For the first time in their career, Europe failed to hit one out of the park. In my opinion, Europe’s debut Europe was a masterpiece. The follow-up Wings Of Tomorrow was very solid too, and The Final Countdown was a downright guilty pleasure. But with each album, Europe ventured further and further into pop-metal territory. The Final Countdown was pretty much an out-an-out “hair” album (but a very good one). Out Of This World continued on this unfortunate trajectory, and the final product was more perfumed and wimpy than ever before. Out Of This World was Europe’s weakest release yet. It was also the first Europe album that didn’t feature John Norum on guitar. He left Europe after The Final Countdown, apparently unhappy with the band’s musical direction. Kee Marcello replaced Norum for Out Of This World.
Despite my disappointment with this album, I do think Out Of This Word houses one essential, magnificent gem. I’m talking about one of my favorite Europe songs ever, Superstitious. With its glorious, gospel-like refrain, a sublime solo by Marcello, and even some uplifting keyboard embellishments, Superstitious never gets old to me. In my house, it’s a stone-cold classic! Superstitious is majestic! It makes me want to ride a glowing white unicorn into a rainbow of Skittles! Another great song on the album is Open Your Heart, but since this song had already appeared on Wings Of Tomorrow, I’m not sure if I should give Europe credit for that one here. Besides, the Wings Of Tomorrow version of Open Your Heart was much better. The Out Of This World rendition was sprinkled in the fairy dust of too much keyboard lameness.
As a whole, Out Of This World barely qualifies as hard rock. There’s WAY too much keyboards for my taste, and it seems the album was written more for teenage girls than grizzled hard rock fans. But it’s still Europe, which means that Joey Tempest’s always great voice was there to (almost) save the day. That’s a plus. And Kee Marcello’s solos were exceptional. I love the full, rich tone he conjured from his guitar, and his leads perfectly balanced flash and taste. My score: B-