no one can hate on the absolutely gonzo synthoid hot mess that is the title track; its place of honour in the glam pantheon was guaranteed from the beginning by Joey Tempest's iconic Roland riff and the insistent guitars as long as you don't listen too closely to the lyrics. But, other than a minor local maximum with the competent ballad "Carrie" which I remember liking on FM back in the day, the rest of the album goes downhill from there. It's not that the tracks are ineptly played or badly produced, it's just that they're bad: they all sound the same, the music doesn't have any hot hooks (maybe the guitar solo in "On The Loose," maybe), the lyrics are moronic and the overall feeling is one of self-cannibalization (e.g., the wan retread of "The Final Countdown" in "Love Chaser," nearly exactly the same song, thus making it the second best track on the album because it's also the last one). The absolute low point is probably "Cherokee," where a bunch of white guys lecture other white guys on cultural genocide. Buy the single of the title track for your next 80's party and save yourself from the rest — it's too late for me, kids. The CD reissue makes it worse with three flat live recordings sounding as if they'd been recorded off the gum on the bottom of the mixing board. (Content: no concerns.)