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Helloween was flirting with the lowest point of their career when they penned this rather unique diamond in the rough. I’ve often thought of it as being the natural confusion that occurs when a principle songwriter leaves the fold, in this particular case Kai Hansen, that the other composers make an attempt to fill the vacuum left behind. I can’t help but see a little bit of an attempt on Kiske’s part to try and fill Kai’s shoes as this song’s main riff is quite similar to various melodic anthems the latter had contributed to the 2 Keepers albums.
Naturally the subject matter of this single, the music video that followed it, and the various oddities observed on the album art of this single and the album it was taken from are noteworthy. As best I can tell Michael Kiske had taken the helm at this point and opted to steer Helloween into more of a socially conscious direction, something which had been present since its inception but not something that defined their direction. The resulting satirical image of a generation of youths parading around with egg on their faces, acting as their eyes no less, obviously confused fans that were taken in by the fantasy driven albums preceding this one, myself included. Although ultimately a botched attempt at achieving a more mature direction (whatever that is supposed to be), this song is quite good and enjoys occasional play when I’m in the mood for Helloween.
The Elvis Presley cover has some obvious novelty value, particularly Kiske’s unusually high vocal interpretation and the rather loud and raucous guitar sound. The lead on here is uncharacteristically fast considering the original version, but it does make for an interesting listening experience, provided you liked the song to begin with and can tolerate a twisted version of it. “Shit and Lobster” is another happy mid-tempo anthem that is somewhat similar to “Living Ain’t No Crime”, albeit the lyrics follow the same spirit of socially conscious commentary that the A-side exhibits.
If you have yet to pick up this singe and are considering getting the box set that came out last year, this particular single does not devalue the purchase at all. Unlike the original releases it contains both the second B-side (Shit and Lobster) as well as the interview with the band, which provides some valuable insight into how things were going at the time. Michael Kiske was basically running the show, although Weikath contributes a lot to the spoken accounts found on here. So save up those hard earned dollars and pick up the box set if you are a rarity hound like me and can’t live without having the entire back catalog of Helloween on your CD shelf.
1. Kids of the Century - One of the few highlights from the Pink Bubbles Go Ape album and the obvious choice for a single.
2. Blue Suede Shoes - A decent but forgettable cover of the classic Elvis song. This is a good display of Michael Kiske's incredible vocal range, but otherwise it seems like unnecessary filler.
3. Shit and Lobster - Easily rivals most of the tracks on Pink Bubbles Go Ape. I'm not sure why it wasn't included on the album because it definitely would've been an improvement.
Overall, this is a great single. I would have rated it higher if the two best songs weren't available elsewhere. "Kids of the Century" is available on Pink Bubbles Go Ape as well as the Pumpkin Box box set, and "Shit and Lobster" was included on Treasure Chest so if you have both those two tracks already you needn't bother with this. "Blue Suede Shoes" is not worth it at all unless you're a die-hard Helloween fan who must have every song they ever recorded. On the other hand, if you don't want to buy the Treasure Chest collection, this is definitely worth tracking down just for "Shit and Lobster".