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4.6 out of 5 stars87
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 19 November 2003
After the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink production of "A Night At The Opera" and its follow-up "A Day At The Races", where on Earth could Queen go? Somewhere completely different is the answer this album provides.
Despite opening with two of Queen's most famous anthems (the second of which, "We Are The Champions", is possibly their most classically Queen-sounding single alongside "Bohemian Rhapsody"), this album is largely free of the bombastic, grandiloquent production which had become their trademark. This was 1977, the year of punk, and this album seems to represent Queen acknowledging the shift in public tastes to embrace a more stripped down, fuzzier, dirtier sound. Their equivalent of recording in the garage, perhaps - albeit a garage decorated with Persian rugs, chandeliers, marble cherubs, and fountains spewing champagne.
"Sheer Heart Attack" is the most prominent example of this. Fast, energetic and intense (and a staple encore in their live set for a few years subsequently), this is Queen letting off steam in a way most unusual for them on record.
The tender and melancholy "All Dead, All Dead", written and sung by Brian May, immediately switches the mood, and is one of only three songs containing his marque complex multitracked guitar work.
John Deacon's "Spread Your Wings" is simply beautiful; a narrative lyric about an unhappy young man's resolve to escape the confines of his small-town existence, dead-end job under a sneering boss and "leave his dead life behind". The sparse production adds an extra dimension to the song - I could be a little over-analytical here and suggest that it emphasises the emptiness of the protagonist's life and the desperation of his plight, but that would be a bit pretentious. Oh well, I've done it now anyway.
"Get Down, Make Love" is something of an oddity. Stark production rules again, bringing Roger Taylor's heavy drums to the fore alongside Freddie Mercury's lusty vocals, until the guitar-led chorus. Then we get to the middle section - a cornucopia of very strange noises indeed. A variety of effects are applied to Mercury's vocal gymnastics, and a listener unfamiliar with Queen's "No Synthesisers" ethic during the 70's could be forgiven for thinking they are hearing one here. It's actually May's guitar, played through something very technical and clever (at the time) that I know absolutely nothing about, other than that it makes his guitar sound very other-worldly and not at all like a guitar...
"Sleeping On The Sidewalk" is a one-take almost-live blues song. In many ways it sums up the overall feel of the album - the sound of a real band playing together and enjoying themselves. According to May, the first take was recorded totally live as a guide, but subsequent attempts to capture it lacked the "lazy" feel of the original, so what we hear on the album is for the most part assembled from the original take.
"Who Needs You", another Deacon composition, is again a simple arrangement simply produced, before "It's Late" returns us to the bleary, muddy, dirty sound explored earlier on the album. This is all-out hairy rock with a great stadium chorus, overblown but not over-produced and an energising, invigorating listen. Turn it right up.
One would think that this would be the logical big finish for the album, but Queen instead opt for a more subdued ending with Mercury's "My Melancholy Blues", a comment on his new-found glamourous lifestyle and its downside. It's actually quite a dark piece - Mercury reminds us here that despite his wealth and the allure attached to being a rock star, he's still a human being with human frailties. Even rock stars get lonely.
This album successfully bridges the gap between the bombast and operatics concluded on "A Day At The Races" the previous year, and the more poppy sound explored on "Jazz" the following year. Always prepared for a challenge and never satisfied to simply stick to one formula, Queen would continue to explore new sounds throughout their career. "News Of The World" is a fine example, and represents one of several significant and refreshing moves forward.
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on 26 July 2000
Coming on the back of Queen's biggest albums of the time - A Night at the Opera and A day at the Races - this record was a marked change in style, both songwriting and production wise. Whereas those two records were dripping with overdubs and high production values, News of the World revelled in more straight forward drum/bass & guitar numbers such as We Will Rock You, It's Late and the lovely blues pastiche Sleeping On The Sidewalk. That's not to say the big numbers aren't there - We Are The Champions is a stadium classic and how Spread Your Wings didn't make it on to any of the Greatest Hits albums remains a mystery. But there are less celebrated gems here like Brian May's All Dead All Dead and, best of all, Freddie's most overlooked song, My Melancholy Blues - a beautiful jazz lounge number that Queen pull off perfectly. A favourite with many Queen fans, this album showed all four members making significant contributions throughout, and marked a turning phase with its more democratic approach to songwriting. From its great sci-fi magazine parody sleeve to the cracking songs within, this is a terrific album. Well worth a listen - and for any Queen fans that don't have it - for shame!
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on 6 May 2001
This is a truly fantastic album, the 1977 follow up of "A Day at the Races". Whether you're a Queen fan or not, you'll know at least two of these songs as the album opens with Brian's "We Will Rock You" and Freddie's "We Are The Champions". So if you've never bought any Queen before, this is a good place to start! Personally, my favourite tracks are "Spread Your Wings", the epic and emotional "It's Late" and "My Melancholy Blues", a spectacular and powerful blues-style masterpiece. As I was brought up on Queen, I love this album, there isn't a single track on it I don't like but I think anyone would think this, life long fan or not! I highly recommend it to anyone, young or old! I'm only 17 but still think it's fantastic, Queen still have, (and always will have!) that special something, whether it's in Brain's outstanding talents, Freddie's beautiful voice or just the combination of the right people at the right time. So if you're young, I still recommend you buy this - you won't regret it, they're fantastic!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 May 2007
When Queen released this album Punk and New Wave were about to change the music that a generation of teenagers bought. So from the beginning this album was unlikely to be received as well as previous Queen albums - and it wasn't.

