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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Miracle (2011 Remaster: Deluxe Edition)
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2011
December 1986 - May 1989 was a strange time to be a Queen fan. After being switched onto the band by my brother's purchase of Live Magic I spent the first few months of 1987 collecting the band's back catalogue and then wondering when I would get to experience the joy of buying completely new material for the first time. I knew the band had taken time off before to do other things - 1983 and 1985 were albumless years but the gap between A Kind of Magic and The Miracle was almost interminable to wait through. Eventually May 1989 came and The Miracle made its way onto my stereo for the first time. As wonderful as it was to hear the new album for the first time I also have to admit to feeling a little anti-climactic about the whole thing.

There is a feeling that Queen's 1980's output from The Works onwards featured singles that were the high point of the album and tracks that at best were simply 'fillers'. Hearing The Miracle and looking at it now 22 years later it is a view that holds some truth to it - though The Miracle has a little twist in that it features possibly the best Queen song never to be released as a single - Was It All Worth It - a heavy, semi-autobiographical song asking if all the time and effort put into music and touring was worth it? This and not Breakthru' should have been a single and means that five of the tracks on the album are outstanding whilst the other five are not.

The oustanding are Was It All Worth It, The Miracle (great optimistic lyrics), The Invisible Man (Queen's pop sensibility as its peak), I Want It All (classic, epic rock) and Scandal (my favourite track on the album and it still grates that it did not feature on Greatest Hits III yet crap like Living on my Own did!).

The less good are Party, Khashoggi's Ship, Breakthru' (nice opening a la We Are The Champions giving way to repetitive dirge about making a girl smile), Rain Must Fall (Euro-pop at its worst) and My Baby Does Me (laid back and pedestrian but goes nowhere). Nonetheless the re-mastering of the album is again worth the cost. At times it feels like you are in the studio with the band (if only) and I defend the re-issues on that basis to anyone.

Where this re-issue falls down is the separation of the three original bonus tracks on its 1989 release (Hang On In There, Chinese Torture and The Invisible Man 12" version) from the main CD onto the bonus EP disc. This means we only get four 'new' bonus tracks on this collection and one of them, I Want It All (Single version) features on Greatest Hits II anyway, whilst two of the other three (Stealin' and Hijack My Heart) came out on the single box sets last year. This means the only song worth buying the bonus disc for is the demo version of The Invisible Man, but well worth it in the end it turns out. Taylor sings most of the track with Freddie popping up for an Elvis interlude in the middle. Early versions like this just whet the appetite for a full anthology collection from the band (please QPL and Island pull your finger out on that project!).

Overall then, not a classic Queen album but with enough high points to balance out the low points and if you have never heard the bonus tracks before then it is worth buying on that basis.
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2012
Freddie was already quite ill during the making of this album and the title was a nod to the fact that the band probably never expected to finish it, so much like "Innuendo" or "Made in Heaven" that followed, there are some fillers on it which reflect the best of the output available to them. That said, there were some better 'b' sides from the singles (e.g. "Hijack My Heart") which were mysteriously discarded from the album so you wonder how much material the band did have to juggle with at that point. Good to see some (but not all) of that material collected together here in the 2-disc 'Deluxe Edition'.

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. In the case of the later albums it was always going to be a difficult choice of what to leave off as there are any number of tracks that could have been included when this was the time when remixes, extended versions and instrumentals were so popular and the marketing machine started to kick in with 12" singles, picture discs and alternate single versions a-plenty, especially to exploit the new CD format at at that time.

So, apart from an early demo version of "The Invisible Man" we don't get anything new (unreleased) on this second disc. Instead we just also get two non-album b-sides and an a-side remix (plus three other 'bonus' tracks that were previously included on the original album release anyway). So presumably this is an attempt to gather up all of the additional material that was released at that time? Then it's all the more frustrating to see that we don't even get that as the 12" versions of Breakthru and Scandal are missing from the set.

So, overall, avoid the deluxe version unless you really want to hear an unreleased demo, and I'd judge the actual album as inferior to it's "A Kind of Magic" predecessor and in many ways a better balance of tracks can be found on its successor (Innuendo) but... still very representative of Queen's later output and worth a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2013
What can you say that has not been already said about this band in my opinion the greatest band on the planet, I love this album Freddie's voice is as powerful as ever there is some hard rock like I want it all, was it all worth it, Scandal being a favourite of mine and some lighter tracks like the rain must fall etc Queen have done a great job remastering these albums pity there were not more tracks on the bonus disc, I have bought this album a few times over the years i.e the Japanese remasters etc and I can definitely hear the difference in sound quality- 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2013
Buy this if you like queen if not buy this and you will like queen it's a no brainier...queen rules
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on 18 October 2013
This album is a strange one because all the tracks that were released as singles are excellent, whereas the album tracks (with the exception of Was it all worth it?)are rubbish. But that is only four out of ten tracks so it's still a good album. I Want It All is still a fresh sounding song and I personally prefer the album version.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2011
Queen hadn't put out new material for years. The 'Kind Of Magic' album had an epic, dark sound but was a bit confusing as its songs were tied to films. Then there was the heavily edited 'Live Magic' LP.

'The Miracle' was the first full album since 'The Works' which showed a unified commitment to new songs in their own right (if you forget that 'Keep Passing The Open Windows' was also written for a film).

