Great thing is that even outsiders who now nothing from THE 69 EYES loved them as I managed to present their music to a lot of people, so there is a lot of people to be convinced! This best of is the best way: only filled with pearls and killer songs, no fillers! Get fanged by the Helsinki vampires and turn into an immortal fan, just like me!
Founded in the Finnish capital some 25 years ago, THE 69 EYES spawned a total of ten full-length records and an additional selection of live, best-of and re-mastered albums. Looking back at it they must have been blessed as they managed to keep their line-up ever since 1992, when Jussi69 replaced original drummer Lotto: this way they could work on their own style and call it Goth’n’Roll (with some blues elements in it)!
28 great tracks, some are single versions, others are regular album versions and one by one are simply great, presenting us a wide scale of their taste and influences, very sticky music and indeed: simply the best! After my test with regular people (dang, even people from my office): it was clear that this best of needs to be reviewed from a clean sheet, with no knowledge of the band and simply talk about the great music and not about the golden or platinum albums, the great gigs …
Who doesn’t know the movie Lost Boys? Well, this one sounds as the perfect main title for it (yeah, I know: it is actually): it’s catchy, adventurous, real Goth’n roll (as they call it themselves). The vocals are fitting in a vampire story; with a little Billy Idol twist (for sure the backings and some guitar play). The music is just so appealing and great! Let yourself go and rock along, as nothing is going to make you stop! You’re gonna rock! Perfect Skin starts off with a riff that reminds me a bit of Bomb track from Rage Against The Machine and some more Billy Idol. The backings create a sweet undertone, the guitars a retro 80’s sound, creating a perfect track that sticks on you!
Brandon Lee is a tragic song and a great tribute to a fallen hero (feel the blues elements and the melancholia). Be ready to shed a tear during this one! The sound is very catchy and the gothic touch reminds me a bit of what The Elusive did (but I’m pretty sure The Elusive copied them and not the other way). If there would have been a new movie about Brandon Lee, than this one must figure on the soundtrack! The melodic sound and the great piano is also something to remember from this track. A perfect love song is Lost without love, a very sweet and mellow one with lots of melancholia and a typical Gothic ballad. Leaving other great heroes like HIM fa behind them, a great power ballad and a romantic high! This is something magical! Why wasn’t this one a great commercial hit?
Feel Berlin feels like an ode to David Bowie and David Lynch, with referrals like ‘Boys keep swinging Wild At Heart until the morning’. You can call it Berlin Blues, for sure with the female backings, the little clap your hands moment, the hold back main vocals: it just has it to be a great song! The Chair reminds me a bit of Type O Negative (vocals and guitars); it has something cheeky and catchy: bitter sweetness and misery at its top! Dead Girls Are Easy goes a bit in the same direction as the last one (more focusing on the lyrics and the catchy chorus). This one feels like a big hit, for sure on stage! Rock on! Catchy Goth’n roll! Can’t stand still during this one (it has a great clip)! Radical sounds like a bitter ballad about a vampire who doesn’t want to live anymore, reaching out and wanting to die.
Tonight is a vampire sing-a-long track, with a positive vibe. It feels as if tonight anything is possible! The global sound renders the catchy sound and energetic feel! It’s party time! Dance D’amour contains some French (with an accent), a romantic one (it’s mon Cherie, but soit, no worries): dance until the serious moonlight (right: David Bowie and his serious moonlight tour from 1983). We are slowly dancing towards our beloved one. At some part it reminds me of Iggy Pop in his soft era (‘Blah Blah Blah’). Some great country & blues comes in with Borderline (a wicked Chris Isaak moment versus Johnny Cash). It’s nice to hear something completely different as from what we heard before (love the backings and the guitar). Rocker (genre Elvis Presley goes goth ‘n roll) and Dead N’ Gone are cool and catchy rockers, great live tracks and new highlights on this best of! The guitars sound just as they should and the backings lift up the track, great productional work! Rosary Blue (feat. KAT VON D) is pure gold! The perfect duet with that romantic twist! It’s a very sensitive ballad, a perfectly crafted jewel!
Up to the next CD with the power track Never say Die (single Mix): a catchy jewel, a perfect earworm (with a slice of Billy Idol versus Elvis Presley). Mmm, so tasty! Gothic Girl sounds like Stupid Girl from Garbage with a Type O Negative feel (actually Type O Negative covered it from them and both bands started around the same time). I have no clue how Garbage feels about this one, but I absolutely love it! To me it’s the perfect mix between underground and commercial! Betty Blue is a sweet romantic goth ‘n roll track! The backings give it a gospel touch and something very catchy. Sister of charity starts with some priests chant, looking for the holy spirit and with a very melodic sound. The melodramatic vibe is almost overwhelming you. More fuelled up is Love runs away, yet another catchy swing and perfect live track! I’m hooked on the chorus and impossible to stand still during this one, just got sucked into it! Yet another pearl!
We own the night is a bluesy vampire song, inclusive a clap your hands moment! The catchiness is their trademark! The vampires rule, so let’s party! Red is another soft and catchy track, weeping you a little bit into the melody. I sense some Nickelback influences in it. More goth ‘n roll comes with Devils: the sound and chorus conquered my heart, almost jumping up and down, arms raise and looking to the sky! The dramatic feel is so real! Scream a-long or play some air guitar on this one! Wrap your troubles in dreams has great lyrics and a good tempo. The opening with the piano is just perfect, leading the guitars and drums (almost exploding at some point). The backings are heating up the song, lifting it to a higher level. Once again their trademark makes it a hit!
Wasting the dawn (Remix 2003) has a more symphonic feel, a lower tempo, but a warmer sound. The melancholia reigns during this one. I almost sing-along during the whole track. Kiss me undead sounds like a classic, a big hit, played before the masses in big stadiums. It has a very sticky sound and chorus. Yet another highlight on this album (honestly: there are as good as 28 highlights on this one). Crashing high reminds me a bit of our own Star Industry, a great Gothic rocker! The backings are sweet and catchy and brings in a typical scream and raise your arms in the air moment. Stolen season is a soft ballad, with a weeping sound and a lot of sadness. Ghost is the last track on this great compilation. A melancholic rocker with a melodic sound (and a great cello) makes me push the repeat button.
It was a great pleasure, took me one week before I wanted to close down and finish this great compilation with classic tracks, great hits, no fillers as there are only killer tracks on it! The great thing is that even people who haven’t heard them yet loved them from the first notes, so that means that they can get a lot more fans! Well, the Helsinki Vampires fanged me and turned me into a hardcore fan!
The track listing of The Best Of Helsinki Vampires:
01. Lost Boys
02. Perfect Skin
03. Brandon Lee
04. Lost Without Love
05. Feel Berlin
06. The Chair
07. Dead Girls Are Easy
10. Dance D'Amour
13. Dead N' Gone
14. Rosary Blue (feat. KAT VON D)
01. Never Say Die
02. Gothic Girl
03. Betty Blue
04. Sister Of Charity
05. Love Runs Away
06. We Own The Night
09. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
10. Wasting The Dawn
11. Kiss Me Undead
12. Crashing High
13. Stolen Season
Additionally THE 69 EYES will re-release Devils (2004), Angels (2007) as well as Paris Kills (2002) as a special edition. Each re-release will include the original album track listing plus three bonus tracks and will also be out on April 10, 2015 via Nuclear Blast.
Clip of Lost without love: