Not wasted years...
Genre: heavy metal
Interestingly this album has a quite high rating on MMA at the moment of me writing this review. What is interesting about that is that, when it came out, a lot of disliked it because of the use of synths and guitar synths (Judas Priest did the same with "Turbo", which has also received a lot of flak) - and a lot of rock fans of that generation still think it's one of the worst Maiden albums from the first Bruce era. However, to many people of my generation, "Somewhere in Time" is a very defining album.
In my case, it was the first metal album I heard, and the first metal album I owned. My mother even went down to the local record store with me so I could buy it. Knowing what kind of music Maiden made, she asked me if I was sure that I wanted to buy it, I said that I was absolutely certain, because I'd hear the album before, as I'd gone fishing with one of my friends' older brother the weekend before that, and he'd brought a boom box, but forgotten to bring any tapes other than "Somewhere in Time" which was just lying around in his jacket pocket. My life changed on that fishing trip because I heard "Somewhere in Time". Yes, somewhere in time is the album that changed my life. So, it was important for me to buy it. Once I told my mother that I was certain, she encouraged me to follow my tastes in music (even if she liked Bon Jovi and 80s pop music) - fortunately, my parents have always supported me, and they never took any issues with the music I listened to - I first experienced that with Iron Maiden which was my first independent journey into music.
I loved "Somewhere in Time" then. And I still love it today. It's my all time favorite album by my all time favorite artist.
There was just something about the music with its guitar harmonies, the chugging rhythm guitars, the straight but sometimes totally offbeat drumming, and the magnificent vocals that caught me. I'd never heard that sort of music before, but I was completely hooked upon first listen.
The opening track "Caught Somewhere in Time" is very much an epitome of Maiden metal, starting out with an epic sounding intro which is based on a melodic twin guitar pattern before exploding into a fully fledged glory of galloping and harmonic guitar patterns, a powerful chorus and straight solid drumming interrupted by a couple of syncopations now and then. "Wasted Years" is a more melodic affair with a very syncopated drum beat and the catchies chorus in the world, and then there's the easily recognizable guitar intro; this is easily one of my favorite Maiden tracks. "Sea of Madness" starts out with an aggressive riff which creates a nice contrast to "Wasted Years". It is one of the more obscure tracks on this album, but I think it's an amazing rocker and totally on par with many of the band's most loved classics. "Heaven Can Wait" is a sort of anthem because of the soccer-fan oh-oh-oh-oh sing-along choir in the bridge, but it is also a fast and hard-hitting metal song with a sort of uplifting lyrical message. Then there is "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", which was the first Maiden track I ever heard (on that fishing trip, we started with side B for whatever reason), and this song is really a cornucopia of all things Maiden - to the extent that Steve Harris once stated in an interview that he thought it was perhaps a bit too over the top; well, it's not over the top for me - it's just right. "Stranger in a Strange Land" is a midtempo melancholic track with an almost bluesy feel to it, while "Deja Vu", one of the more obscure tracks, is a fast paced track with an extremely catchy chorus. "Alexander the Great" is an epic track, and while it is not the best of its kind (there are many epic Maiden track that work much better), it is still a captivating track.
For my money, the best album ever!