on 2 May 2003
Queen in my opinion and the greatest and most important band ever to grace our planet. No other vocalist in a band could come close to Mercury's playful voice. Brian May's great guitar solos and catchy poppy tunes, were always my favourites. If I needed a lift it was always 'Somebody To Love' in the cassette player, and without any exception, the task was done. But that's what Queen was all about. Doing their job, getting it done and going home. But they just did it so well. And I always loved the playfulness of them, the fact they felt they could do anything. So when I layed my mits on Made In Heaven, which I sort of knew was going to be pretty sombre anyway, being released 3 years after Mercury's death, I was very cautious even looking at the titles (Let Me Live, My Life Has Been Saved, Too Much Love Will Kill You...), but I took it home with me instead. And it is different. This is Queen, but not quite what you know. Those aspects are there...but there's more. Much more. And now I can safely say that this is the best album that Queen ever made, and is one of the best albums of all time.
You could always tell Freddie was a worker...up until his dying days he was singing whatever was put in front of him, when he could, as his disease held him down so much it was awfully difficult. But when he sang, boy did he sing. Just listening to the likes of 'Heaven For Everyone' and 'Too Much Love Will Kill You' just show that Mercury was giving it his all, right until the end. You also knew that only death was going to stop this band.
The instrumentation throughout is stunning. 'It's A Beautiful Day' begins with strings and early morning birds chirping gleefully and the typical Queen piano, followed by the first Mercury vocal...'It's A Beautiful Day, The Sun Is Shining, I Feel Good, and No-one's Gonna Stop Me Now', unfortunatly the truth didn't turn out to be quite as beautiful as the song itself. 'Made In Heaven' is certainly one of the highlights. A magnificent, yet out of character riff, and an atmosphere of pure unsureity opens the track and ends as it started. 'Mother Love' was the last song Mercury ever sang. And you can tell. His voice sounds slightly distorted and he couldn't go his true length, and although it's still stunning to hear, you can't help but feel that one of the greatest, has left before the curtain was supposed to fall. 'Heaven For Everyone' the band's first single from the album, is stunningly put together and is another quiet-loud song, that Nirvana would be proud of if they were this human. And that's something else about this. It's human. Doesn't seem quite Queen...but it's brilliant all the same. The other tracks follow suit in their own way, and the album also includes an instrumental song, at over 20 MINUTES long! Watch out for Freddie's laughter and him saying 'Are You Running?' throughout. It's certainly haunting. But you get the feeling he'd have wanted it this way...
Queen will ALWAYS be remembered for that 6 minute long, groudbreaking classic that shook the charts twice (three times?), but to the fan, and to anyone else who cares to listen to a band who were always at the top of thier game, Queen also need to be remembered for their stunning end, and encore if you will. It just shows that such shocking tragedy can bring the absolute best out of a band who were already the greatest of all time. And as I've read before, Mercury came in as he went out. As a diva. 5 Stars.
on 21 February 2005
It would be really churlish to give this, the final Queen album proper, anything less than 5 stars. A truly moving collection of some of the saddest and yet at the same time the most hopeful Queen songs ever written. We can only guess at the emotions that must have been running through the guys when this was recorded.
Admittedly the album does feature several songs that appeared on band member's solo albums before this recording, but I would say without hesitation that it is in this form they sound the best. "Too Much Love Will Kill You" really benefits from Freddie's strong vocals and "Made in Heaven" sounds much better with the magnificent orchestra-sound it gets here. Of the "new" tracks the outstanding one in my humble opinion is "Let Me Live", featuring the vocals of Freddie, Roger and Brian it is just a lovely celebration of this fantastic group.
A fantastic album, full of emotion, full of feeling and full of great songs.
on 27 May 2004
After writing a review of the preceding album 'Innuendo', it's hard not to connect the two together. The darkness that is apparent in 'Innuendo' still lingers here, but there is a new sense of hope that we only saw a climpse of in 'Innuendo'. With the title song 'Made in Heaven', Mercury hangs us in the balance between hope and despair. Like in 'Innuendo', Freddie reaches out to society, only here in a more direct way. 'Mother Love' and 'Heaven for everyone' is a critique of modern man, and the lack of true spirituality and morality within our age. But this critique is made far more meaningful in relating it to his own life, a tragic life. Yet despite of all the tragedy and all the pain within society and his own life, there is hope. And in the songs of 'My life has been saved', and 'A Winter's tale' (Freddie's last ever song), he points us towards this hope, a hope that is not found outside in society, but a hope that is found within. Such is the power of this album.
on 23 June 2014
Firstly, I have to take issue with the ignoramus who wrote the product review for Amazon: this idiot has no idea what the hell he is talking about! To suggest that the remaining members of Queen may have made this last record as a last chance to 'cash-in' on Freddie is highly insulting and absolutely ignorant - he needs to do his research a bit better. This album was a labour of love (and I think the members of Queen have enough money in the bank anyway), and it was also Freddie's wish that his final recordings see the light of day. To be honest, ignorant and biased reviewers like this moron have always had it in for Queen and always probably will: they just hate the fact that this band is still loved so much by so many.
