Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lesser of two evils: Europe vs. Winger

Time for another segment of Lesser of two evils. I take two albums that I am not very fond of and match them up to see which one is better or not as bad. The two bands this time around are generally better musicians than some of other acts that have appeared here. Still these two bands are here mainly because they contributed to the watering down of hard rock. Both possibly had the talent to do more, but largely made cookie cutter type hard rock with the hopes of getting lots of play on the radio and MTV.

We have Europe's 1986 release "The Final Countdown"

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going up against Winger's 1988 self-titled debut.

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For Europe we have Joey Tempest and for Winger it is of course Kip himself. Both have some degree of range and sharp production helps both guys. Tempest displays a better range though and is more consistent for what it's worth.
Point to Europe

So it's John Norum for Europe against Reb Beach for Winger. Both guys are technically fairly sound. Yet both tend to just do the minimum at times and then just show some flash on their solos. Kind of a close match-up, but I think Reb Beach has a better sense of timing and style.
Point to Winger

Rhythm section
Representing Europe is John Levin on bass and drummer Ian Haugland. They are up against Kip Winger on bass and drummer Rod Morgenstein for Winger. Both rhythm sections are fairly standard as they are serviceable, but neither really stand out. You really don't here either bass player that much. I think Morgenstein's drums are more solid and aggressive at times.
Point to Winger

The production values on both albums are overall fine as there was obviously a fair amount of money put into both projects. As far as originality goes, I would say neither band is completely copying anyone yet neither is really making a lot of headway either. Both seemed content to play it relatively safe.

Who rocks more?
Both acts have quite a bit of keyboards and both seem to like ballads more than they should. Those factors make it rather difficult for either act to win this category. Still Europe rely way too much on the keys and Winger had a tendency to push ahead more. Neither band is that great as far as hard rock bands go, but Winger are quite a bit closer in this category so ...
Point to Winger

Winger take it to a tune of 3-1-1. They must have done something to win this despite doing one of the worst Hendrix covers of all time. Actually they were slightly better than I remembered. Still not thrilled by either band though. Now I have the tune to Europe's sickening title track stuck in my head as well. Do-do-do-do Do-do-do-do-do. Oh, please make it stop!

***I will have another Lesser of two evils out next month. Only three left until I determine the Grand Stinker in December.


Blogger bob_vinyl said...

While neither of these bands is very good (even though I do have that Europe album), I can't see either in serious contention for Grand Stinker. At this point, it seems like London will be tough to beat for that dishonor, but I do know you have a few more rotten albums up your sleeve!

9:35 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Despite the evils of Winger--and there were some--it is clearly a better band than Europe. Kip Winger went too pop for most of our tastes, but he was a decent singer, a great bass player, and he put together a solid group around him with the likes of Reb Beach.

Winger's not my favorite, but I don't have the TOTAL lack of respect for the band that others deserve.

-- david

3:37 AM  
Blogger captain corky said...

Every time I hear The Final Countdown even to this day I'm amazed at how lame a song it is. The lead singer whines the song.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Bob-These two were better than some that I have done and most of what is to come.

David-Winger had some things going for them, but they still tended to be a bit bland at times.

Captain Corky-Fortunately I don't hear that song as much as I did twenty years ago.

9:20 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

Oh C'mon! The Final Countdown is a catchy song, especially when covered by black metal band Norther. And it was used brilliantly as Gob's theme song for his magic routine on the outstanding show Arrested Development!

That said, I would have went with Winger too.

11:59 AM  
Blogger RockDog said...

In my opinion, WInger was the better band. At least they had flashes of coolness...never saw that from Europe.

12:40 PM  
Blogger The Lone Beader said...

I agree with Rockdog. Winger was a better band. In fact, I don't even think you should try to compare, the two... But, for some reason, I LOVED The Final Countdown when I was young. What was wrong with me?? LOL.

Here's a techno remix of it that's much more interesting than the original... LOL!

1:29 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I think the title track on Europe's album should be required listening for Death Row inmates. Or would that be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

6:37 PM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

The Purple Haze cover is pretty dreadful, but I always liked Winger. I'm sure, as a woman, it had a lot to do with Kip's hotness. But I still think "Madalaine" is a great song.

Oh, and Reb Beach is from Pittsbugh, so they've got that going for them.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Oh, I think Europe is a fine contender for Stinker of the Year, just because my high school girlfriend was so excited thinking that I'd give her props for getting into Europe. Blech. Fuzzbox rules on that sentence!

11:20 AM  

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