Maiden's sixth album, this album represents a distinct change in style for the band. Whilst the previous three albums had contained a heavier, often more chord based approach to music, and the two before some very rock and roll based rhythms, Somewhere in Time contains some of Smith and Murray's best harmony work, and generally a much softer sound than the grinding power chords of "Powerslave" or the galloping riffs of "Run to the Hills" and "the Trooper". There is also a slight change in song theme. Rather than writing songs about eagles, battles and slaves (or harlots), we see Maiden taking a more personal approach with "Wasted Years". Whether they were selling out to a certain extent by softening their sound and making Maiden more accessible to those who didn't have in-depth knowledge of, say, the Crimean War or those who had not studied Greek Mythology is questionable, but who cares? It's a great album.
1) Caught Somewhere in Time: The opening track, this is a nice, lengthy, yet energetic start to the album of which it is title. A nice little anecdote - when I first downloaded this track it came up on Media Player as 53 minutes long! Ironically, it wasn?t even the full track. Anyway, the harmony work I talked about earlier is immediately seen in the opening minute of the song. After this, it does kick into a slightly traditional gallop, but with the harmonies and Bruce-s vocals much stronger above the chords than on any of their previous albums. This song is, from beginning to end, a nice fast song, with no major tempo changes (unusual for Maiden) and a good, fast solo in the middle, of course. One of my favourite Maiden songs. 9.5/10
2) Wasted Years - The best know track on the album, Wasted Years is not a very Maiden-like song, but it still works fantastically. Adrian Smith takes the lead for this one, and, although I've always preferred Davey (looks like Winnie the Pooh, rocks... like Winnie the Pooh :D :D ), he makes a fine job of it, with the memorable e-string climb opening, and a good tap-on based solo. The lyrics and vocals are not very Maidenesque either. The first song Adrian Smith wrote for the band (by himself, anyway), Wasted Years foregoes the customary screams and foghorn-like bellowing that Bruce would usually demonstrate on tracks like "Flight of Icarus". It is a song that you wouldn't necessarily recognise as Maiden (except for Bruce's trademark voice), but still a great song. 9/10
7) Deja Vu - A Davey writing credit here!! :D :D A powerful performance here, in a similar vain to "Caught Somewhere in Time", this song certainly does not forego Bruce's bellow, and, like CSIT, has some brilliant guitar harmonies. It's a bit of a shame that it lacks a proper solo, but the harmony interlude works nicely. In my opinion, this is the best song off the album, and is one of my favourite songs of all time. The contrasts in vocals in the verses are brilliant. Whilst Bruce and Adrian stage-whisper softly the first line, eg "have you ever talked to someone and you feel you know what's coming next", the second line is a definite foghorn, "It?s deranged!!" Dave Murray's harmonising behind the pre-chorus gives Deja vu a nice emotional touch not often seen on the earlier albums. This song symbolises the whole album. It's just a shame they never play it live. 10/10
OTHER SONGS - I don't think there are any weak songs on SiT, but "Heaven can Wait" and "Sea of Madness" are less than brilliant.
Stranger in a Strange Land - 9/10
The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner - 9.5/10
Sea of Madness - 8.5/10
Heaven Can Wait - 8/10
Alexander the Great - 10/10
Somewhere in Time is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of Maiden's career. What came before it was gold, what came after, less so. Hence I find it puzzling why the songs off this album NEVER appear on any of Maiden's setlists, whilst "Lord of the Flies", of all songs, makes it in.
All in all, 4.5/5