SIT: individual album judgement by yours truly

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
I've noticed that. But I very rarely give songs a 10/10 rating, as I've explained multiple times before. Basically, if an album gets over 85% it's fucking fantastic.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
SOMEWHERE IN TIME (1986)

1. Caught Somewhere In Time - 10/10
In a year when thrash metal has taken the world by storm, Maiden come up with the bright idea not to go heavier, but to make their music more ‘80s than it already is. The title track is the perfect way to bridge the listener into the new style, and features a highly underrated instrumental section to boot.

2. Wasted Years - 9/10
The single synthless song, this one actually feels a bit too light, but makes up for most of that with a jaw-dropping riff.

3. Sea Of Madness - 8/10
Unfortunately a song that once did more for me than it does now. Some brilliant bits, like the melodies and bridge, aren’t quite enough to push it up with the others.

4. Heaven Can Wait - 10/10
Everything from the opening to the rising bridge and heavenly choir is absolutely perfect. No wonder it’s a popular live number.

5. The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner - 10/10
An absolute gem, featuring some of the band’s best guitar melodies.

6. Stranger In A Strange Land - 9/10
Most of the song is great, but the chorus doesn’t quite push it over the top. The solo is also not as mindblowing as many argue, but it’s still good.

7. Deja Vu - 10/10
Bruce takes a different approach with the verses, but it works and he lets it all rip in that tremendous chorus.

8. Alexander The Great - 10/10
How do you top Rime? Simple: you don’t. For this closing number, Steve wrote what may at first seem like a standard track about a figurehead or history, but stuffed it full of some of the band’s best work as musicians to make it work perfectly. Best song on the album and I hope they play it live.

A grand way to follow up Powerslave and proof that the band wasn’t afraid to evolve.

Rating: 95%
 

Poteitos

Prowler
My ratings:

Caught Somewhere in Time: 10
Wasted Years: 9
Sea of Madness: 7,5
Heaven Can Wait: 7
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner: 8,5
Stranger in a Strange Land: 7,5
Deja-Vu: 8
Alexander the Great: 8

Somewhere in Time - 8,2
 

Randalf

Ancient Mariner
Ah, Somewhere in Time. All-time classic with one of their best-ever album covers and for many still the best album they've ever done. Something that is, arguably more than any other Maiden record, a product of it's time, yet still timeless. Not too many songs from the record have been featured in the live set over time, so the album also has rather strong cult status attached to it. While it's brilliancy is acknowledged and agreed thorough the fanbase, it's superiority is definitely more debatable issue.

There aren't many Maiden album openers as meandering yet still tight as Caught Somewhere in Time. While the vocal lines and Bruce's delivery are good, it is the instrumental work - beautifully outlined by Martin Birch's production; the meandering guitars deliver some brilliant melodies and Nicko gives his kit some serious beating. Wasted Years and Sea of Madness represent the more straightforward direction and are both classics on their own right - Wasted Years more so, since it's definitely one of the bands hits, though not quite there with The Trooper, Run to the Hills and whatnot. It's catchy chorus, beautiful melodies and lyrics that really hit you both on the record and out there in a concert really make the song very special and if one should decide a bunch of songs to close their final concert, Wasted Years would be more than appropriate for that job. Both Wasted Years and Sea of Madness also represent Adrian Smith's huge songwriting contribution on this particular record, along with - likewise a true classic - Stranger in a Strange Land. Of the three, only Wasted Years has received any notable concert presence since the Somewhere on Tour, but Sea of Madness is another song that could work fairly well in a concert too, since it's one of the few songs in the record that doesn't rely quite that heavily on the production and signature sound of the record. That being said, it's the Stranger in a Strange Land which setlist omission might very well be the saddest one, since the guitar solo by Smith would be worth half the ticket price alone.

Wasted Years has been almost a semi-staple setlist pick after the glorious return of Smith and Dickinson, but it was actually Heaven Can Wait that was the Somewhere in Time song to with on every Maiden tour between 1986-1998. It's funny chorus, somewhat light atmosphere and impressive sing-along part in the middle made it a very effective live song, but given it's lenght and structure, there's actually not that much happening. A decent song that has managed to remain as an "almost-classic" thanks to it's huge setlist presence in the past, but we're definitely not talking about their strongest songs from that particular period. Looking at the running order, it's rather good way to close side A of the vinly though!

I've always loved the intro of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, the melody is just pure percetion. The rest of the song doesn't quite live up to it though, but my love for it has been somewhat re-kindled recently. Everything works just fine, but the chorus, as good as it is, doesn't quite exlode to your face the way you'd probably want and overall, the song is rather stuffed yet still not particularly exciting given it's lenght. That is not to say that there's really anything wrong with it either, but here you can sort of see what Bruce meant when he described Somewhere in Time as more of a transitional album before Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, the latter being the proper culmination of the elements that come into play with SIT.

