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The end of an era
on 13 February 2013
This is for me the last 'proper' Queen album. As most fans know, this is the first album to acknowledge the use of a synthesiser, although to be fair it is a fairly gentle introduction. Unlike subsequent albums, which were submerged by them, and the rather shiney production values of the time.
Anyway, as I say the synth largely takes a back seat throughout the usual mix of styles, and it has to be said that as usual, the mix of styles produced mixed results. I will assume that 'Another One Bites the Dust' and 'Crazy Little Thing called Love' need no introduction. So what of the 'filler'? Well, I'm not a ballad man, but I have to say 'Play the Game' and 'Save Me' are the best Queen ever did, being sufficiently rocked up to raise them above Queen's usual tales of heartbreak and woe. My standout track though, is 'Dragon Attack', a song which I believe has never got the praise it deserves. I've seen it described as a disco track before. Hmm. It does have a funky, laid back bassline, but the barrage of stinging guitar that May unleashes after the 2nd chorus until the end of the song suggests to me it is one of Queen's finest rock songs. I mean, you couldnt imagine the Bee Gees singing this one.
So, now I have to be a bit controversial. There is some dross on here. Mostly from the pens of John Deacon and Roger Taylor. Fantastic musicians they may be (Deacon especially) but not the strongest songwriters for me I'm afraid. Yes, I know they wrote some of Queen's biggest hits between them, but they also wrote most of the worst of the rest. The worst example here is 'Coming Soon', one of their weakest ever and would be on the Queen 'worst of'. (Actually, the way Roger and Brian are knocking out various incarnations of the back catalogue, they're probably compiling it even as we speak). Stick 'Rock it' and 'Need your Loving Tonight' on there too please lads. They do try to be upbeat rocking type songs, but come off rather limp, almost corny. 'Dont Try Suicide' isnt Freddie Mercury's finest moment either. Another bass led song with a vaguely Beatles like chorus, the rather iffy lyrics half heartedly plead with someone not to top themselves. For me, its not a comfortable listen. Which leaves Sail Away Sweet Sister, Brian May's guitar lashed semi ballad. A decent enough tune with Brian's typically earnest musings. You have to hand it to him, when he sings it, he means it.
Oh, and one totally irrelevant point that shouldn't influence your choice in buying this album. This gets my vote for Queen's worst album cover. Should have lost those shades, Brian.