Here at 2 Loud 2 Old Music, we went through and reviewed all the Studio Albums for the band Queen. And to do this, we are used the 40th Anniversary 2011 Remastered CDs as our source as I picked up the 3 Volume Box Set for Christmas 2020. And with any good series, we will start with their debut album and work our way through all the studio albums in chronological order. There were 15 albums and all with the same band members of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. How many bands can say that? Not many.
What was great about going through them all in order is that you see how the band evolved over time and how much they experimented whether it was successful or not. You see the highs and the lows, where the band hit its groove and where they were wandering around lost. They did move soundtracks, the rocked out, they had fantasy songs, rockabilly, disco and even metal. They did it all. Now let’s go through and see where they ranked worst to first.
THE WORST – ‘MADE IN HEAVEN’ (1995):
The album did not have a cohesive feel and it shouldn’t since it wasn’t really written as an album. It was a last ditch effort to pull as many Freddie songs together as they could for one final release. And I don’t think it is one they should’ve done mainly because all these songs aren’t really up to the Queen Standard in my book. There were way too many ballads, they used two songs that were already released as Freddie solo songs and I don’t think the material was all that great to begin with. I feel they should’ve left well enough alone as I think ‘Innuendo’ was a great way to go out, but what do I know. My Overall Score is a 2.0 Out of 5.0 Stars. There were a few tracks worth having, but overall not enough to make this a must have album.
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.
For Christmas of 2020, I received the ‘Queen 40’ Box Set, all three volumes. You would think, John, you have most of these on vinyl, why do you want the CDs? Well, easy…these are all remastered CDs from 2011 and each album includes an extra CD E.P. with anywhere from 5 to 7 Bonus tracks that I don’t have on the vinyl. So, that is why I wanted this set.
Let me tell you this set is great. They broke it up in to 3 separate volumes with each Volume getting 5 Studio albums so for the cost conscious person, you can buy one volume at a time or if money doesn’t matter, get all 3. Now that I have all 3 Volumes, with all 15 Studio albums, I am going to clue you in on something. Each Studio album will get its own, detailed review. My goal is to review all these albums by the end of 2021 and then do an Album Ranking of what I thought was the worst all the way to the one that is first on the list. It is going to be an exciting time at 2 Loud 2 Old Music for 2021!!
Let’s go through each Volume starting, of course, with Volume 1…
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.
For My Sunday Song #225, we are going to dive in to the Queen classic, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” off the band’s 1980 album, ‘The Game’. The song went all the way to #1 on the US Billboard Charts and sold over a million copies making it a platinum selling single. Not too shabby.
The song was written by Freddie Mercury and was a tribute to none other than Elvis Presley. Freddie wrote the song in only about 10 minutes and he wrote it playing a guitar. Freddie also plays rhythm guitar on the song as well which if I’m not mistaken is the first time he had ever done that for one of the band’s songs. In a Melody Maker interview back in 1980, Freddie had this to say about the song…
‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can’t play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It’s a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn’t work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think. (Freddie Mercury)
I would say he did. The song is so simple, yet it is amazingly catchy and bores into your brain where it lives like a welcomed memory. It is almost magical. Once you here those first few notes, you know you are in for a good time as it has that old school rockabilly rhythm that you can’t wait to get to the sock hop and dance your ass off.
Welcome to March and the new releases are heating up. We have a ton this week so there has to be something you like in there, I am sure. If not, I guarantee nothing!! There is rock, metal, pop, country, rap, classic rock…what else could you need? Seriously, what else?? Let me know what I missed and what floats your boat. For me, the two are highlighted in Blue. Have a great weekend!!
Harem Scarem – Change the World – (Frontiers Records): Yes, Harem Scarem are still going strong with a new release. This is their 16th studio album…wow!! If you know the band, you know what you are getting. Solid, melodic rock and only the way they know how. That is all you want from these guys. Give it a try.
Allen / Olzon – Worlds Apart – (Frontiers Records): You get Symphony X’s and Adrenaline Mob’s Russel Allen and Nightwish’s Anette Olzon teaming up for an album. Does it get much better than that? Probably, but for now, I will give it a try as it is two great voices of metal together. Deserves a listen.