Secondly, and more importantly, the album itself. As a lifelong Queen fan, I would put this one up with Innuendo, A Night at the Opera and Sheer Heart attack. It is strong throughout. I won't bother to write about the story behind this album, as most people into music will already know its history. But if you still haven't bought this jewel of an album, just damn well do. It is a strangely uplifting album (considering the fact that it includes Freddie's final recordings): there is so much positivity and warmth emanating from it. It is all about life and love, and Freddie sings his heart out. Only on the sombre and heart breaking Mother Love do we hear Freddie sound a little less upbeat (and considering this was his final recording, who can blame the man?); but listen to the middle eight on this track and tell me you do not hear a dying man (who at this stage could barely even stand) sing from his very soul with every last drop of power and emotion his frail body contained. A beautifully haunting track from one of the finest singers this world is ever likely to hear.
If nothing moves you on this album, check your pulse - because you must be dead.
This is a wonderful and fitting ending to the recording career of one of the world's finest and most innovative bands. God save our Queen.
on 8 September 2011
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...
on 2 September 2005
If you know how the album came about and the history then this album has a much deeper impact than others. Freddie Mercury recorded many parts of these songs whilst dying of AIDs, putting his body to much strain. This makes me appreciate this album even more. Even so, it is a truly wonderful album, filled with amazing songs. A must buy.
Following the completion of the final Queen album `Innuendo' the band almost immediately set about recording a follow-up but sadly Freddie Mercury died with very little material completed, leaving the band with the unenviable position of piecing together `Made in Heaven' from whatever bits and pieces they could find. As such `Made in Heaven' is inevitably a bit of an uneven collection, and though worth it for the Queen completists this album is nowhere near the quality of `Innuendo'.
Probably the most questionable aspect of this release was the bands decision to revisit previously released material with fully half of the album consisting of new versions of old songs, and one's enjoyment of this album will undoubtedly be coloured by how familiar one is with these tracks - if you come to this album with no previous knowledge of these songs then you can instantly add another star to the rating. Of the reworked songs two are from Freddie's solo album `Mr Bad Guy' (`Made in Heaven' and `I Was Born to Love You') and are essentially an exercise in karaoke in reverse, with the band playing along with Freddie's old vocals, and slightly altering the arrangements - this results in more rock orientated versions, but they're not really improvements on the originals, just slightly different versions. `Too Much Love Will Kill You' was previously a solo hit for Brian May, but here we have an older version with Freddie on lead vocals, but while it's undoubtedly poignant to hear him sing this song in truth it's probably better suited to Brian's voice. `Heaven For Everyone' has been lifted off of Roger Taylor's side-project album from `The Cross' but has so little altered it feels like a slightly pointless exercise while `My Life Has Been Saved' had previously been released in different form as a B-Side on the single `Scandal'. Again, none of these tracks are bad, but if you are already familiar with them then inevitably they will be slightly disappointing to hear instead of new tracks.
Two tracks have been rescued from unreleased obscurity in the Queen archives, but though `It's A Beautiful Day' is a pleasant enough tune doubling it up to bookend the album can't help but disguise the fact that it is a tiny snapshot of a piece Freddie was working on rather than a complete song. Much better, and probably the highlight of the album is the fantastic `Let Me Live', a gospel song with Roger and Brian contributing additional lead vocals to complete the song.
The only 3 songs here that actually originate from after `Innuendo' are `You Don't Fool Me', `A Winter's Tale' and `Mother Love'. `You Don't Fool Me' is a catchy repetitious funk/dance track, though it does feel a little out of place in the tone of the album, feeling more in the vein of the bands `Hot Space'-period style. `A Winter's Tale' is a pleasant song with some interesting music and a great guitar solo, though the Xmas single style lyrics may be a little too saccharine for some. Finally `Mother Love' is a very moody piece which seems to see Freddie facing head on his imminent death (indeed he died before he could record the final verse for the track), a very bleak but moving track. There's also an unexpected bonus with the 20-minute untitled ambient piece at the end of the album which works surprisingly well.