Certainly there is nothing on this album that matches Bohemian Rhapsody from two years earlier. However, I prefer this album to "A Night At The Opera" over all. For me the anthemic qualities of "We are the Champions" and "Spread Your Wings", together with the stylistic variety of "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" (Rhythm and Blues) and "My Melancholy Blues" (Piano Ballad) is what made Queen such a great band. Sometimes its the little things on this album that I really like, such as Roger Taylors fabulous drum break at 2:48 near the end of "Sheer Heart Attack". If that isn't enough have a listen "Its Late". As the Amazon reviewer said this is the best track on the album. If I had to pick only one Queen track this would be it. Its over 6 minutes long but it has everything you'd expect from a great Queen track. The only quick way I can think of describing it is that they should have performed it at Live Aid - it would have fitted perfectly into the great set they did there.

There are a few weak tracks in my view, hence only 4 stars, but overall this a better album than its given credit for. Any Queen fan will know this already, but for anybodyelse, apart from a compilation this is as a good a place to start if you're buying Queen for the first time.
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VINE VOICEon 26 March 2002
This album marked the end of "early Queen" (in my opinion) before the raw, hard edge gave way to a more polished and studio-based feel with later albums.
Hardly a bad track on it (although "Fight from the Inside" and "Get Down, Make Love" won't be to everyone's taste) the highlights are certainly the delightful Deacon classic "Spread Your Wings" and the energetic, rocky "It's Late" in which Brian and Roger really let go!
In being drawn to the more obvious tracks ("Champions" and "Rock You") don't overlook the hidden gems including "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" and "All Dead, All Dead" (both with Brian on lead vocals) and Freddie's "My Melancholy Blues" which ends the album on a poignant note as Freddie opens his heart to us at the piano!
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on 29 August 2011
Without a doubt one of Queen's finest efforts. From the behemoth anthems at the beginning to the simple subtlety of the final track its full of innovation, changes of style, mood and tempo. Some of their best album tracks are on here, It's Late, Fight from the Inside and Sheer Heart Attack. Then there is also the wonderful Spread Your Wings which for some strange reason was never a hit despite its single release. On this album Queen (mostly) put the multi tracking and vaudeville of the previous two albums to one side for a harder grittier sound. My only criticism....Get Down Make Love. Some times I love it other times I hate it but there is always a track like this on Queen albums. Enjoyed hearing the bonus cd especially Feeling's Feeling's but these bonus cd's are a wee bit of a let down and you get the feeling that there is better stuff being held back. The remastering is superb and the band have never sounded better but is the bonus cd worth the few pounds extra. Leave that up to you!
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2012
DISC 1 (The Album)
This album marked the end of 'early Queen' (in my opinion) before the raw, hard edge gave way to a more polished and studio-based feel with later albums. Hardly a bad track on it (although "Fight from the Inside" and "Get Down, Make Love" won't be to everyone's taste) the highlights are certainly the delightful Deacon classic "Spread Your Wings" and the energetic, rocky "It's Late" in which Brian and Roger really let go! In being drawn to the more obvious tracks ("We are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You") don't overlook the hidden gems including "Sleeping on the Sidewalk" and "All Dead, All Dead" (both with Brian on lead vocals) and Freddie's "My Melancholy Blues" which ends the album on a poignant note as Freddie opens his heart to us at the piano!

