Kee Marcello needs no introduction. The former Easy Action and Europe guitar player is pretty well known, at least in Scandinavia and some other European countries. However, the last time he put something out music wise was in 2004 when he put his brilliant and sadly underrated album Melon Demon Divine. Since then things have been awfully quiet apart from a song or two that he put out on YouTube. But in 2011 he released his biography ”The Rock Star That God Forgot” and at the same time also released a new solo album to go with it, like some kind of soundtrack to the book.
My guess is that he stole that idea from Nikki Sixx who did just that with his band Sixx A.M. and the book ”The Heroin Diaries”. A video for the album’s title track, a very good heavy and melodic hard rock song, was released prior to the CD and hopes were raised that we would get a album full of new written songs performed by Kee and his band.
Boy, did we get fooled on that one. This is an album that consists of new recordings of old Europe songs and a new version of his old Easy Action tune ”We Go Rocking”. Personally I just don’t get it. Why would he want to do such a thing after being away from the public eye for almost 10 years? I mean, his book, and it is a brilliant book by the way, gives him enough of attention to concentrate on an album with only new songs. Besides, the two songs that have been available on the web, ”Dog Eat Dog” and ”The Harder They Come” are both awesome. This album, however, is not! Not that the songs are bad, they’re great and Marcello is still one of the best guitarists in the world. It’s just that his new versions are totally unnecessary.
In all of the cases here, the originals kill these versions. ”Superstitious” is bluesier and edgier and the guitar solo is still fantastic, ”Seventh Sign” also has a harder edge and sounds more like it should have from the beginning, but the original is still better, ”Let The Good Times Rock” and ”Girl From Lebanon” is practically the same, which makes you wonder why he decided to cover them in the first place and the same goes for ”Halfway To Heaven”. ”More Than Meets The Eye” is a bit heavier, but otherwise, no change.
On the good side, though, ”Mind In The Gutter” has gotten a cool new touch with Kee’s step daughter Hanna stepping in and singing the song in a rough and mature way. Especially when you think of the fact that the girl is only 15. The song is a more raunchy and rock ’n’ roll than the original. Sounds more like it did when Kee’s band Red Fun covered it live.
Now to the embarrassing parts. ”The Final Countdown”, ”Carrie”, a crap song to begin with, ”Open Your Heart” and ”Rock The Night” are also on here. THESE AREN’T YOUR SONGS TO BEGIN WITH!!! So, therefore these tunes should have been left alone. I could have understood it if he wanted to record the songs that he wrote or helped writing or at least were recorded while he was in the band. ”Here Comes The Night” is a good example of a song that he can get away with as it was never released on an album until it appeared on the double greatest hits record Europe released in 2003. Also his solo number ”Hammers Heart” and ”Bumble Kee” are great and cool to have on an actual album.
But all the pre- Kee songs that he recorded feels desperate and awkward. Sure, play them live, but this is just nonsense. Another question raised: Who is gonna want to buy this? Who is even gonna download this illegally? I can’t think of one person who wouldn’t take the originals over this 24/7. Let this album be a bracket in his career and release a new album full of originals instead. I know that Kee is not only a brilliant guitarist and producer, he is also a brilliant songwriter and a good enough singer. Let’s forget about this debacle now and move on to something interesting.
Jon Wilmenius (4/10)
01 – Redux : Europe
02 – Superstitious
03 – Seventh Sign
04 – Let The Good Times Rock
05 – Girl From Lebanon
06 – The Final Countdown
07 – We Go Rocking (Slight Return)
08 – Carrie
09 – Hammers Heart
10 – Bumble Kee
11 – Here Comes The Night
12 – Halfway To Heaven
13 – More Than Meets The Eye
14 – Mind In The Gutter (feat. Hanna Marcello)
15 – Open Your Heart
16 – Rock The Night