In a global exclusive, we’re proud to present Europe’s new album ‘Walk The Earth’ in its unadulterated entirety ahead of its eagerly-awaited release tomorrow (Friday 20th October).
As showcased by the epic lead single and title track – which has been a mainstay on Planet Rock’s airwaves for months – ‘Walk The Earth’ is a rock tour-de-force from start to finish and very much the sound of a band at their scintillating best.
Together with our exclusive album stream, singer Joey Tempest has personally guided us through all ten tracks on the album, delving into both its lyrical themes and how they created the music.
Listen to ‘Walk The Earth’ in full and read Joey’s guide below. You can also buy the album right here.
Joey Tempest: “The two weeks when we were together in the recording studio is where everything happened; we finished the songs, worked on lyrics and ideas for album artwork and concepts. We also decided upon photographers, video directors and a lot of other things. We also plan years ahead together with our management about touring plans and other events.
“Musically ‘Walk The Earth’ is a complete collaboration between producer Dave Cobb and the five band members. The album was recorded between 18th April and 1st May 2017.”
1. WALK THE EARTH
Lyrically: “Perhaps the most positive, optimistic and life-affirming song on the record. Originally the chorus on this song had more of a dark Sabbath kind of chanting vibe, but after putting it together with Mic's (Mic Michaeli) keyboard part, it really started to come alive. When entering Abbey Road Studios, I only had a few lines for the verses and, of course, the words and melody for ‘Walk The Earth’ chorus. It took a few tries but after talking to Dave (Cobb, producer) about the direction of the lyrics and working with Aaron (Raitiere, a Dave Cobb collaborator) on the words it really came together.
“Since the world we now live in feels like it’s being pulled in many different directions; politically, socially and spiritually, I felt that ‘who will chant for us, the human race as a whole?’ We are one planet, one human race after all. Deep within, most of us share the same basic human values, with hope, empathy and survival instincts. Let's sing for that.”
Musically: “During one of our live shows 2016 I heard Mic improvise a version of the opening keyboard riff of this song during his keyboard feature in the show. I immediately loved it and afterwards asked the monitor tech to send it to me since we were recording all the shows around that time.
“When we met up for one of our jam sessions where I play drums and Mic plays keyboards, I suggested we work on this particular idea. Singing it, I developed a working title ‘1945’ that sort of just strangely tied into my "path of democracy" theme. When we jammed I came up with the vocal phrasing and melody for the verses. We had a start of a song!
“Later back in London, I had the whole chorus idea already brewing with this dark chanting vocal melody “WE WALK THE EARTH!”. The song took a giant leap forward as I put it together with Mic’s keyboard riff. To tie the parts together, I sorted out a bridge leading into the chorus. Later in rehearsal with the band, as everyone was setting their gear up I worked on the solo cords and parts and it became a song in its own. Norum (John Norum, guitars) loved it and set out to create a magic, melodic and spirited solo for it.
“We brought the song in this shape to the studio where Dave suggested that we could arrange it so that we basically stop the music in the beginning of the chorus where the first ‘we walk the earth’ words come in and then let all the instruments come in halfway through. That was a genius move.
“Dave also changed the chords slightly in the choruses to make it flow better. We loved this approach so much that we used it on all choruses. But the song actually got completely finished a few weeks after we left the studio. Late one night I was in the studio trying some edits on the chorus. I edited some bits out that had been part of the song from the beginning but now wasn't strong enough since the song had evolved immensely during the time in Abbey Road. Just some small edits made all the difference. The song was done and we felt like this was one of the most interesting songs we've done in years, maybe decades!”
2. THE SIEGE
Lyrically: “Basically a postcard from the French Revolution, where Democracy took a giant leap forward in France (and subsequently Europe). I worked with my old friend Chris Difford (from the band Squeeze) on this lyric.”
Musically: “John Levén (bass) sent us this riff/idea and we all loved it. In rehearsal, we put it together with a chorus idea Mic had and a very cool song started to emerge. In Abbey Road Dave helped us with the feel and arrangements and also the small quirky stops in verses and outro.”
3. KINGDOM UNITED
Musically: “This was the first song written for the album. My first demo where I played drums was called ‘Path of Democracy’ and was quite naive and chaotic compared to the more straightforward groove on the record. The song was put together in two parts; the main riff part and the outro guitar solo part.
“In rehearsal, the working name changed to ‘ProgLizzy’ and this was the song that gave birth to the entire album. It came from a more progressive place and lyrically from the democracy theme. In the studio, Dave suggested we added an instrumental part filled with Mellotron keyboards after each verse. That really completed it and made the song really fly!”
Lyrically: “The lyric idea started as ‘Path of Democracy’. At this this early stage when this song came about I was working towards the idea that the whole album and every song would touch upon this subject.
“When the arrangement was done in the studio, I contacted Chris Difford and explained about my idea of looking at The United Kingdom and that I wanted us to paint a picture of what took place round the time when The Magna Carta was created and signed in this very important period in UK history.