DISC 2 (The EP)
The purpose of the 2011 'Deluxe Editions' (putting all cynical marketing, profit-making, blood-from-a-stone comments to one side) is to give a bonus 'EP' of rare or previously unreleased tracks which compliment the original album. There are perhaps a few tracks that would have improved the completeness of the bonus EP here. For example we get two BBC session tracks from October 1977 ("Spread Your Wings" and "My Melancholy Blues") but we don't get the others (a brilliant "It's Late / "Get Down Make Love" Medley and the "We Will Rock You" slow and fast versions). A couple more live versions of tracks such as "We are the Champions" or "Sheer Heart Attack" would also have been an improvement. The inclusion of "Feelings Feelings", a never before released track, is certainly welcome though!
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on 23 February 2005
To give such a good album only 4 stars is probably a travesty in itself, but there again we are judging by previously set "Queen Standards" here and coming on the back of "Night at the Opera" and "Day at the Races" this album was always going to be judged a little harshly.
It really is a fine album in its own right though, 11 wonderful tracks, each one as diverse as the next, covering a multitude of styles and carrying them all off in unique Queen style.
There really isn't much to say about the double-whammy opening of "We will rock you" and "We are the champions" that hasn't been said before, but it's worthwhile listening to the original studio sound of "We will rock you" to remind you of the much more muted and even subtle tone it has when compared to the much more well known raucous stadium stomp it usually gets. "Sheer Heart Attack" has been quoted as Queen's attempt at punk, it certainly is a full-on, far heavier sound than anything that had come before but whether it is punk or thrash metal before its time can be debated by the music experts.
Other highlights include the beautiful John Deacon offering of "Spread your Wings". His finest song? Well I'll let others decide that, but it certainly isn't recognised as highly as it should be. Brian's rockabilly "Sleeping on the sidewalk" is great fun as it the other Deacon song, the Latin cha-cha of "Who needs you".
The finale of the album is two songs, which again by all the rules of music shouldn't fit together yet somehow they are simply perfect. Brain let's rip in the rock saga of "It's Late" including its unique "Scenes" making it a real rock-opera and then Freddie cools us all down with the late-night cabaret of "My Melancholy Blues", all dusky tinkling piano, brushed drums and smoky atmospheres.
Excellent stuff!
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on 11 June 2006
I'm a huge fan of 70s Queen, and despite the fact that this album was recorded in the late 70s, I was unsure of how it would be (as Queen's music tended to get more pop orientated into the 80s). Despite my initial suspicions about this album, I was given it as a present at Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it from track one.

A fantastic mixture of rock, and the more Freddie trademark sound; this album isn't one of their best but definitely ranks pretty highly in my collection. The album consists of punchy anthems (We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions), more gentle and emotional ballad type tracks (All Dead, All Dead/My Melancholy Blues), Mercury's personal favourite style that later morphed into Hot Space type music (Get Down, Make Love), and remaining tracks that are generally pleasing to listen to. I personally listen to tracks 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11 the most; however there is nothing wrong with the other songs on the album - I just think you need to be in a certain mood to enjoy them properly. Then again, every Queen fans tastes are different.

News Of The World definitely has some of the most underrated Queen songs ever written featuring on it, so it's a definite listen for those wishing to hear some of the less publicised songs.
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on 7 July 2011
OK, while I love this album and it's been one I've looked forward to most in the reissue campaign, WHY did the not include the BBC 77 version of It's Late on the bonus disc? They took Spread Your Wings (no complaints there) and Melancholy Blues (like it but not as much as what's missing). I've got a copy of the Complete BBC Sessions and they do a killer version of It's Late so it does exist. Other than that, the reissue and bonus material are on par with the rest of the reissues - I just feel they shorted the fans on a rare track as It's Late isn't something you see on any official live release.
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