Single Review: Europe “Final Countdown”

Final Countdown
Album: The Final Countdown
Year: 1986

Every morning at my high school, the televisions would be turned on inside the classrooms. After hearing “El Fuego,” the first opening chords of Europe’s “Final Countdown” would start the school’s newscast. Now, each time I hear the single, I’m bleary-eyed and apathetic to school events all over again.

In the absurd premise of “Final Countdown,” people are leaving on a rocket ship to another planet.

The drums murmur to begin the single. Next, the keyboards mimic an official leader’s song (like “Hail to the Chief”). Then, the guitars and drums become promiment. Joey Tempest is going on a rocket ship with his family. However, he is saying goodbye to Earth forever. He believes it was something which would’ve happened eventually. As they take off, he wonders if everyone will be the same person. (“We’re leaving together/But still it’s farewell/And maybe we’ll come back/To earth, who can tell?/I guess there is no one to blame/We’re leaving ground/Will things ever be the same again?”).

In the chorus, Tempest proclaims it’s the final countdown as the official and formal sounding keyboards return.

The destination is to Venus and he, along with everybody else in the ship, is prepared for the aliens. And I can’t believe I wrote that sentence. Moving on, Tempest speculates that the aliens might have spotted their ship from their radar. He also believes they will have a welcoming party for them and thank them for invading their little piece of the planet. They still have many hours to travel and things to see. However, Tempest thinks everybody on the ship will miss Earth. Let’s see: ability to stand on ground without wearing a bulky suit, walking without bouncing around, and receiving oxygen through the air and not a mask. I’m going to vote on yes for that one. (“We’re heading for venus and still we stand tall/Cause maybe they’ve seen us and welcome us all/With so many light years to go and things to be found/I’m sure that we’ll all miss her so”).

After the chorus, the single becomes a rock song as guitarist Kee Marcello riffs during the instrumental section while Ian Haughland drums in the background.

The chorus ends the single. However, Tempest shouts some adlibs from the verse (“we’re leaving together…but we’ll still miss her so/It’s the final countdown!”).

“The Final Countdown” is hilariously cheesy due to its unbelievable, Sci-fi story. Nonetheless, the keyboard riff is a reason to dig the single up and listen to it.

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