4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Jazz is like Marmite...,
This review is from: Jazz (Audio CD)
...You either love it or you hate it - at least that's what I think about that music genre which shares its name with Queen's last studio album of the 1970's. Can you apply the same sweeping statement about Marmite to this album though?
For me the answer is no. Though it is not up there with the band's best albums it is by no means the worst either - it sits squarely in the middle in that its high points are worth singing from the mountaintops whilst its low points are like the elephant in the room. So where do we start - well with the high points obviously. To my ears the two tracks that stand out are the wonderful Freddie song Jealousy, a gentle ballad with the bands trademark vocal harmonies shining brightly throughout and the Brian May track Leaving Home Ain't Easy - again a gentle song with a bouncealong tempo to it. Neither song was considered strong enough for a single but either one could have been. Just behind them in terms of appeal are Bicycle Race, Fat Bottomed Girls and a Deacon John track about a holiday romance - In Only Seven Days. These tracks feature Queen at their hardest rocking, wittiest and most loving respectively.
Though most think of Don't Stop Me Now as being the standout track on the album due its enduring popularity it's never been a track that I've thought of in such glowing terms - I like it, but if I was compiling my favourite Queen tracks onto one album it wouldn't get a look in but it is not one of the low points of the album either and sits along side Let Me Entertain You and If You Can't Beat Them as the average tracks on the album. The tracks that I really struggle to find anything nice to say about are More of that Jazz, Fun It, Dead On Time and - most horrible of all - Mustapha.
All in all listening to Jazz is a mixed bag, but what about the bonus disc on this release? First up is the single version of Fat Bottomed Girls, which can already be heard on Greatest Hits, so it is not really until track 2, an instrumental version of Bicycle Race, that things get interesting. Listening to well known songs without Freddie's (and the rest of the bands) vocal on top of it is an interesting experience and a song such a Bicycle Race really shows how tight the backing tracks were in terms of constructon and execution and I would have preferred to have seen more instrumentals on the bonus discs on all releases so far rather than the live versions of songs - speaking of which Let Me Entertain You is the live track on this disc but as with the majority is already available on Queen Rock Montreal - one of my pet peeves about the bonus discs. However the other two tracks on the bonus disc are interesting. We have a version of Don't Stop Me Now with an alternative guitar solo, which shows the band made the right decision in going with the version that they did and also an early acoustic take of Brian Mays Dreamer's Ball, which would become a live favourite during the Crazy Tour of '79.
As with all the remasters it is the bonus discs that make them worth buying - not just to collectors - but to people discovering the back catalogue for the first time, though as much as there is to listen to on Jazz that is good, but then there is just as much that is bad. So not quite Marmite, I'd probably say Jazz was a Big Mac - it satisfies you but is not really a Michelin star dish.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jul 2011 10:57:46 BDT
Mr. P. D. Simpson says:
Who the hell is Deacon John ??
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2011 14:22:13 BDT
It's a Queen 'joke' for the older fan, who will get it, but basically on the band's first album Freddie thought it would be fun to credit their new(ish) bass guitarist John Deacon as Deacon John.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jul 2011 01:17:52 BDT
Strange how you comment about liking Queen at their most rocking but at the same time not like Dead On Time, the most rocking song on the album! You also give Roger Taylor's songs a bad press with your review too, More of That Jazz is one of the best songs he's ever written! Jazz is worth getting because like the old-fashioned B-sides from Queen II, ANATO, ADATR, etc the mix of different types of music and the quality maintained is great to hear. Let Me Entertain You average?!? 3 stars for this album is incredibly low, 4 stars would be more like it. The extra cd for all the albums (bar Queen I) have been disappointing, if they don't bring out a boxset featuring all the unreleased tracks they've made, demos, etc then it'll be worse, I hope the reason for the shortage of original songs/bbc sessions on the extra cds is to whet the appetite. The lack of a proper release of the legendary 70s gigs and the full Live Killers is a disgrace.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jul 2011 13:49:22 BDT
I just don't think Taylor's songs shine on this album particularly. I have nothing against his songwriting ability - indeed some of his solo stuff is excellent, it's just for this album he misses the mark for my own personal tastes.
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jul 2011 11:49:21 BDT
D. J. Roberts says:
I recently saw a documentary in which Taylor himself said "Jazz" wasn't up to much, though I do like it, and he was absolutely venal about "Hot Space".
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jul 2011 15:29:14 BDT
I think he said he did not like the way the drums were made to sound on Hot Space - I saw the same documentary too, which was excellent and will hopefully be out on DVD in extended format soon according to Queenonline.com!
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2011 00:50:44 BDT
I saw the same documentary, it was very good. As for weaker tracks Taylor's songs on say The Game are much weaker than the ones on Jazz, then again no one shares my opinion that "More Of That Jazz" is one of Queen's classic songs. It takes alsorts you know :-)
Posted on 28 Jul 2011 15:58:35 BDT
Mr Fahrenheit says:
Mmmmmm More of that Jazz seems like filler to me, although I love this album as a whole.....but then I thought Get Down Make Love was a great song and Hot Space a great album.....no accounting for taste i guess lol
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Aug 2011 02:29:20 BDT
You're certainly right about no accounting for people's tastes! Having a go at More Of That Jazz and then calling Hot Space a great album? That's democracy for you :-)
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2011 14:06:49 BDT
Mr Fahrenheit says:
Lol I know....and to think they let people like me vote in general elections as well...its a scary world we live in! :-)