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MONSTERS OF ROCK

Various Artists – Monsters of Rock (1998, Razor & Tie)

Track Listing:
1. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot … 4:51
2. “Once Bitten Twice Shy” – Great White … 5:22
3. “Poison” – Alice Cooper … 4:30
4. “The Final Countdown” – Europe … 5:11
5. “Round and Round” – Ratt … 4:24
6. “Cherry Pie” – Warrant … 3:20
7. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake … 4:35
8. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison … 4:20
9. “Seventeen” – Winger … 4:05
10. “Cult of Personality” – Living Colour … 4:54
11. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister … 3:39
12. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” – Judas Priest … 5:08
13. “Nobody’s Fool” – Cinderella … 4:48
14. “Hold on Loosely” – .38 Special … 4:37
15. “Turn up the Radio” – Autograph … 4:34
16. “Sister Christian” – Night Ranger … 4:56

Ahh… The hair metal compilation that gave rise to all the rest of the imitators and countless sequels from Razor & Tie.

Razor & Tie initially pushed many of their compilations (love songs, country, 80s, etc.) through their 800 number. I remember many of these ads over on cable stations like TBS and WGN. I *think* there was even a 2-disc version of Monsters of Rock that was only available by ordering over the phone.

Anyway, tons of classics here, though I would argue the inclusion of .38 Special, Autograph, Night Ranger and Living Colour (I really hate “Cult of Personality” anyway). You can’t go wrong with these songs. Though I would eventually own all the albums that these songs were taken from, this was a great introduction for me to the genre when, up to that point, I had really only gotten heavy in GNR, Poison and Bon Jovi.

My fondest memory is playing this one constantly when my family moved from Virginia to Florida in June 1998. I had no friends and nowhere to go and this album received CONSTANT play in my room that summer. Also, Monsters of Rock gave me a great “I REMEMBER THAT SONG!” moment with Alice Cooper’s “Poison”. I had totally forgotten about that massive comeback hit for The Coop.

This album pretty much set the standard for pop metal comps and usually knockoff CDs basically just took this tracklisting and hit ‘shuffle’.

EUROPE – The Final Countdown

Europe – The Final Countdown [Remastered Edition] (2001, Sony Music Entertainment/Epic Records/Legacy Recordings)
Original Release: 1986, Epic Records

Track Listing:
1. “The Final Countdown” … 5:11
2. “Rock the Night” … 4:03
3. “Carrie” … 4:30
4. “Danger on the Track” … 3:45
5. “Ninja” … 3:46
6. “Cherokee” … 4:13
7. “Time Has Come” … 4:01
8. “Heart of Stone” … 3:46
9. “On the Loose” … 3:08
10. “Love Chaser” … 3:33
BONUS TRACKS
11. “The Final Countdown” [Live] … 5:12
12. “Danger on the Track” [Live] … 4:00
13. “Carrie” [Live] … 4:40

Band:
Joey Tempest – Vocals
John Norum – Guitars
John Levén – Bass
Ian Haugland – Drums
Mic Michaeli – Keyboard

Produced by: Kevin Elson

Just about anyone who has been to a sporting event is familiar with “The Final Countdown”. And that may have been humorous the first few times it was played, that song is over 20 years old and it’s time to stop. It’s not cute anymore. Anyway, the song is gloriously cheesy as is the rest of this pop-metal masterpiece.

“Carrie” was a big hit ballad for the band, and it’s a great one, but songs like “Rock the Night” and “Cherokee” have proven to me this band really has legs and can rock when they want to. It was actually thanks to The Boneyard channel on XM Radio that convinced me to buy this album because for a while, they kept playing both of those songs.

The album is definitely cheesy all around, there’s just some albums that CANNOT be blasted on your car stereo with the windows down, but it’s a really fun pop-metal album.

Highlights: “The Final Countdown”, “Rock the Night”, “Carrie”, “Danger on the Track”, “Ninja”, Cherokee”

www.europetheband.com
www.myspace.com/europe

YOUTH GONE WILD: Heavy Metal Hits of the 80’s, Volume 2

YOUTH GONE WILD: HEAVY METAL HITS OF THE 80′S, VOLUME 2 (1996, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Rock Me” – Great White (7:18)
2. “Heaven Tonight” – Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force (4:07)
3. “The Final Countdown” – Europe (5:10)
4. “Over My Head” – King’s X (4:49)
5. “Goin’ Crazy!” – David Lee Roth (3:09)
6. “It’s Not Love” – Dokken (5:01)
7. “Seventeen” – Winger (4:06)
8. “Poison Ivy” – Faster Pussycat (4:27)
9. “Gotta Let Go” – Lita Ford (4:40)
10. “I Want Out” – Helloween (4:41)
11. “I’m On to You” – Hurricane (3:59)
12. “Edge of a Broken Heart” – Vixen (4:24)
13. “Dreams in the Dark” – Badlands (3:30)
14. “Wild Thing” – Sam Kinison (4:29)

Rhino’s Youth Gone Wild compilation series essentially peaked with Volume 1, which was loaded with big names and big hits. It’s curious as to how they decided the track placement for the first three volumes because they were all released on the same day, yet Vol. 2 & 3 suffer with a lack of names & hits. Perhaps they figured since people would probably start with Volume 1 they should load the deck for that particular album?

That’s not to say this is a bad album, in fact, it’s very good and it’s the Youth Gone Wild album that I’m most familiar with. A friend of mine owned this and I borrowed it for many months playing it nonstop back in ’97 or so.

The album gets off to a great start with the hair metal classic “Rock Me” by Great White. The song is a slow burn rocker which then explodes about halfway through. Diamond Dave makes an appearance with the infectious “Goin’ Crazy!”, and Vixen, Winger and Europe bring their biggest hits to the table. “Poison Ivy” by Faster Pussycat is just pure sleaze rock ‘n’ roll fun and turned me into a huge FP fan.

Here, the artist selection starts to get a bit weird and that theme continues for the following albums. King’s X & Helloween seem somewhat out of place here (although both turn in decent rockers). Sam Kinison’s “Wild Thing” also feels strangely out of place. It may have the metal cred (many 80s rock/metal superstars appeared on the track and/or in the video), but I can’t help but think that’s one more track that could’ve been devoted to an actual band.

Volume 2 doesn’t compare to Volume 1, but it’s certainly worth a listen.

Highlights: “Rock Me”, “The Final Countdown”, “Goin’ Crazy!”, “It’s Not Love”, “Seventeen”, “Poison Ivy”, “I Want Out”, “I’m On to You”, “Edge of a Broken Heart”, “Dreams in the Dark”

Lowlights: “Wild Thing”

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