I have recently finished reading the non-official biography of Europe “Only young twice: historien om Europe” by Mattias Kling. It is a well-written book, and a page turner for sure. It left, however, some kind of bad taste in my head and it kind of pissed me off. I don’t care about what the members of Europe have done or not; how they behaved or misbehaved. I mean nobody is perfect and it is the way it should be. I got mad because of what was said about the music. After “The Final Countdown“, they had to come up with more hits but somehow not another “The Final Countdown“… when they did just that with “Out of this world“, it was not enough. “Prisoners in Paradise” was what? too heavy, too far from “The Final Countdown“, yet again, I think I also read between the lines: pathetic. Okay and Bye-bye! They came back in 2004 with an amazing album “Start from the dark“, and it was too metal furthermore, it arrived too late on the market since such music was ancient history… never enough… well, let me tell you a story… this is what Europe’s music did for me.
A love story gone sour
This is no surprise for those who know me, Europe is clearly my favorite music band – has been so before the split-up in 1992-ish and has won me over once more since the come back in 2004.
Love can be a very tricky feeling for hate is always part of the mix, like the dark side of ones heart that one would wish to hide away forever but cannot for it would unbalance our very nature. Between Europe and I, it has been like that… at first, growing towards unconditional love until the free fall to oblivion… the music that I had loved so much – and by extension, those playing it – suddenly started disgusting me.
Old records tend to break which is exactly what happened to my heart. This did not happen when the band split up but much later though. Let’s start succinctly at the beginning. I discovered Europe thanks to my mother who bought me “The Final Countdown” single. I have literally listen to it until the disc broke down… I had one of those snap disc portable record players and I listened to both sides of the single, until it would not play any longer. “On broken wings” kind of saved my life too… a few months later, I heard “Carrie” as I was on holidays with my cousin and grand-parents.
I got the single but I do not remember how… a month later, I was at one of my aunts’ place (my mother’s eldest sister); she bought me the LP “The Final Countdown” and this is how it all started.
After this I waited for the next LP “Out of this World“, which I bought (thanks to my little brother who saw it on the rack at the supermarket) and knew by heart within a week – especially “Tower’s Calling“. The next album was slow to come out, so I bought the ones I did not have: “Europe” and “Wings of Tomorrow“. The latter was my favorite until “Prisoners in Paradise“. I was then sixteen years old.
I cried my eyes out when the band split up… for some reasons though, I could not believe that the musicians would completely stop playing, so I started being on the look-out for a sign from any of them. It is how I began following their careers and discovered a music world that I had completely ignored before. I like to think that Europe’s split up led my step towards my husband, so it could not have been such a negative thing even though they went through many hardships… hardships are not always bad for they make one grow.
Before I met my husband, I met Ian and John L. in Parma, Italy. After this, all hell broke lose in my head… I was realizing that my life was centered around Europe and not me… I grew angry at each and every one of them – I thought – when in reality, I was mad at myself. I broke free a few months after Parma’s convention.
Break Free and Got to have faith
My 16+ years love story with Europe was finally over… I knew they were on their way back but I had decided to rebel and go against the current. During all the years I had followed them, I widened my network of contacts and one band leading to another and another until my husband to be found me. Very romantic story… really!
Europe came back in 2004 with a very heavy album “Start from the dark“, which I absolutely adore. I must, however, confess that I only listened to it closely in 2005. It was my wake up call album, the little extra nudge for me to feel the changes I needed to make in my life (see video). They have grown as musicians and especially as people. This is what makes their come back a brilliant one. “Secret Society” and “Last Look at Eden” show how much they have matured and how much fun they are actually having. The latest mentioned has woken some senses I did not think I had, which in this case gave me a strong taste for melodic/progressive metal (just in case you need a label of some sorts here).
Last year (2012) Europe released their 4th album since the come back (9th counting the ones before the split up). “Bag of Bones” has more soul and is more of a classic rock album. It was received with a lot of enthusiasm which is great since it is a great album. Unfortunately, I cannot say that the album has grown like the other three though; my favorite is probably “Firebox” because of the punch it has. I wrote a review Bag of Bones.
The book I would have liked to read would have talked about music and how the artists felt when they made it… Mattias Kling, as I understand it, is a very good journalist in his field and has written a few books already.
I thought I’d be a professional reviewer of some kind, or maybe a journalist who’d get to interview artists such as Europe. I am so glad that I am not. Be objective! Always ask questions! Always doubt! It feels like being an art-journalist is comparing the work of an artist in order to find as many faults as possible, because it cannot be good… arts and in this case music has to be criticized and brought down when it does not follow a standard, a market. I am glad that I am not a journalist, that my objectivity is not influenced by what people think art should be but by what art makes me feel.