Jazz – Queen

Queen_JazzRelease Year: 1978

Rating: 9/10

While their earlier albums have some of their biggest hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by their seventh release, Queen showed they could keep the hits coming. While this effort does have some of their big, dramatic sound they’re know for, this has got to be one their most fun record. So many of the songs are upbeat and get you moving around. There are some mellow moments that bring the mood down, but there are enough energetic and fun numbers on here to keep the album flowing.

The album begins on an unexpected note with “Mustapha.” Though Queen had already experimented with their sound enough for fans to expect the unexpected from them, but this has got to be one of their more ambitious tracks. The vocal style provided by Mercury makes it sound like a traditional Indian song until the other instruments come into play. Mercury keeps the singing style going when the jazzy music picks up. Though it is really different from the other songs on the album, it starts to grow on you and it’s oddly catchy. Even if it’s not one of your favorite Queen songs, you can appreciate it for its bold experimentation, showing they were never afraid to change things up.

Next is the classic and lovable “Fat Bottom Girls.” When you pay enough attention to the lyrics, you can see it’s actually a scandalous song. In the first verse alone, Mercury implies he slept with the nanny: “She was such a naughty nanny/Heap big woman, you made a bad boy out of me.” He continues to make these implications throughout the track, but with the blues infused music and the favored lyrics of “Fat bottom girls you make the rocking world go round,” you don’t instantly realize what’s going on in the song. Another odd number that’s somewhat related to this one is “Bicycle Race.

I always thought this was one of their weirder tracks since they shout “Bicycle! Bicycle!” at the beginning. Though the music starts out light and pretty during the intro, it gets dark and heavy during the bridge. Then it slows down during the third verse before picking up again. The musical shifts here remind me of the ones found on “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There’s also a great playful guitar solo here that runs up and down the fret board. The song itself is filled with pop culture references from the 70’s from Star Wars to Jaws; it very much reflects the time when it was written. It may be odd, but it’s still one of their best songs.

One song that is the epitome of the band themselves is “Let Me Entertain You.” The way it talks about putting on a show and getting people dancing in the aisles seems to perfectly describe what happens during a Queen concert. The jazz inspired music and the rapid, fierce guitar and the spit fire vocals from Mercury makes the perfect track. Everything about the song is fun and memorable. The one line that sticks in my mind is “If you dig the New York scene/We’ll have a son of a bitch of a time.” Even the clip of people chattering at the end is perfect because that’s usually what happens when people leave a show. It’s a great track that would be appropriate for Mercury’s theme song.

Another standout song is “Don’t Stop Me Now.” This is one of the my all time favorite Queen songs. This track is nothing but pure fun that makes you want to sing out every lyric along with Freddie. It’s super catchy and has great positive energy that brightens up the darkest of days. The entire track is upbeat and has great energetic music. One thing I thought was interesting is the little dirty line during the second verse: “I am a sex machine ready to reload/Like an atom bomb about to/Oh oh oh oh oh explode.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t readily associate Queen with dirty lyrics. Still, it’s an undeniably fun and amazing song that’s a classic even today.

As usual, there are a few songs where the other members take over vocal duty. I’m never a fan of these tracks, but for the most part they’re pretty good. The best one is “Fun It,” which you can view as a precursor to “Another One Bites the Dust.” It’s a funk and disco inspired track that asks for everyone to have a good time and dance. Though I’m not crazy about Roger Taylor on vocals, it’s still a really fun song to put you in a good mood. The Brain May sung track “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy” has bittersweet lyrics about leaving home, with a clean acoustic guitar that sounds like the wind blowing through. While it’s not the best song on the LP it’s still pretty good. One thing that makes it notable are the vocals at the end. They have some echo effect on them that makes it sound like a ghost singing. It may not be the best, but at least it’s not bad.

Overall, the album gets 8.5/10. It’s a great Queen album full of their memorable hits, but just about all the songs are great. There are moments where you find that classic Queen sound, while other times the band experiments with the music. Some tracks are bittersweet, but most are nothing but pure fun. The band have so many albums that are memorable, but this one is definitely among their best. Once you listen to it, it will quickly become your new favorite.

 

 

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