With the death of Freddie this record turned from being a Queen album into a Freddie Mercury tribute album, which is entirely understandable, but personally I could have done with a little less of the reworked material and heavy handed production tricks (Freddie's trip back through time to end as a baby at the end of `Mother Love' for example) for some new tracks with vocals by Brian and Roger, but obviously this was a difficult endeavour for all involved. Ultimately a slightly uneven collection of old and new material, `Made in Heaven' is nevertheless a worthwhile coda to a great bands career.
on 6 July 2002
This album was always going to be a dangerous project for Brian,Roger and John as it was likey they would face accusations of "cashing in". However, this is far from being the case. From it's enigmatic opening to it's surreal curtain call this is a materpiece. As fun and funky as any of Queens 80's hits (I Was Born To Love You, You Dont Fool Me). As pompous and grand as they ever were (Made In Heaven, Heaven For Everyone) and at times painful (Mother Love). There are some curio's thrown in for goosd measure too, My Life Has Been Save was a B-side from 1989 but listen to the lyrics and if there is a message anywhere on this album, I think you'll find it here. Buy it.
on 6 January 2003
Please ignore what Amazon's Andrew McGuire says about this album. It is not just "one for completists". It is not Queen's best album, but their most thruthful.
Before the great Freddie died, he requested the other band members finish off the vocal tracks he left them in his final days and release them on an album for all to hear.
Queen never had a good review. Even now-a-days, their musical "We Will Rock You" got panned, but it is absolutely brilliant.
Back on the album, the first track "It's A Beautiful Day" is a brilliant start, a nice short rock song with some heavy drums. Track 2 is a Queen re-work of one of Freddie's solo tracks, "made In Heaven". This new version is a nice rocked up version, quite a lively track. Track 3 is a slightly older Queen track, written around 1989 for "The Miracle" album. They used Freddie's vocals and re-recorded their solo parts, and re-worked the music. A great song (originally percieved for a duet between Queen and Rod Stewart).
Track 4, Mother Love, is the last song Freddie put his vocals on. This was possibly 2 months before he passed, and it is quite an emotional piece. So much so, that Freddie couldn't sing the final verse, and Brian sang it instead. Track 5, My Life Has Been Saved, is a re-worked version from a Queen b-side from "The Miracle" sessions. The lyrics also work with the theme of this album. Track 6 is another great re-work by the band of an old Freddie solo song. "I Was Born To Love You" clerly shows the band having lots of fun. Just listen. Track 7, "Heaven For Everyone", was originally a song for Roger Taylor's solo band "The Cross" and featured on their album "Shove It". The American version of this album has Roger Taylor on vocals, but the UK and European version has Freddie on vocals. Queen re-used these vocals and magnificently re-worked the backing track producing one of the best tracks on the album.
Track 8 is originally a Queen song, written around "The Miracle" sessions in 1989, but later used by its writer, Brian, as a solo song for "Back To The Light". However, Freddie's vocals were good enough for Queen to produce another brilliant backing track.
Track 9, "You Don't Fool Me" is a great John Deacon song. A pumping bass line, and a great 1min 30scnd guitar solo from Brian. Quality.
Track 10 is the last song written by Freddie Mercury before he died. A Winter's Tale was written by a duck pond he often frequented when in Montreaux recording his last vocals. This song is very truthful and openly shows Freddie's state and the fact he just wants peace.
Track 11 is a reprise of track 1, Its A Beautiful Day. Basically the same, beginning, just a much better and heavier ending.
A great album. Buy it...
on 18 March 2005
Made In Heaven (1995.) Queen's fifteenth album.
Following the release of Queen's 1991 Innuendo album, tragedy struck the classic rock powerhouse. Freddue Mercury died of AIDS on November 24 of that year. It was a shame that such a talented musician was forced into the premature death that befalls many a rock and roll legend. Although Mercury was gone, his spirit (along with many long-lost recordings) certainly was not. There were a number of recordings Freddie worked on that never made it onto albums - but John Deacon, Brian May, and Roger Taylor decided to release a posthumous album using the material in question. What surfaced was Made In Heaven. Read on for my review of this album.
Although this wasn't released until over three years after the death of Freddie Mercury, and although it takes recordings from various eras, it remains an excellent album. Admittingly, it probably isn't quite as good as Innuendo (since that was a "true" album), but it's still a solid release. Some of these tracks are reworkings of previously-existing recordings, including some old Queen B-Sides and old Freddie Mercury solo tunes. Some are reworkings of existing recordings, some are new recordings altogether. But the good majority of the songs on this album are songs that hadn't been released prior. It really is fascinating that these songs didn't surface until after Mercury's death, because they are all great (it makes you wonder whether or not there are still Freddie Mercury recordings this good just waiting to see the light of day.) In the end the album stands strong. No Queen fan should be without it.
Queen's albums were remastered and rereleased. The remastered versions feature improved sound quality, lyrics, rare band/discography photos, and even some bonus tracks. Of course, in most cases, the bonus tracks on these reissues are just lame remixes that DO NOT differ substantially from the classic versions of the songs. Still, the remasters are better than the older CD versions of the albums, but if you've got the older versions, you're not missing out on much.
Made In Heaven was an excellent posthumous release from Queen. Often, posthumous releases from an artist are disasters, but in the case of Queen, theirs was VERY GOOD. If you're a fan of the group, this album is well worth purchasing. I wouldn't recommend that a new fan start with this recording, but any tried and true fan would be doing themself a real favor picking this up.