Youthanasia

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Youthanasia
Studio album by Megadeth
Released November 1, 1994 (1994-11-01)
Recorded 1994 in Phoenix, Arizona
Genre Heavy metal
Length 49:57
Label Capitol
Producer Max Norman, Dave Mustaine
Megadeth chronology
  • Youthanasia
  • (1994)

Youthanasia is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on November 1, 1994 through Capitol Records. The album is not a large stylistic departure from the band's earlier recordings; however it marked the continuing evolution of Megadeth, following the footsteps of the previous album Countdown to Extinction (1992). The album's title is a play on words, implying that society is euthanizing its youth. The cover art features an elderly woman hanging babies by their feet on a seemingly endless clothesline; the artwork concept was directly inspired from a line of the title track.

Youthanasia received positive reviews upon its release. It was commercially successful, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart, and was certified platinum for shipping one million copies in the United States—a distinction achieved in 1995. A remixed and remastered edition featuring several bonus tracks and detailed liner notes was reissued on July 27, 2004.

Background and recording[edit]

Megadeth's previous studio release, Countdown to Extinction, became the band's biggest commercial accomplishment, entering the Billboard 200 at number two and eventually becoming double platinum. As a result, they continually sold out arenas across North America, in addition to developing a strong following overseas. With the next album, Youthanasia, the band moved towards a more mainstream sound.[1]

It was a time of problems and conflicts for Megadeth, that in every two weeks or so, according to frontman Dave Mustaine, there were "outrageous emotional interventions" in order to make the group a democracy. Many band meetings during this period concerned Mustaine's creative control over a "successful formula", so that the rest of the band could better exercise their creativity.[2] Another problem was the indecision on where the recording would take place. Mustaine did not want to record in Los Angeles, so it was eventually decided to record in Phoenix, since the majority of the band resided in Arizona.[3] The sessions for the album initially began in Phase Four Studios in March 1994, but were left due to problems and the band decided to find another studio.[2] Producer Max Norman suggested that they build a new self-dedicated studio. Talking about the recording process, Mustaine said that Youthanasia was written solely in the studio. "We weren't playing any old, cataloged material. None of the past really influenced the new record."[4] He mentioned that he gave "more freedom" to the other members and called the album "very much a total band effort".[5]

Artwork and release[edit]

Dave Mustaine later credited the entire line-up for writing Youthanasia as a tribute to the band's success at the time.

The cover art features an elderly woman hanging babies by their feet on a seemingly endless clothesline. According to bassist David Ellefson, the artwork concept was directly inspired from a line of the title track. He explained that the title track "was probably the strongest representation of how we feel about the young people who listen to our music and what their future holds for them. It's like you have a choice, you can become proactive or you can choose 'Youthanasia'."[6] The title is a portmanteau of the words "youth" and "euthanasia". Mustaine has stated that the idea for the title stems from hearing about Jack Kevorkian, as well as the declining state of well-being of young people, specifically referring to issues like drugs, crime and violence, and a lack of parenting.[3]

The album was released on November 1, 1994 through Capitol Records.[7] It was commercially successful, debuting and peaking at number 4 on the Billboard 200, with 143,000 units sold in its first week.[8] That was slightly below the peak position of its predecessor, which hit number two in 1992.[9] Several weeks after its release, the record was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping one million copies in the United States.[10] The album also managed to enter into the top 10 in the United Kingdom[11] and some other European countries as well.[12] It eventually received a platinum certification from Music Canada and a silver award from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 100,000 and 60,000 copies, respectively.[13][14] A remixed and remastered edition featuring several bonus tracks and detailed liner notes was reissued on July 27, 2004.[15]

Three singles were released from Youthanasia: "Reckoning Day", "Train of Consequences" and "A Tout le Monde".[16] The latter would later be re-recorded with Lacuna Coil vocalist Cristina Scabbia under the title "À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)". This version was also released as a single, and included on United Abominations (2007).[17] Both "Train of Consequences" and "A Tout le Monde" charted on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[9]

Musical style[edit]

Youthanasia was not a large stylistic departure from the band's earlier recordings. According to Billboard, from the drumbeat opening of "Addicted to Chaos" to the precise instrumentation of "Train of Consequences", Megadeth delivered "trademark aggressive rage 'n' roll to powerful effect". Billboard noted that even the slower songs such as "A Tout le Monde" were tending towards "lusty explosion".[18] Authors Pete Prown and Harvey P. Newquist opined that lyrically, Youthanasia contained more thematic variations from Megadeth. They wrote that the record was musically diverse, from the "slow-tempo acoustic lines" of "A Tout le Monde" to the "breakneck riffing" of "Train of Consequences" and "Family Tree".[19] Q found that Megadeth's "trademark crunchy riffs, thundering drums and bitter vocals" were still present on the album, with the lyrics being more introspective.[20]

It's been called a thrash album, it's been called a rock album, and it's even been called an alternative album. To me it can only be called a Megadeth album. That should be enough.

