"Hey, I just looked out my window here at the office and there's some kind of Homecoming parade walking by. Anyway, right as they got by my office, the band played The Final Countdown. Rock on mutha f*&cker!"
I'm Back, and I've brought Europe with me
Friday as I'm leaving the office for home, I was checking my messages on my cell. I had this most hilarious message from my buddy Dick Herculanum:
Nice. The Final Countdown has kind of become my de facto theme song. I guess it all started rather innocuously last fall when I wrote an article on Europe on another site. I'd found a cassette tape of Europe's 1985 album in our warehouse at work, and the cover artwork was so completely cheesy I had to write a post on it for a design blog I author for. At the time, I found the album repulsive beyond the title track.
But then a funny thing happened. The damn thing grew on me like a fungus on moldy coney buns. In time it became my favorite album.
Cliff writes about listening to The Killers album all the time. Ordinarily, I can't stand to listen to the same thing over and over again -- I'm just not a one-album guy, if you know what I mean. But with this album, I did. It was just one of those crazy things, where I knew it was bad, and that I should be getting my arena rock fix from Journey or Styx or Toto or Foreigner or Kansas or Boston or even Eddie Money. But here I was listening to Europe over and over again.
I tried to explain it away like this: We had moved into our new office building, and for the first couple of weeks, I couldn't hook up my iPod because I'd misplaced the adapter in one of the boxes of stuff I'd packed for the move. But I have to have music at work. Without it, I'd fall asleep, or be otherwise not productive in different ways. Problem was, our proximity to the heavy construction going on on West Dodge road precluded me from picking up much for radio stations.
There was the Europe cassette, which was sitting on my shelf with the Lando action figure and the Rocky and Mr. T sock-em robots. I could listen to that...
And I did. For about 6 days straight, at least once a day, all the way through. After one listen, I had most of the lyrics down. After a few more listens, I was singing an a'capella version of "Danger On The Track" in the shower.
But that's really a lame reason. I needed to just come out and admit it: I was digging Europe. It was good stuff. Not in a "great critically acclaimed" kind of good, but in a "I like this" kind of good.
I wore the tape out. Went to iTunes and bought the digital album for my iPod. And when I bought The Colorado in December, what was the first CD I played?
Bryan Adams Greatest Hits.
Right. But Europe was totally in the CD changer. Just not in that first slot.
Much to the dismay of my readers, based on the negative mail I get every time I mention it, I starting making lots of obvious and sometimes obscure references to The Final Countdown album here. Oh, I don't know, like here and here and here and here. Plus lots more but I ain't linking to all of 'em.
People laughed at me then. They thought I was too cool for school. But the news flash for all those Walter Cronkites who thought that is I was ahead of my time, on the front end of a Europe revitalization of popularity. Proof?
In January I downloaded a Final Countdown ringtone for my phone. A week later, one of the guys on Arrested Development had it on his phone, and Dick calls me to tell me how they'd followed my trend.
In February, my brother and I were at a Creighton basketball game and they played The Final Countdown at the last home game over season recap highlights on the video boards.
In March, I was at a bar with karaoke and some jackass got up and sang "Carrie" (the second and lesser-popular single from the album).
In May, the song came on the radio at volleyball. It was like steroids, man. I had two spikes in the course of the 5:08 the song runs.
In June, we were in Pittsburgh and we noticed the Detroit Pistons were using it as their theme music during pre-game introductions in the NBA Finals.
Later in June, I downloaded a MP3 of the University of Pitt marching band playing the Final Countdown and used it over the opening credits of our official trip video.
In July, I was at a KC Royals game against the Twins, and they played the song over the PA during warmups.
In late July, I was taking a nap over my lunch hour at home on the couch, and VH1 Classic played the video. I immediately woke up, mesmerized and in absolute amazement of the Awesomeness.
In August, I was sent a Techo remix of The Final Countdown that sounded, well, like every crappy techno song. Lots of robots counting, and sped-up instrumentals, and doot-doot-doot beats, and gratuitous echos, and things of that nature.
In September, Dick hears a band play it during a homecoming parade.
I said it last November and everyone laughed at me, and truthfully I might have even been being faceitious when I said it, but can we officially say it now? Europe Rocks, and they're back.
Honest to God, just minutes after I got that message from Dick, I'm sitting in the Friday-after-work-on-payday line at the ATM at Wells Fargo out on West Maple. And what comes on the XM 80's on 8 channel?
The Final Countdown.
Even though the windows of The Colorado were down, because it was a really nice day, I couldn't resist. I cranked up that shit. A dude in an old busted Fiero in the next lane over looked over, realized what it was, and nodded in the subtle dude-code as if to say "I acknowledge the supreme awesomeness of your musical selection, sir." The lady behind me did not appreciate it, and shortly after, cranked up her crappy factory Buick LeSabre radio to drown me out. Celene Dion does not drown out Europe. That's like saying scissors beat a rock in that one game. Its crazy talk.
I kept it up loud, and eventually when I was still in line and the song was over, I turned it down briefly. Old woman in the LeSebre obliged. Then the next song was Asia "Only Time Will Tell". And the radio in The Colorado went right back up loud. You bet.
Then I'm watching college football all day Saturday (15 games -- the ESPN GamePlan package is a wonderful invention) and not one, not two, but three different stadiums played the song at some point that I could hear.
Finally, I'm watching the last Twins game of the year yesterday, and in the 7th inning when their manager came out to talk to Johan Santana in a bases-loaded jam, what song could I hear in the background playing over The Metrodome speakers?
The Final Countdown.
I told you a year ago it was awesome, and now that the world agrees with me, I don't expect an apology, nor do I expect a "you were right". I only ask that you admit how awesome the album is, particularly the title song, and that you add it to your iPod as soon as possible.
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