Sound: WARNING: this review(justifiably, I might add) contains lots of over-used and much repeated superlatives...
Europe manages to combine the finest hard rock with some damned fine catchy choruses, with the result a stunning masterpiece of an album. The guitar work is excellent, with plenty of riffs to induce spontaneous headbanging ("All Or Nothing" cough cough), and lead guitar so inspiring that even God's jaw cannot fail to drop. Kee Marcello is one of those few guitarists capable of combining both mind numbingly fast soloing with some truly soulful playing, and the man is sadly underrated in my opinion. There are some pretty cool synth/keyboard effects in most (if not all...) of the tracks, which is not to everyone's taste, although I personally think it adds to the sound in a positive way.
There's a great mix on here; with emotional ballads and rocking masterpieces to enrich the lives of all who appreciate the finest rock. This album marks the end of an era; it was released in 1991, just as the hard rocking hair metal genre that had dominated much of the 1980s was on its way out, but it definitely still makes me want to grow my hair big, grab my guitar and have a great time rocking out. I'd certainly recommend this to fellow fans of 80s hard rock/metal (think aerosmith/warrant/motley crue/bon jovi/van halen etc...) // 9
Lyrics: The title track contains the memorable line "we're just children of tomorrow, hanging on to yesterday", and its certainly not alone as far as deep, profound lyrics penned by joey tempest are concerned. Otherwise, the lyrics are cool and fit in well with the music. Joey tempest sings well, he's by no means my favourite singer of all time, but he puts plenty of emotion in all the right places. I'm no lyrics expert by any means, but I personally think the lyrics are just fine on this album. // 7
Overall Impression: Most people only know Europe by the rather overplayed "The Final Countdown", and few realise the true rocking music the band has to offer. This album is truly excellent, in my not-so-humble opinion. I'd certainly say it was Europe's best. 1991 was a good year for the rock n' roll world in terms of albums released (use your illusions 1&2; the black album; slave to the grind, F.U.C.K ...) and considering this, it is perhaps little wonder Prisoners In Paradise seems to be largely overlooked twenty years on. However, I put it to you good people that this album is just as deserving of its place in rock n' roll history as those listed above. It just has that feel-good thing to it; that sense of rocking out and feeling good about the world that is rarely found in post-grunge rock/metal. the songs are as follows:
All Or Nothing - a fine rocking masterpiece with an unforgettable riff that will make you want to knock down houses. If anything, the vocals irritate me slightly, but then I'm quite easily irritated I guess...
Halfway to Heaven - again a great song, with some excellent lead guitar thrown in. perhaps not the best on the album, but worthy of its place.
I'll Cry for you - one of the softer, more emotional songs on the album. Not the manliest of lyrics, but certainly worth listening to for those who appreciate good power ballads.
Little bit of lovin' - another excellent hard rocking song that will go down well with anyone who likes Alice Cooper's Trash album. Catchy choruses and fantastic guitar work throughout.
Talk To Me - not the strongest song on the album by any means, but its not a disaster by any means. It just doesn't stand out, but think of a big fish in a very big pond.
Seventh Sign - heavier than most on this album, and it damn well rocks. If iron maiden had been a glam metal band(!), this could be what it would have sounded like. This song rocks beyond beleif. One of the best I've heard in a long time.
Prisoners In Paradise - starts off with a rather unusual intro of voices all revealing their greatest desires ("I WANT TO LEARN TO FLY!!"). Otherwise a very good track, with a great chorus and some fine guitar playing.
Bad Blood - yet another example of the finest rock. Some truly excellent riffing, this is one for them air guitarists out there
homeland - a bluesy, softer masterpiece that shows off some of kee marcello's most soulful playing. I like it. A lot.
Got Your Mind In The Gutter - one of the weaker songs on the album, although such a word is not really fair. Its perhaps one too many catchy choruses, but then again I could be talking complete garbage there. By no means is this a bad song, but if I had to throw one off the album, I'd probably choose this one.
Til My Heart Beats Down Your Door - another sincerely cool song with some fine riffing to headbang to. Definitely one of the better songs on the album.
Girl From Lebanon - a brilliant song to end a brilliant album. The solos are full of feeling and the whole song oozes soul, attitude and makes you want to set fire to the neighbour's car.
This is one stunning album. Forget all the misery and brutality that drives modern metal, this is one of the nearest things to actually get in a time machine and travelling back to the good old days of hairspray, leather jackets and a time when rock n roll made you feel good about life. I couldn't recommend this album any more. // 10