Dave Mustaine, on the album's genre[5]

Mike Stagno said that Youthanasia features "a more traditional type of metal". He explained that even though the music on a number of tracks remains quite heavy, it was obvious that the thrash metal is "very scarce" on this record.[21] Stephen Thomas Erlewine agreed that Megadeth have abandoned some of the more experimental, progressive elements in their music.[7] Similarly, Chris Ayers of Exclaim! felt that with Youthanasia, the band "eroded their brilliant thrash to mid-paced chug".[22] According to the band's official website, "Youthanasia marked the continuing evolution of Megadeth, following the footsteps of their previous album."[16] Speaking about the stylistic direction of the album, guitarist Marty Friedman stated: "We pretty much stick to our guns. It's not like we're gonna change our next album to try and follow the trend. We don't really change with the times."[23]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly B−[24]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[25]
Metal Forces 7.5/10[26]
Q 4/5 stars[20]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[27]
Sputnikmusic 4/5[21]

The album received positive reviews upon its release. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, reviewing the album for Allmusic, commented that, compared to Countdown to Extinction the album lacks focus. However, Erlewine suggested that the album's production quality made up for that. He also commented favorably on "Train of Consequences", calling out its "jackhammer riffs".[7] Mike Stagno of Sputnikmusic reviewed the album positively. Though noting that the album, like its predecessor, was a distinct move away from the sound heard on 1990's Rust in Peace, Stagno suggested that the lack of a fast-tempo is made up for by the catchiness of the tracks.[21]

In a contemporary review, Q magazine wrote that Youthanasia has "greater depth and breadth than its predecessors".[20] Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly, gave a brief review of the album saying that Youthanasia would "impress, but not impact."[24] Neil Arnold of Metal Forces named the record "the last true Megadeth opus before the mid-to-late 90s slump". He further said that the album "pales" in comparison to the previous records, but still keeps the band in their element.[26] Paul Corio, in a retrospective review for Rolling Stone, wrote that the album features "metal-machine music" that is "calibrated to kill". He highlighted "Elysian Fields" and "Victory" as examples of Mustaine in his prime.[28] Despite the outcry of some fans, Pete Prown called Youthanasia "more than worthy follow-up" to Countdown to Extinction.[19]

Touring and aftermath[edit]

Megadeth toured heavily in support of Youthanasia. They started the tour in November 1994, with live performances in South America.[29] The tour continued in 1995, with a number of opening acts such as Korn, Flotsam and Jetsam and Fear Factory.[30] During this period Megadeth also visited Europe, where they stayed for eight weeks. Ellefson shared his impressions from performing in front of European fans: "So far, the audiences have been really good and it seems to me that heavy metal and especially Megadeth are very much at the forefront of music in Europe. It seems like the attendance is better than it has ever been".[4] The worldwide tour ended in September 1995, with the band performing at Monsters Of Rock in South America with Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper as the headliners.[29]

In the middle of 1995, the band underwent changes on the business side. Manager Ron Lafitte was hired by EMI Records and essentially disbanded his management company. Megadeth later signed with ESP Management and hired Bud Prager, a previous manager of Foreigner and Bad Company, to be the band's new creative manager. As with Max Norman before him, Prager would go on to be highly influential in shaping the direction of the band.[31] In an interview for Hard Rock Examiner, Mustaine revealed that there is a possibility that Megadeth are going to perform the album in its entirety in 2014, honoring the 20-year anniversary of the record's release.[32]

Track listing[edit]

