I have been a Queen fan all my life and I was even a fan of the Paul Rodgers partnership which, contrary to belief and narrow-minded critics inappropriately making hopeless Mercury comparisons, I thought was great. Cosmos Rocks was a great LP.
The reason I opened talking about Queen was because this album, in case you didn't know, was produced by Brian May. Now, I am a huge fan and admirer of his but sometimes these tracks come across as overproduced. I had the pleasure of seeing Kerry live in Wicked and she has an outstanding voice and whilst hearing that inimitable Brian May sound roaring through 'Defying Gravity', you can't help but think that the track is just overkill from beginning to end. A great song is one that starts from nothing and then builds to something magical. Crashing and bashing through songs just ruins the whole atmosphere. Especially for slower numbers like 'Anthem' and even Brian's own 'No-One But You'.
Because the music and production is so huge, Kerry Ellis ends up shouting most of the album to be heard and she seems to be showing off that she can belt rather than showing her more sensitive side when it would be appropriate. The best songs are probably the ones composed for the album with the majority being covers that end up being Brian May covers with Kerry belting away. I still give this three stars as sometimes it works but you may end up with a headache if you listen to the album in one go. I like noise, I am a big Muse fan for example, but big loud moments need to be built up to. Without the build up, the climax is not effective and that is what I feel when listening to many of these songs. 'Diamonds are Forever' is just bizarre and 'I Love it when you Call' comes across as an unnecssary attempt for both Kerry and Brian to get "down wit da kids". Either Brian is domineering, is losing it or Kerry relied on him too much.
Considering this LP took ages to get released, it is amazing that the production seems so thrown together. I was not surprised when I read that all instruments (excluding drums and orchestral arrangements) were played by May. We know he can play a guitar and a bit of keys but perhaps a few session players would have made the sound better. Brian May is a superb solo artist, I highly recommend his two solo albums available on Amazon, but he has lost it here. Kerry is supposed to be the star but she ends up shouting her way through a crowded score and muddled production. It probably works much better live than on record. There is no subtlety at all.
This review seems harsh and seems to be one that reflects an opinion below three stars but it is still fairly good and should be listened to. All I will say is, Queen fans beware as some Queen songs are shouted through, musical theatre fans beware as the songs are not portrayed as they should be. This leaves the original tracks which are probably the best on the album. Unfortunately, Brian and Kerry is not a musical match made in heaven.
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