Queen is one of the greatest bands ever and there are plenty of examples to prove this: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Freddie Mercury, “Another One Bites the Dust,” Freddie Mercury, but this album is probably the perfect example of why Queen is so great. This is when the band found their classic sound, though they never stick to one genre. They play around with different styles that lead to an album with fresh sounds and a big presence. If it’s not their best record yet, it’s certainly up there.
This is an epic album everything from the music to the vocals to the songs themselves scream it. It’s as if the band predicted how they would rule stadium shows since many of the songs have that bigger than life feeling that’s prefect for those concerts. There are also so many emotions running through the album. Songs like “Dear Friends” and “Lilly of the Valley” will break your heart, while “Misfire” puts you in a dancing mood. What’s even better about the record is all of the songs are great. There is not a one that will disappoint you. You can leave this on without worrying about skipping one track.
Queen classics like “Killer Queen” and “Now I’m Here” are on the record and while they are fantastic, they are not the best songs on the album. “Killer Queen” makes you feel rich and sexy with Freddie’s talk of perfume from Paris and Marie Antoinette and the latter song has a classic rock feel with dizzying guitar riffs and palm muting that keeps you in anticipation. It also has a very sleek sound. Both these songs are great no doubt, but there are some others here that will grab you by the hand and make you take notice of them. There are three songs in particular like this: “Tenement Funster,” “Flick of the Wrist,” and “Lily of the Valley.”
What makes these songs stand out is how they all link together, as if they’re forming a cohesive story. “Tenement Funster” has Roger Taylor on vocals singing about youth and rebellion. Personally, I prefer Freddie’s vocals, but Taylor’s aren’t bad and fit pretty well for this track. It has a somber riff that repeats and echos throughout. It ends with a beautiful piano solo which leads directly into “Flick of the Wrist.” I like this song in particular because it’s so dark sounding. The rhythm and beat creeps along, as Freddie sings the lyrics in a sinister manner. During the chorus the pace picks up as if someone is running in panic before it slows down again. There is also this unbelievable, face melting guitar solo that will blow you away. Again, before the song is done it overlaps into the next track “Lily of the Valley.”
This song is very pretty as it’s only Mercury and a piano for most of the time. It also has a very somber sound. The music swells for a bit as the drums and guitar come in, but then it comes back to only the piano. I think these three songs are amazing because they all meld together to create some sort of rock opera, which the band would become known for later. It really amazes you when you hear it all together. I really don’t know if the stories in all the songs connect, but the way they flow into each other makes it seem like they should.
The album is filled with fantastic songs that span many genres. “Stone Cold Crazy” is a fast paced song that has thrashing guitars and quick wit vocals from Mercury. You can definitely hear the speed metal sound in this record, which makes sense why Metallica covered it later on. The fun and playful “Bring Back that Leroy Brown” has a 40’s swing vibe with some Jazz tossed in. When you hear it, you can picture women in hoop skirts being tossed in the air by their slicked hair boyfriends. It even has a jangly piano and a banjo solo to complete the effect. It sounds like nothing else on the record, but it’s such a great song to dance to. And “Misfire” has a Latin infused sound that makes you wiggle your hips whenever you hear it. Songs like these show how difficult it is to label Queen. They basically make whatever type of music they feel like making.
Overall, the album gets 9/10. It’s a classic and may be one of their best yet. Every song is awesome and there is a track for every mood. Some of their biggest hits are here, along with other bigger than life songs that make this epic album. The band does play around with different styles, but these songs never feel out of place. In fact, they’re really fun and shows how Queen can do anything and get away from it. If all you know about Queen is Freddie Mercury, you need to check out this album. It’ll show you that all the guys in the band were some of the most talented musicians in music.