Queen were said to have returned to heavy rock and the strong lead single 'I Want It All' really sounded like it. Yet the album went on to exhibit the band's devotion to exploring synthesizers.

The album cover is utterly fabulous; kitsch and cool at the same time, which is what this band were all about.

The opening song sounds like Freddie's voice exercises being tracked closely together. 'Khashoggi's Ship' is BARELY a song-- Brian May finds a new sound on his guitar and milks it while Freddie ad libs about an imaginary (or not) party on a boat owned by a notorious arms dealer.

The title track is pretty cheezy but serves up the triple vocals we know and love. 'The Invisible Man' was a surprise when it was heard on the original release date-- and 'Breakthru' provides Disney-like harmonies over a cool, washy set of chords. 'Scandal' sports a wailing riff, which is unfortunately underscored by needless electronics.

When this album was released, thecloser 'Was It All Worth It' sounded like a kiss off to the industry. What we didn't know then was that Mercury was HIV positive, and the band thought this LP could very well have been their last.

Of the extras, 'Hang On In There' is better than some songs which made the album proper. The heavy instrumental 'Chinese Torture' is too short!

Then there's the b-side, 'Stealin''. It's absolutely brilliant from beginning to end. Where else can you hear Freddie conjuring up his best Delta blues voice to exclaim "Baby, let it bleed"...? Sometimes the best Queen tracks ('I Go Crazy') were relegated to b-sides.

The same can't be said for 'Hijack My Heart', which was notable in '89 for hosting the first Taylor lead vocal for several years. It's one of the worst tracks Queen did, and is essential listening for that reason alone.

We get the highly synthesized 12 of 'Invisible Man', but not the long version of 'Breakthru', which is surely lurking out there somewhere. Are May and Taylor hanging onto a few 12 inch versions for a separate release?

The album's not as good as 'The Works' or 'Innuendo'. But it's better than 'Hot Space', and more wholesome than 'A Kind Of Magic'.

So why four stars?

Because the remaster is pretty great. And after all, it's Queen.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2011
I am pinning the following comments to all of the Queen back catalogue (excepting "Flash" which I wont get on cd) as they apply right across the board. I wont comment on the music - others have done so very well. I want to praise the sound.

Modern mastering technology will in most cases demonstrate more noticeable improvements in older recordings. I have now bought and listened to all of the recent Queen reissues and chronologically the benefits of the 2011 remastering lessen as recording technology and technique improved album by album.

The biggest improvement is to the earlier analogue work, which to my ear sound more "Queen" than the digitally recorded stuff - more bite and attack - irrespective of musical direction. My view is that digital recording "rounded" the Queen sound, particularly Brian May's guitar.

However, notwithstanding this there are clear improvements throughout the catalogue, even the later ones which were recorded using digital technology to whatever degree. Music is more open, brighter and fuller in a very revealing, listenable and non-tiring way. Bass and drum parts are now very clear as are the vocals which are expressive warm and very detailed - many more sibilants can now be heard which really brightens up "Queen 2" and "A Night At The Opera" for example where there were a tremendous number of overdubs which saturated the sound in places.

As I said in a previous review of "Greatest Hits", those who have a fair or passing interest in Queen will be happy with earlier issues, but for the enthusiast these remasters really are rewarding listens and well worth investing in. They really are very good indeed.
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on 2 May 2013
The album what i still don't understand. But than again, after 12 great albums, you must have a weird album
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on 26 February 2015
What can I say, it's Queen! Classic quality Queen!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2013
I've been a Queen fan for almost 40 years and have owned every album of theirs at one point or another. And whilst there's some debate as to which one of their albums is best, I would argue that this certainly ranks in the top three.

This album and its content have been reviewed many times so I'm not going to replicate what others have done. I will however pass comment on some other aspects of the offering here.

1) Is the 2011 Digital Remaster worthwhile as it was recorded digitally in the first place?

2) Is the album worth purchasing for the bonus tracks.?

Well the first point is...YES,YES and YES again! The 2011 Digital remaster has polished and cleaned up an already good quality sound from the original 1989 release. I can hear better separation, instruments are clearer, vocals are more dynamic and the whole exercise just screams quality. The difference can be heard on quite modest equipment-you don't need thousands of pounds worth of CD and Amp etc to appreciate the difference there is between it and the original CD release.

And unlike a lot of the other 2011 Remaster series the bonus CD is certainly worth having. It includes the single version of 'I Want it All' and two long lost 'B' sides 'Hijack my Heart' and 'Stealin'. I had heard them via Spotify but never owned them as a physical entity before.

Whilst a lot of the 2011 Digital Remaster series are very disappointing regarding bonus material, this is a worthy exception.

If I was asked about any drawbacks, I would list the cover. Whilst I appreciate the concept was revolutionary for the time, it was always something that made me feel a little sea sick looking at it.

'The Miracle' is IMHO one of Queen's finest works. Whilst there are lots of contenders 'The Miracle' allows all the qualities that made Queen shine through. Rock, pop, even some funky bass lines are there. And of course some incredible arrangements .

It should be noted as the album when the members gave up their rights to copyright their individual input, splitting royalties evenly between each of them. And this has has resulted in them all loosening up

Buy this edition. It is Queen at their best, they're still up for it and having fun.
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