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Thursday, 21 August 2014

CLASSIC ALBUM REVIEW:QUEEN: A NIGHT AT THE OPERA


The follow up to 1974's hugely successful Sheer Heart Attack, this collection, and arguably their finest work, was to propel the band into the A league.  With Roy Thomas Baker once again at the helm, this was a much more ambitious opus compared to previous ventures. Opening with the hefty Death on Two Legs, a snarling Mercury lets fly at an ex-manager who allegedly ripped them off.  With lyrics like "you suck my blood like a leech", you get the idea straightaway.  On the ever so jolly, Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon, you can feel Mercury's relief at having got a lot a venom released on the previous track.
I'm in Love with My Car sees Roger Taylor take the mic in a tale about the unconditional love he has for his motor.  Even the exhaust from Taylor's Alpha Romeo makes a guest appearance.  A great track performed live,check out the version on Live Killers.
Only his second song for the band, and written for his wife, Veronica, John Deacon's Your my Best Friend was probably the real surprise package on the album.  With it's Motown feel, it has been an anthem to many young lovebirds worldwide, and was a top twenty hit in America.  39 sees Brian May takes us on a intergalactic folk journey, with a song about a man going in search of new worlds.  Featuring May on vocals it remained a mainstay in the live set for many years.  Sweet Lady is Queen doing what Queen do best.  Out and out rock, punchy verses and a madcap chorus.
Seaside Rendezvous is another slice of Mercury's jovial eccentricity, displaying the bands tongue in cheek sense of humour.  You really can't help but smile listening to this.  The Prophet's Song is a masterpiece in every sense of the word, with the bands now trademark vocal layering a highlight.  It probably remains one of their most underrated songs.  I personally think it eclipses Bohemian Rhapsody, it's that good.  
Love Of My Life is the album at it's most tender,  It tells of Mercury's devotion to long time love Mary Austin.  A minor hit at home, it was massive in South America.  So much so, whenever Queen toured there, Freddie rarely sang a word.  Good Company is a low point for me, but if you love your ukulele, and are partial to a bit of George Formby, you'll love this.  
What can I say about Bohemian Rhapsody that hasn't already been said. Except this.  There's not one single band, past or present, who would have the guts, the audacity or enough screws loose to even attempt something as outlandish as this.  But that has always been the Queen way.  They've never shied away from the impossible.  And that has always set them apart from everyone else.  The album was a massive commercial success, and without any doubt, holds it's own as one of the most iconic albums ever made.