The Final Countdown
Rating: 2
   We save them in two world wars and this is how they repay us? With cheesy pop-metal?
   "The Final Countdown" sounds like a pastiche of every popular heavy band of the eighties: fake trumpets from the first Asia album (is there some International Convention on Band Monikers that requires all groups named after continents to use this synth patch? I can't wait for the debut of South America), a Ronnie James Dio melody, an Yngwie Malmsteen guitar solo, and "Eye of the Tiger" rhythms, all capped with their very special "English-is-definitely-our-second-language" lyrics that somehow think Venus is "many lights years" away (try light-minutes). And that, my fellow Americans, is the high point.
   Later, they ask us to "Rock the Night", and we'd gladly comply. The only problem is that, as any headbanger knows, andante is a tempo better suited to rocking chairs. "Carrie" is an atrocious power ballad, using the lamest piano sound ever recorded (worse than Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home", if you can believe that) and an absolutely irritating lyrical hook, "when lights go down," repeated especially slowly at the end.
   In addition to mapping out the future, Europe also gives us history lessons, as learned through b-movies, in "Ninja" and "Cherokee", and ups the mystery quotient with "Danger on the Tracks." All the while accompanied by squealing guitars and the least swinging rhythm section this side of Finland.
   After the Marshall Plan, we deserve better.

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