Deja-Vu is a typical "Murray-oddity" of this record and damn good one, actually! The beautiful guitar work and interesting vocal melodies and arrangements carry the song and it's actually very well balanced piece. Alexander the Great is a song that has become sort of a Maiden-meme among the fans, highlighted by it's cult status that the band created by not playing it live and Bruce teasing with it year after another. As a song, it's your typical Steve Harris epic that somehow manages to step into various songwriting pitfalls, whether it's about the lyrics and their pacing or vocal lines and walking it off just fine. It's something that you wouldn't really want to try yourself or recommend to any musician, but Steve just manages to do it time after another. Granted, Alexander the Great is far from being my favourite Maiden songs or even Steve's efforts, but as history-book narration as the lyrics are, the instrumental section is indeed a work of music-gods and while I do prefer various other songs, performances and even setlist fantasies over Alexander the Great in any form, there's just something very, very special in that final "ALEXANDER THE GREAT... HE DIED OFFEVER IN BABYLOOOOON" and I believe there's a part in every Maiden fan that wants to hear Bruce doing it properly live.

So, what are we left with?

Somewhere in Time is a brilliant record on it's own right, but also rather stuffed for it's runtime - which also underlines the adventurous nature of the record though. There's some brilliant musical ideas, absolutely outstanding musicianship and brilliant bunch of quality song that have some "career-highlight" parts from probably all of the band members expect Bruce, who does fairly great job and carries the songs, but isn't quite exceeding any of his previous or upcoming efforts. However, the use of it's brilliant, more "sophisticated" elements and song structure in general doesn't quite reach the same epic yet compact nature that it's successor - in my opinion - manages to do. The world of Somewhere in Time is a very unique package, starting with beautiful cover art and futuristic sound and beautifully roaring synth-empowered guitars. It's a Maiden record that I genuinely love, but at the same time I don't find myself loving and craving it quite as deeply as one or two other Maiden records. A brilliant album that is, in any case.

Somewhere in Time is actually one of the most satisfying and filling Maiden records, for it's a real blast when you listen to it; if one wants some Maiden, Somewhere in Time definitely satisfies that kind of a hunger and leaves you with a happy grin and some shivers, thanks to that brilliant last melodies and vocal lines in Alexander the Great, but I'd say that the ride is just a tad bit bumpy at times... then again, maybe it just adds the flavour?

Previous scores:

Killers: around 7.5
The Number of the Beast:
around 8
Piece of Mind:
around 9 or even above?
Powerslave: Another 9? I just hate 1-10 and how hard it is to properly score these masterpieces.. :D
Somewhere in Time: 9 (?)
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
2019 relisten thoughts on Somewhere In Time...

  • The music is just astounding. Some of their best. The tones, the riffs, the bass playing is all awesome. The songs, however, are some of Steve's most boneheaded attempts and lyric writing and melodic vocal structure. The lack of Bruce's songwriting is felt hard. There's just no cohesion to the vocal lines on any of the Harris-penned tracks and the choruses are just plain repetitive and boring (yes, this coming from the Brave New World fanboy).
  • “Heaven can way-ay-ait!” might be one of the most grating, boring pieces of vocal work in the Maiden catalog. Same goes for the verses which are just rushed and silly sounding. Speaking of silly sounding, the lyrics and vocal melodies in TLOTLDR are trash. Deja-Vu is a great Murray barnburner (minus the pointless intro), but again, the Harris lyrics are quite silly.
  • But again, the music is wonderful. The guitars and riff changes in the title track, TLOTLDR and Alexander are just beautiful. Fluid, heavy, interesting...masterful stuff.
  • Without Adrian Smith this album would be in their top 3 most disjointed recordings ever. The pure completeness and songwriting prowess of Wasted Years and Stranger elevate SIT. Stranger is a Top 10 song with a vibe found in literally no other Maiden song in history. That said, Sea of Madness is a bit of a mess, but mostly because some of the vocal melodies are a bit pedestrian.
  • Speaking of Adrian: his solos are pure gold throughout. Dave's playing is nice, but you could tell that H really hit a creative, compositional peak around these years.
  • Alexander the Great is a musical masterpiece and, again, I want to know who wrote what. It’s credited to only Harris, but are you actually telling me he wrote all those amazing guitar melodies and harmonies that make the song what it is, or did he just write the backing chords underneath? Anyway, stupid lyrics keep it from being a top tier track.
There is something magical about this album and it’s all in the production and mood. The guitar pedal choices are interesting and add nice layers, but unfortunately the songwriting just isn’t there. Bruce’s performance sounds a little forced, as well, which is no shock considering Steve didn’t want to use his material. The sheer power of the instrumentals keep this album from having a truly terrible song, which I guess counts for quite a bit.

New rating - 8.2/10
 

Edington

Let's Get Volatile
Alexander the Great... I want to know who wrote what. It’s credited to only Harris, but are you actually telling me he wrote all those amazing guitar melodies and harmonies that make the song what it is, or did he just write the backing chords underneath?
I don't see why he couldn't have. They're quite a major part of the song so I feel like he'd have credited H or Bruce or whoever if they had written them.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I don't see why he couldn't have. They're quite a major part of the song so I feel like he'd have credited H or Bruce or whoever if they had written them.
He certainly could have, I just think they sound a little more like Adrian or Dave's writing structure than Steve's.
 
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