Queen – ‘The Game’ (1980) – Album Review (The Studio Album Series)

We are slap dab in the middle of the Queen Studio Album Series. We are on album #8. We’ve done 7 and have 7 more to go after this one. I can’t believe it is going by so fast. We are also in to a new decade…the 80’s. This was also the time where my musical taste started to develop on my own without input from my siblings. I remember a couple of these songs on the radio so this album is a little special for me, but yet still years away before I bought one on my own. In 1980, I was just starting middle school so had no job and no money.

The band started recording in June/July of 1979 and a few songs were done, but things were brought to a halt because Queen went back out on the road in late 1979 on the Crazy Tour. When that ended, they went back in the studio on February and finished up the album by March 1980. The album came out on June 30, 1980 and was a massive success. The album went to #1 in the US and sold well over 4 million copies in the US alone. There were 5 singles so we have a lot to discuss. The line-up is unchanged as we still have Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Not many bands make it this far without a line-up change and Queen wouldn’t for years and years to come.

The album kicks off with “Play the Game” which was the third single off the album. It didn’t do as well as a couple other singles on the album as it only went to #42 just missing the Top 40. The song is also famous because it is the first song to feature a synthesizer. Queen had notoriously put on their previous albums that they didn’t use synthesizers. People thought that it was a knock against synthesizers, but reality is they wanted to let the world know that all those cools sounds that they made were actually done by guitar. It really wasn’t a knock on that instrument. Anyway, the song was written by Freddie Mercury and it is Queen being Queen. They don’t do anything simple and it has to be huge and grand and that is what this song is. Freddie’s vocal range on this song is insane. It has Freddie on piano and synthesizer for this one with Brian laying down a great solo that was played for the song and not all showboaty. It is a killer opening track.

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My Sunday Song – “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen

For My Sunday Song #229, we are tackling on of the band’s biggest hits, “Another One Bites the Dust” off the Queen album “The Game” from 1980. The song was a departure for Queen as it was more funk and disco but it seems everything they do is a departure as they don’t follow anyone’s rules. The song went to #1 in the US and several other countries and sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

The song was written by bass player, John Deacon, and let me tell you there is some bass in it. The song was inspired by the song “Good Times” by the Chic and resulted from John hanging out a lot with that band as he was a big fan. Now, Roger Taylor wasn’t a big fan of the song, but Freddie loved it and worked hard to get everyone’s buy-in on the song and thanks to Freddie it was put on the album and the rest is history.

The song has so many effects on it, but none are with a synthesizer. It is all bass, guitar, piano and drums. Deacon played all the instruments except Roger’s drum loop. Brian May was on it as he added numerous sound effects using his guitar and a harmonizer. Some of the effects were the tape played backwards at different speeds. As a result of this effect, Christian groups protested the band saying the band was using backmasking to hide messages. They thought the band was promoting the use of marijuana.

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