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Entry updated 9 April 2015. Tagged: Music.

Swedish rock band, formed in Stockholm in 1979, whose surprisingly enjoyable and sometimes inadvertently comical stadium rock, whilst mostly articulating predictable heavy-metal sentiments, occasionally addresses sf topics. Their first release Europe (1983), for instance, included the egregiously-titled "In the Future to Come" which warns rather incoherently of impending doom ("But one day or another / This world would maybe / Be destroyed forever / A holocaust could maybe be spread"). The title track of Wings of Tomorrow (1984) deprecates the present from the point of view of a flying futurity. By far the band's biggest hit was "The Final Countdown" (on The Final Countdown, 1986), on which a screechy synthesizer melody over chuntering guitars accompanies an unrestrained vocal account of the End of the World: a Spaceship on the launch pad is ready to take Earth's last survivors away. Catchy and rather splendid, in a silly way ("We're heading for Venus [...] With so many light years to go"), the single was number one in the charts of many countries. It was also voted top of the music television station VH1's "Most Awesomely Bad Songs of All Time" poll; although the "awesomely" in the award's title indicates that even this dispraise contains a leaven of affection. "Sign of the Times" (on Out of This World, 1988) informs its listeners that the solution to the world's troubles is to seek out "a different kind of world out there" in space. The group disbanded in the early 1990s, although they have recently reformed with a view to cashing-in on the nostalgia market. [AR]


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