“Oh God! What did I just listen to?” – J from Resurrection Songs
As we edge closer to the start of a new decade, it’s the perfect time to look back at the turn of the millennium, 20 whole years ago. Sony decided that Europe’s “The Final Countdown” would make the ideal anthem for the millennium, and so had it remixed by the guy (Brian Rawling) who did Cher’s “Believe” a year earlier. Joey Tempest was not amused, and tried to find another mixer without success. Drummer Ian Haughland called the finished remix a “disaster”.
The full 5:45 remix was released as a single, while a 3:47 edit version was issued on a new version of Europe’s “greatest hits”, with title updated from 1982-1992 to 1982-2000. At least the millennium led to a performance by a reunited Europe on New Year’s Eve featuring both guitarists John Norum and Kee Marcello.
The full length remix is the antithesis to rock music. Sped up, with bouncy synth bass and drums, it was obviously calculated for dancing. There are keyboards, weird sounds, and samples that have nothing to do with the song. Of the original recording, Joey’s vocals remain, but the rest sounds completely digital. It goes on, and on. The edit is tolerably shorter, but barely. “The Final Countdown 2000” is an affront to rock music and everything its fans enjoy. It is pure pandering to people who would never have bought a Europe album in the first place. Is that what Sony felt they had to do in order to make it a hit a second time? Imagine if Europe recorded a new version with both guitarists instead. The song was already pop enough to be a hit again on the wave of 80s nostalgia. It didn’t need to be mutilated to fit into a dance remix. It surely would have done better than this (#6 in Sweden, #36 in the UK).
As a consolation prize, this CD single includes a single edit of the original song. All it’s missing is the countdown opening. After hearing the dance version twice, it sounds strangely sluggish (even though it’s not). It’s like taking an offramp from the highway into normal traffic.
Possibly the worst single I’ve ever bought. And I’ve bought Puff Daddy.