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Is This The Works We Created?,
This review is from: The Works (2011 Remaster: Deluxe Edition) (Audio CD)
I once read a review in a magazine of all Queen's albums shortly after the death of Freddie in which the reviewer said that Queen's output from The Works to The Miracle could be summed up as 'excellent singles but nothing of note left on the albums if they were taken off them' and looking at those albums I thought then, and do now, that the reviewer had a point.
After taking a year off to recharge their batteries Queen burst back onto the music scene in 1984 with their first Roger Taylor penned single, Radio Ga Ga, storming the charts to reach number 2 in the UK and featuring one of the band's most memorable video productions, incorporating clips from cult sci-fi film Metropolis and giving birth to the famous hand clap in the chorus. The single whetted many a fans appetite for the new album but in some ways the single was harking back to Hot Space. More poppy than rocky, it nevertheless brought new fans to the band, as did the following single I Want To Break Free (personally I hate the drag video and I'm not American either!) but what of the album itself?
Aside from the aforementioned singles and the two others taken from the album, It's A Hard Life and Hammer To Fall (the two standout songs on the album for me) the rest was nothing to get too excited about. Tear It Up may have been a pure rock track but lyrically it's quite poor, whilst the best thing that can be said about Man on the Prowl is that it ends suddenly thus providing some relief - that is until the intro to Machines (Or 'Back to Humans') kicks in. I've never been a fan of this track, though I have to concede in its remastered form I do hear instrumentation I had not heard before, which makes it a more interesting listen, it's still not a track that I like. Keep Passing The Open Windows meanders along at about a minute too long and though Is This The World Created...? gains some poignancy 12 months later with its performance at Live Aid, at around two minutes in length it just serves to highlight the short run time of the album. After a year's break we get nine tracks - a pattern that would be repeated on A Kind of Magic - and an average album by Queen's exalted standards.
As alluded to above, the re-mastering does bring the album back to life somewhat, but it's still not an album that I play time and time again. Even the bonus disc for this version is less interesting than others in the last batch of re-issues. For example we get I Want To Break Free and Thank God It's Christmas - both of which feature on the Greatest Hits Collections, meaning there are only four songs of note on the collection. I Go Crazy was the b-side to Radio Ga Ga and should have been on the album - if only to bump it up to a more respectable track count. The obligatory live tracks are on this occasion taken from an unreleased live album and on this occasion it is nice to hear It's A Hard Life live, though I could have done without Is This The World We Created...? For rockers there is the 12" Headbangers Mix of Hammer To Fall, which purchasers of the Queen Box of Trix would already have but the remastering of it means you need to turn your stereos up to eleven!
Overall then - great singles but nothing else of note on the album, but still worth a listen.