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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ALMOST THEIR LAST, 2 Oct 2011
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This review is from: The Miracle (2011 Remaster: Deluxe Edition) (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Aug 2012 23:43:24 BDT
For what it's worth, I found the 12" version of Breakthru to be pretty terrible. Must be annoying for music collectors for it not to be there, but possibly better for music lovers!
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