“When I was working with Chris, he had another very respected and accomplished writer staying at his house - Boo Hewerdine – who also added some lines to the song. It was quite incredible. I had two of the best and most revered lyricists in the UK working with me on this particular lyric!”
Musically: “The song centres on a musical idea I’ve had for at least 15 years. It has never left my mind and I always knew this chord sequence had something special. It was earlier an up-tempo idea, but, prior to this record, I started playing it much slower and relaxed. Just a few weeks before going into the studio I finished the idea on my parents’ piano in my childhood home where I wrote a lot of stuff for Europe in the early years. I was extremely excited to finally bring this song to the guys in rehearsal and start working on it with the whole band.
“In the studio, the song began a wonderful journey that included some amazing production ideas and with extra input from Dave Cobb. He helped us with the piano solo part and suggested the song could be lifted even further with a longer outro part where the Mellotron would have a more leading role. Dave and engineer Eddie Spears did an outstanding job with the production on this track.
“I don't think we could have handled writing such an adventurous song even on our last album ‘War of Kings’. This recording could only come to life at this time in our career, in this studio and with this producer. It was a truly mesmerising experience to finish this very song.”
Lyrically: “I had a few lyric lines going into the studio but when the song dramatically started to come alive in Abbey Road, myself and Dave began talking about making the lyric a sequel/follow up to ‘The Final Countdown’ lyric. What happened to these people "leaving ground" in 1986? The lyric paints a picture of one person contemplating his or her destiny drifting out there in "space". In a real sense and also metaphorically.
“This lyric connection is probably the only thing this album has in common with our previous period in the 80s/90s. The very talented Aaron Raitiere helped me finish the lyric writing from his base in Nashville. Aaron is a good friend and collaborator of Dave's (and now us in the band) and it was a true pleasure getting his input on this very special song.”
5. ELECTION DAY
Musically: “Mic and I came up with this idea jamming together in my studio in a London with me playing drums/vocals and Mic on keyboards. We had everything apart from a chorus. During the late summer 2016, the vocal melody for the chorus started to take shape in my head. The chords for the chorus was something I had created together with my friend Adam Lamprell (Scissorman, Skyscraper) many years earlier.”
Lyrically: “After two very dramatic elections. One in the U.K. and one in the US. I couldn't help but starting to reflect and wanting to paint a picture of some of the emotions and feeling that circled around my head. I called up Chris Difford again and together we set out to finish the lyric together.”
Musically: “A riff I came up with in my studio in London. I introduced it to the rest of the guys in our rehearsal place in Stockholm and the guys really liked it, especially John Norum who also wrote some parts for the song. Dave told me early on that he liked this idea and set out to help us with the arrangement and added some more abstract chords in the verses. He also created a cool yet dramatic vibe for the song with recording techniques, Mellotron and effects.”
Lyrically: “I had the most of the lyrics ready before entering the studio. It was based in a story I read about a whistle-blower who after telling the truth had to go into hiding with his family and completely feared for his life. The character could trust no one and saw everyone as "wolves" at his door!”
Musically: “This track was Norum's idea. Its’ a great up-tempo track that Dave helped John finish at Abbey Road.”
Lyrically: “Dave and I penned the lyrics, which are about the road, freedom and simply driving a car you love!”
Musically: “Another one of Norum's amazing ideas. We worked on this song quite a lot in our rehearsal place in Stockholm. When entering Abbey Road, Dave helped us take the song to a different and more vibe-y place with arrangement ideas, effects and production ideas. The first time we actually put a drum solo within an actual song!”
Lyrically: “Another lyric Dave and I worked on together around the grand piano in studio 3. We took it to a far out psychedelic place. The chords and the vibe gave life to this strange and beautiful lyric.”
9. WHENEVER YOU’RE READY
Musically: “Just an up-tempo rock riff I came up with in my studio in London. We worked on in our rehearsal place in Stockholm. Later in the studio Dave Cobb added a musical part after every verse that lifted the song and made it flow differently.”
Lyrically: “I worked and finished this straight forward rock lyric with our good friend Aaron. Just a bit of fun really.”
10. TURN TO DUST
Musically: “This is Mic Michaeli’s idea and we have tried to get this on a Europe album for at least ten years. The riff is a haunting circle of chords that drives the song forward in an almost hypnotic way. Mic has written all the parts with some of my melodies for the verses.
The guitar solo is probably the most touching and beautifully executed on the whole album with Norum playing from another dimension yet again.
“It was always planned to be the closing track of the album and it has a very long outro with a very sudden end! All part of Mic’s vision.”
Lyrically: “Mic had the title ‘Turn To Dust’ and a vision of an existential theme. Mic myself and Aaron finished the lyric together and made it into a great album closing track.”
Don’t forget, Europe hit the UK this coming November supporting Deep Purple on their five-date arena tour. Tickets are on sale from Planet Rock Tickets now.
Birmingham Barclaycard Arena – Fri 17th
Manchester Arena – Sat 18th
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – Mon 20th
Glasgow SSE Hydro – Wed 22nd
London The O2 – Thu 23rd