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Some versions of Sonata Arctica’s debut album contain an eleventh track, “Mary Lou.” For band enthusiasts, the only other way to acquire this song (besides downloading it) is as the B-side to the band’s single “Unopened.” If you are such an enthusiast, than I can recommend this as worth tracking down. Otherwise…..don’t bother.
The single opens with, of course, the track “Unopened,” a mid-paced number that appears on their debut album. While it’s not the best song off of there, it could easily be considered the catchiest, featuring lots of cool harpsichord synth (especially the intro) and lots of trademark Tony Kakko vocal hooks. The lyrics are a bit cheesy (it’s about an unopened love letter) but the song is catchy enough that it’s not an issue. The synth melody starting at 2:07 is pretty sweet as well.
The real reason to bother tracking this thing down is “Mary Lou.” Leading off with a killer opening riff (seasoned with a flanger effect), the song would have fit very well into the mid-paced category songs off of Ecliptica. The story here is a bit sappy for even power metal, but again, Kakko’s vocals make it worthwhile. The solo here is pretty nice too, as well as that sudden stop in the chorus immediately after the solo. Another great song by a great band.
But again, if you aren’t a fan of them, this is valueless to you. SA faithful, however, would do well to have the killer B-side in their collection.