Customer Review

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was It Made In Heaven?, 8 Sep 2011
This review is from: Made In Heaven (2011 Remaster: Deluxe Edition) (Audio CD)
The final studio album from Queen where Freddie was involved in some of the work is a curious beast. Loved by critics on its release after they decided the suddenly DID like the band after all and one of the biggest sellers from the band it is hard to find many Queen fans who gush with praise about the album.

It certainly has its plus points - namely the tracks Let Me Live, Mother Love and A Winter's Tale, but it also has its minuses - more on them later. Obviously, we now know just how poorly Freddie was when making this album and we know he was on completely borrowed time as the band reconvened in Montreux to work on the tracks, and we also know it was his wish to see the final tracks he worked on released as he laid down final vocals (something he only did after all the arguments about instrumentation and lyrics had stopped!), but as a Queen fan you cannot help but wonder what the final outcome would have been like had he lived?

Praise has to be given at this stage for the work mssrs May, Taylor and Deacon put into the project in terms of shaping and completing these tracks in what must have been very difficult and emotional circumstances but the question of what if remains. Musically the instrumentation on the album is of a universally high standard and the work done on taking some of Freddie's solo material (Made In Heaven and I Was Born To Love You), Roger's Cross track Heaven for Everyone, an old b-side, My Life Has Been Saved and a Brian song, Too Much Love Will Kill You and making them all into fully fledged Queen album songs is again very commendable. However, the problem is the end result is variable. Whilst Made In Heaven and I Was Born To Love You both gain over their Mr. Bad Guy versions they are still average songs on the whole and the same could also be said for Heaven For Everyone. My Life Has Been Saved sounds a lot worse here than on the 1989 b-side to Scandal and interesting though it is to hear Freddie's take on Too Much Love Will Kill You, it perhaps lacks the emotion that many thought would be there when it was known he had recorded it.

It's a Beautiful Day opens and closes the album (with the exception of Track 12 - Yeah and the hidden, mysterious 'Track 13' (ambient music that meanders along far too long and again is a less than fulfilling track. The club influenced You Don't Fool Me has its merits and is the fourth best track off the album - and it is worth tracking down the re-mix versions as well for those interested in them. So, as back in 1995 the 2011 re-mastered version still only has three tracks of any note - as wonderful as the rest of it sounds now it has been cleaned up.

Of the three outstanding tracks, Let Me Live is the one I enjoy the most. Mercury, Taylor and May all take the lead in signing a verse from the song - due of course to Freddie not being there to sing it all and yet is the one song where you could almost believe he was present from start to finish. The gospel choir sounding chorus and May's good guitar solo all help elevate the song and on its single release in 1996 fully deserved its no.9 UK chart slot. A Winter's Tale has become known as a Christmas song but is a wonderful, optimistic appreciation of the natural world and features a very atmospheric solo from Brian and a simply shiver down the spine vocal from Freddie - especially towards the end when he sings 'It's allllllllllllll so beautiful' - proving that despite his illness he could still deliver a song. Mother Love has another similar moment and is the final song Freddie worked upon before his death. A wonderful backing track allies itself with Freddie's emotional vocal perfectly to create a Queen classic, which features May singing the closing verse after Freddie decided he couldn't do anymore and would return to finish it (something he sadly never did).

The bonus CD allows us to compare the two versions of My Life Has Been Saved and for my money the version on the bonus disc is the best, whilst Heaven For Everyone has its single mix included (nice if you like it, not so good if you don't!) and another two b-sides (they featured on the CD releases) are also included - the joined together version of It's A Beautiful Day (still a filler at best) and the terrible Rock In Rio Blues (originally on A Winter's Tale). The other two tracks are the original piano and vocal mix of I Was Born To Love You that would have been on Freddie's 1985 solo album before it was reworked at the record companies insistence and an even more haunting mix of A Winter's Tale that is worth buying the deluxe version for on its own.

A nice farewell from the band given the difficult circumstances it was recorded in but I still wonder if only...
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Sep 2011 23:05:51 BDT
Well done, sir. Finally, someone has been honest about this CD, which is average, at best.

Posted on 17 Sep 2011 16:47:21 BDT
Hugo Rune says:
Agree, I prefered the 1989 of My Life has been Saved

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Sep 2011 22:33:25 BDT
You are a very exemplary writer and you are very erudite in reference to Queen. I'm surprised that you don't like the song "Made In Heaven". Great vocals by Mercury and majestic guitar riffs delivered by Brian May. It's a vintage Queen song.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Sep 2011 15:05:07 BDT
G. Noble says:
I did not like the original on Mr Bad Guy and it has not improved any by being given the Queen treatment. I guess it all comes down to personal taste. Thank goodness we don't all like the same things as we'd all be fans of One Direction - Lord have mercy!

Posted on 6 Oct 2011 14:43:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Oct 2011 14:46:35 BDT
A good overall review and broadly in agreement with my opinion expressed elsewhere on Amazon. There are some real gems here as you point out but the rest of it is not really Queen at their best.

Posted on 14 Jan 2012 16:45:35 GMT
I think that this album can be reviewed in two ways, one as a standalone Album based on the merits of the music alone, or two, a review that takes account of the circumstances within which it was produced. Taken at face value, I think this does have some of Queen's finest moments and my personal highlights are May's guitar solo in "Let me Live" and Mercury's vocals in "Mother Love". There are weaker moments as well,of course. "A beutiful day" is clearly incomplete for example. When one considers the the circumstances, however, the whole emotion of the album takes much of the material and content to another level. I agree with the reviewer that this Album would have sounded different Had Mr Mercury been arround but this is missing the point; Mr Mercury was not around any more and this is the best piece of work that Taylor, May and Deacon could produce. It is unfair to criticise something for what it is not, particulary when the circumstances were so difficult.

Posted on 13 Aug 2014 14:09:23 BDT
ladypen says:
very well said!!
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