All music and lyrics composed by Dave Mustaine, except where noted.[33][†]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Reckoning Day"   Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson Mustaine, Marty Friedman 4:34
2. "Train of Consequences"       3:26
3. "Addicted to Chaos"       5:26
4. "A Tout le Monde"       4:28
5. "Elysian Fields"   Mustaine, Ellefson   4:03
6. "The Killing Road"       3:57
7. "Blood of Heroes"       3:57
8. "Family Tree"     Mustaine, Ellefson, Nick Menza 4:07
9. "Youthanasia"       4:09
10. "I Thought I Knew It All"     Mustaine, Friedman, Ellefson, Menza 3:44
11. "Black Curtains"     Mustaine, Friedman 3:39
12. "Victory"       4:27
Total length:
49:57

^ † On the 2004 reissue of the album, Dave Mustaine credits all songs to Ellefson/Friedman/Menza/Mustaine[2]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[2][33]

Megadeth
Additional musicians
  • Jimmie Wood – harmonica on "Train of Consequences" and "Elysian Fields"
Production
2004 remix and remaster
  • Produced by Dave Mustaine
  • Mixed by Ralph Patlan and Dave Mustaine
  • Engineered by Ralph Patlan with Lance Dean
  • Edited by Lance Dean and Scott "Sarge" Harrison with Bo Caldwell
  • Mastered by Tom Baker

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[13] Platinum 100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[37] Gold 20,000[37]
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[10] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Megadeth - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Youthanasia liner notes (2004 remaster). Capitol Records. 2004. pp. 2, 24–25. 
  3. ^ a b Rene, Sheila. ""Sodom and Gomorra" - 1995 Dave Mustaine interview archived at The Realms of Deth". Rockmetal.pl. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Megadeth Conquers Globe". Megadeth CyberArmy. Rockmetal.art.pl. 1995. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Merkle, P.J. (May 1995). "Megadeth: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered". Hit Parader. Rockmetal.art.pl. Retrieved September 16, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Megadeth Trash Pantera". MTV. November 4, 2002. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Youthanasia - Megadeth". AllMusic. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ Caulfield, Keith (June 12, 2013). "Queens Of The Stone Age Get First No. 1 Album On Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Megadeth - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "RIAA Gold and Platinum Database Search". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 24, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c "Chart Stats - Megadeth". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h "Megadeth - Youthanasia". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Canadian album certifications – Megadeth – Youthanasia". Music Canada. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "BPI Certifications and Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Megadeth: Complete Reissue Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. July 5, 2004. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Youthanasia (1994)". Megadeth.com. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Megadeth: "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)" Video Posted Online". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. April 19, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  18. ^ Verna, Paul; Cronin, Peter (November 26, 1994). "Album Reviews". Billboard: 100. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Prown, Pete; Newquist, Harvey P. (November 26, 1994). Legends of Rock Guitar: The Essential Reference of Rock's Greatest Guitarists. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 227. ISBN 0-7935-4042-9. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c "Megadeth - Youthanasia CD Album". Q. CD Universe. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c Stagno, Mike (November 15, 2006). "Megadeth - Youthanasia (staff reviews)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  22. ^ Ayers, Chris (March 2005). "Megadeth: Remixed and Remastered Series". Exclaim!. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  23. ^ James, Gary. "Marty Friedman - Megadeth". Famous Interview.com. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Sinclair, Tom (November 4, 1994). "Music Review: "Youthanasia Review"". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  25. ^ Masuo, Sandy (October 30, 1994). "In Brief: *** Megadeth, "Youthanasia," Capitol.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Arnold, Neil. "Megadeth: Youthanasia". Metal Forces. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  27. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 534. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  28. ^ Corio, Paul (December 29, 1994). "Megadeth - Youthanasia: Album Review". Rolling Stone: 173. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b "History". Megadeth.com. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  30. ^ "The Killing Road - A History Of Megadeth's Opening Acts". Roadrunner Records. February 8, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Megadeth Mainman Comments On Former Co-Manager's Passing". Blabbermouth.net. December 26, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  32. ^ Levin, Elliot (October 3, 2013). "Mustaine Says There Is A "Very Big Chance" Megadeth Will Perform Entire Youthanasia Album". Examiner.com. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b Youthanasia liner notes (1994 release). Capitol Records. 1994. pp. 2, 5, 7–8, 11–12, 14, 16, 18–20. 
  34. ^ "Top 100 Albums" (DjVu). RPM (Library and Archives Canada) 60 (17). November 14, 1994. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Megadeth / Longplay" (in German). PhonoNet. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  36. ^ "メガデス-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  37. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:

External links[edit]