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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Queen were straining at the boundaries of hard rock and heavy metal on Sheer Heart Attack, but they broke down all the barricades on A Night at the Opera, a self-consciously ridiculous and overblown hard rock masterpiece. Using the multi-layered guitars of its predecessor as a foundation, A Night at the Opera encompasses metal ("Death on Two Legs," "Sweet Lady"), pop (the lovely, shimmering "You're My Best Friend"), campy British music hall ("Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon," "Seaside Rendezvous"), and mystical prog rock ("'39," "The Prophet's Song"), eventually bringing it all together on the pseudo-operatic "Bohemian Rhapsody." In short, it's a lot like Queen's own version of Led Zeppelin IV, but where Zep find dark menace in bombast, Queen celebrate their own pomposity. No one in the band takes anything too seriously, otherwise the arrangements wouldn't be as ludicrously exaggerated as they are. But the appeal -- and the influence -- of A Night at the Opera is in its detailed, meticulous productions. It's prog rock with a sense of humor as well as dynamics, and Queen never bettered their approach anywhere else. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Universal Music Division Mercury Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Queen were straining at the boundaries of hard rock and heavy metal on Sheer Heart Attack, but they broke down all the barricades on A Night at the Opera, a self-consciously ridiculous and overblown hard rock masterpiece. Using the multi-layered guitars of its predecessor as a foundation, A Night at the Opera encompasses metal ("Death on Two Legs," "Sweet Lady"), pop (the lovely, shimmering "You're My Best Friend"), campy British music hall ("Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon," "Seaside Rendezvous"), and mystical prog rock ("'39," "The Prophet's Song"), eventually bringing it all together on the pseudo-operatic "Bohemian Rhapsody." In short, it's a lot like Queen's own version of Led Zeppelin IV, but where Zep find dark menace in bombast, Queen celebrate their own pomposity. No one in the band takes anything too seriously, otherwise the arrangements wouldn't be as ludicrously exaggerated as they are. But the appeal -- and the influence -- of A Night at the Opera is in its detailed, meticulous productions. It's prog rock with a sense of humor as well as dynamics, and Queen never bettered their approach anywhere else. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Queen II was a breakthrough in terms of power and ambition, but Queen's third album Sheer Heart Attack was where the band started to gel. It followed quickly on the heels of the second record -- just by a matter of months; it was the second album they released in 1974 -- but it feels like it had a longer incubation period, so great is the progress here. Which isn't quite to say that Sheer Heart Attack is flawless -- it still has a tendency to meander, sometimes within a song itself, as when the killer opening "Brighton Rock" suddenly veers into long stretches of Brian May solo guitar -- but all these detours do not distract from the overall album, they're in many ways the key to the record itself: it's the sound of Queen stretching their wings as they learn how to soar to the clouds. There's a genuine excitement in hearing all the elements to Queen's sound fall into place here, as the music grows grander and catchier without sacrificing their brutal, hard attack. One of the great strengths of the album is how all four members find their voices as songwriters, penning hooks that are big, bold, and insistent and crafting them in songs that work as cohesive entities instead of flourishes of ideas. This is evident not just in "Killer Queen" -- the first, best flourishing of Freddie Mercury's vaudevillian camp -- but also on the pummeling "Stone Cold Crazy," a frenzied piece of jagged metal that's all the more exciting because it has a real melodic hook. Those hooks are threaded throughout the record, on both the ballads and the other rockers, but it isn't just that this is poppier, it's that they're able to execute their drama with flair and style. There are still references to mystical worlds ("Lily of the Valley," "In the Lap of Gods") but the fantasy does not overwhelm as it did on the first two records; the theatricality is now wielded on everyday affairs, which ironically makes them sound larger than life. And this sense of scale, combined with the heavy guitars, pop hooks, and theatrical style, marks the true unveiling of Queen, making Sheer Heart Attack as the moment where they truly came into their own. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

With Queen officially enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Hollywood Records reintroduces the band yet again with the release of Platinum Collection, Vols. 1-3. While Vols. I & II are full of Queen classics you already know by heart, the third cobbles together odds and sods from the far corners of Queen's canon along with solo cuts from Freddie Mercury and Brian May. Opening with the operatic rock classic "Bohemian Rhapsody," it's easy to hear not only how this British quartet achieved the kind of global acclaim that ensured they'd be enshrined alongside the likes of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. When they weren't dabbling in playful, '50s-flavored rock & roll ("Crazy Little Thing Called Love"), catchy glam ("Killer Queen"), or hard-edged funk ("Another One Bites the Dust"), Queen was capable of delivering heartfelt love letters ("You're My Best Friend"). The band's '80s output is equally intriguing, ranging from the hard-hitting "Headlong" to duets with David Bowie ("Under Pressure") and soaring movie anthems ("One Vision"). The third volume features more movie themes ("Princes of the Universe"), Freddie Mercury covering the Platters ("The Great Pretender"), and cameos by contemporary artists like Wyclef Jean, George Michael, and Elton John. © TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Booklet
Not to be confused with 1981's Greatest Hits, 1992's Classic Queen, or 1992's reissue of 1981's Greatest Hits, 2004's Greatest Hits is a superb 20-track sampler of Queen's best, eclipsing all of the aforementioned packages. Excepting their late-career singles, this set spans the British group's tenure, from 1974's "Seven Seas of Rhye" to a 1984 live performance of "Under Pressure." In between are a host of the ambitious, distinctive, and often brilliant songs on which Queen built their name. The multi-part "Bohemian Rhapsody," with its lilting melodies, layered operatic vocals, studio trickery, and heavy metal breakdowns, epitomizes the group's recombinant aesthetic and cheeky flair. The spare, disco-funk of "Another One Bites the Dust" and the breezy, music hall-like "Killer Queen" should be familiar to anyone within earshot of a radio in the '70s and '80s. The givens -- the camp-rockabilly "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and perennial stadium anthems "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" -- are here, but surprises like the exuberant "Don't Stop Me Now" give a well-rounded perspective on the band. With Brian May's unique guitar sound and Freddie Mercury's brash, personality-filled vocal performances, Queen was one of the most original and popular acts in rock history, and Greatest Hits brings the group's peak moments together on one remarkable disc. © Anthony Tognazzini /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released October 19, 2018 | EMI

The soundtrack to the 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody offers a fittingly cinematic portrait of the iconic rock band, built around a handful of the group's most well-known songs, including live versions and several tracks reworked specifically for the film. As a souvenir of the movie, the soundtrack works especially well. Opening with guitarist Brian May's arrangement of the "20th Century Fox Fanfare," and showcasing his distinctive searing guitar leads, it perfectly sets the tone for telling Queen and Freddie Mercury's story on the big screen. Here we get such beloved classics as "Somebody to Love," "Killer Queen," "Another One Bites the Dust," and "Under Pressure." Elsewhere, the soundtrack leans heavily on live performances, especially those culled from the group's dynamic appearance at 1985's Live Aid benefit concert. This is especially poignant as the show marked a resurgence in interest in the group, just as Mercury was beginning to lose his battle with AIDS. Similarly, we also get earlier live versions of songs like "Keep Yourself Alive" from 1974's Live at the Rainbow, "Fat Bottomed Girls" from 1979's Live in Paris, and "Now I'm Here" from 1975's Live at Hammersmith Odeon. Also compelling are the few songs specifically reworked for the film, including "Doing All Right," a song from the band's self-titled debut that May and drummer Roger Taylor originated in their proto-Queen band Smile, and their studio-to-live mix of "We Will Rock You." A thoughtfully curated soundtrack, Bohemian Rhapsody offers a compelling narrative of Queen's storied arc into rock legend. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 2, 2020 | EMI

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Live Around the World, Queen’s first live album with Adam Lambert on vocals, was recorded over the course of the group’s many world tours between 2014 and 2020. It presents the perfect opportunity to discover – or rediscover – the “Lambert phenomenon” live. At just 29 years old, he dared to walk in the footsteps of one of the greatest singers and showmen we’ve ever seen: Freddie Mercury. It can’t have been easy trying to choose the tracks for this album but the skilful mix of unavoidable hits and rarer tracks means that it avoids falling into the trap of simply being a best of live album. Better yet, Roger Taylor, Brian May and Adam Lambert go so far as to pay tribute to Mercury by including two tracks from his solo repertoire (the moving song Love Kills - The Ballad and I Was Born to Love You). Probably stemming from the fact that Mercury’s voice is completely individual, Lambert stays faithful to the Queen sound but never tries to copy him. It soon becomes clear judging from the songs here (Somebody To Love is a good example) that few people could have risen to the challenge – and done it so well. Among the record’s many highlights, the brilliant version of cult favourite Under Pressure stands out, with the original Mercury/Bowie duo being replaced by Lambert and Taylor. There’s also a heavy version of Now I’m Here – a track that proves that 70-year-olds still know how to bring out the big guns (check out the severely underestimated drummer Roger Taylor!). It’s a given that Queen and Lambert won’t write any new material. They’re focusing on bringing their huge musical heritage to the stage, so we should appreciate these songs without expecting anything else. Live Around the World is a wonderful album – and a great counter-argument to people who didn’t expect the band to survive without its leader. © Charlélie Arnaud/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | EMI

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

If Day at the Races was a sleek, streamlined album, its 1977 successor, News of the World, was its polar opposite, an explosion of styles that didn't seem to hold to any particular center. It's front-loaded with two of Queen's biggest anthems -- the stomping, stadium-filling chant "We Will Rock You" and its triumphant companion, "We Are the Champions" -- which are quickly followed by the ferocious "Sheer Heart Attack," a frenzied rocker that hits harder than anything on the album that shares its name (a remarkable achievement in itself). Three songs, three quick shifts in mood, but that's hardly the end of it. As the News rolls on, you're treated to the arch, campy crooning of "My Melancholy Blues," a shticky blues shuffle in "Sleeping on the Sidewalk," and breezy Latin rhythms on "Who Needs You." Then there's the neo-disco of "Fight from the Inside," which is eclipsed by the mechanical funk of "Get Down, Make Love," a dirty grind that's stripped of sensuality. That cold streak on "Get Down, Make Love" runs through the album as a whole. Despite the explosion of sounds and rhythms, this album doesn't add up to party thanks to that slightly distancing chilly vibe that hangs over the album. Nevertheless, many of these songs work well on their own as entities, so there is plenty to savor here, especially from Brian May. Whether he's doing the strangely subdued eccentric English pop "All Dead, All Dead" or especially the majestic yet nimble rocker "It's Late," he turns in work that gives this album some lightness, which it needs. And that's the reason News of the World was a monster hit despite its coldness -- when it works, it's massive, earth-shaking rock & roll, the sound of a band beginning to revel in its superstardom. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Queen had long been one of the biggest bands in the world by 1980's The Game, but this album was the first time they made a glossy, unabashed pop album, one that was designed to sound exactly like its time. They might be posed in leather jackets on the cover, but they hardly sound tough or menacing -- they rarely rock, at least not in the gonzo fashion that's long been their trademark. Gone are the bombastic orchestras of guitars and with them the charging, relentless rhythms that kept Queen grounded even at their grandest moments. Now, when they rock, they'll haul out a clever rockabilly pastiche, as they do on the tremendous "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," a sly revival of old-time rock & roll that never sounds moldy, thanks in large part to Freddie Mercury's panache. But even that is an exception to the rule on The Game. Usually, when they want to rock here, they wind up sounding like Boston, as they do on John Deacon's "Need Your Loving Tonight," or they sound a bit like a new wave-conscious rocker like Billy Squier, as they do on the propulsive "Coming Soon." But even those are exceptions to the overall rule on The Game, since most of the album is devoted to disco-rock blends -- best heard on the globe-conquering "Another One Bites the Dust," but also present in the unintentionally kitschy positivity anthem "Don't Try Suicide" -- and the majestic power ballads that became their calling card in the '80s, as they reworked the surging "Save Me" and the elegant "Play the Game" numerous times, often with lesser results. So, The Game winds up as a mixed bag, as many Queen albums often do, but again the striking difference with this album is that it finds Queen turning decidedly, decisively pop, and it's a grand, state-of-the-art circa 1980 pop album that still stands as one of the band's most enjoyable records. But the very fact that it does showcase a band that's turned away from rock and toward pop means that for some Queen fans, it marks the end of the road, and despite the album's charms, it's easy to see why. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Unbeknownst to the public, Freddie Mercury had been diagnosed with the AIDS virus in the late '80s. Although his health weakened by the '90s, Mercury insisted that the band work on music until the very end; their final album turned out to be 1991's Innuendo. Although it didn't receive the same critical praise as its predecessor, 1989's The Miracle, it was another strong album and global hit (again going gold in the U.S.). With hindsight, the song's lyrics are blatantly autobiographical from Mercury's standpoint, such as the reflective "These Are the Days of Our Lives" and the bold "The Show Must Go On." Also included are a pair of tracks that deal with mankind's inability to live harmoniously (the superb epic title track and "All God's People") and a humorous tribute to Mercury's beloved pet felines ("Delilah"). Queen's heavier side is represented by both the rock radio hit "Headlong" and "The Hitman," while "I'm Going Slightly Mad," "I Can't Live With You," and "Don't Try So Hard" show the band's pop sensibilities in full force, and on "Bijou," Brian May gets to show off his guitar chops. Innuendo was a fitting way to end one of rock's most successful careers. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Following the disappointing commercial performance of the dance-oriented Hot Space in 1982, Queen took 1983 off to get refocused and work on a follow-up that would put the band back on track. While the songwriting had definitely improved on the resulting The Works in 1984, the album sonically lacked the punch of such earlier releases as News of the World and The Game (strangely, Hot Space even had a better overall sound). Although the album only peaked at number 23 on the U.S. album charts, it was a Top Ten hit in just about every other area of the world, producing the huge single "Radio Ga Ga." Three other tracks were hits in Queen's native England -- the uplifting "I Want to Break Free," the love song "It's a Hard Life," and the politically conscious rocker "Hammer to Fall," which dealt with the danger of nuclear weapons. Other highlights included the '50s-sounding "Man on the Prowl," the electronic experiment "Machines," the thunderous "Tear It Up," and a touching acoustic ballad, "Is This the World We Created...?" Perhaps with a more straight-ahead production (and a U.S. tour), The Works would have landed Queen back on the top of the charts stateside. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Because Queen took the better part of 1981 off to work on the follow-up to their big 1980 hit The Game, fans were confident that the band's next release would follow in their winning tradition of classic albums. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. Unlike its predecessor, Hot Space was an inconsistent effort, marred by unfocused songwriting and material that was simply not as strong as their earlier work. Since they had just previously enjoyed a massive hit with the disco-fied "Another One Bites the Dust," Queen decided to dedicate the entire first side of the album to dance music, something that alienated their longtime rock fans. And while the single "Body Language" nearly cracked the U.S. Top Ten, the rest of the dance material was easily forgettable -- "Back Chat," "Staying Power," "Action This Day," and so on -- however, the album was not a total washout. The more rock-oriented second side did contain some great tracks, such as "Put Out the Fire," "Calling All Girls," "Las Palabras de Amor," and the David Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure." But it was not enough to save Hot Space from a cruel critical and commercial fate, as its ensuing world tour marked the last time Queen would perform in the U.S. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

By the release of 1986's A Kind of Magic, Queen's stature as a prominent rock band in the U.S. had slipped considerably, while in all other parts of the world (especially Europe), they remained superstar hitmakers. A Kind of Magic was their biggest album yet in England, where it reached number one, remained on the charts for 63 weeks, and spawned several hit singles -- the epic title track, the tuneful pop/rocker "Friends Will Be Friends," and one of their most haunting ballads, "Who Wants to Live Forever" (also included was the Live Aid-inspired hit anthem "One Vision," which was originally released as a single in 1985). Most of the songs were written for the movie Highlander -- "Gimme the Prize (Kurgan's Theme)," "Princes of the Universe," the aforementioned "Who Wants to Live Forever," etc. -- but instead of issuing just a movie soundtrack, the band added a few non-movie tracks and made an official Queen release out of it. It may not have been as cohesive as some of their other albums, but A Kind of Magic was their best work in some time. Queen would embark on a sold-out tour of outdoor stadiums in Europe upon the album's release, which would sadly turn out to be their final tour. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Famously tagged as "fascist" in a Rolling Stone review printed at the time of its 1978 release, Jazz does indeed showcase a band that does thrive upon its power, thrilling upon the hold that it has on its audience. That confidence, that self-intoxication, was hinted at on News of the World but it takes full flower here, and that assurance acts as a cohesive device, turning this into one of Queen's sleekest albums. Like its patchwork predecessor, Jazz also dabbles in a bunch of different sounds -- that's a perennial problem with Queen, where the four songwriters were often pulling in different directions -- but it sounds bigger, heavier than News, thanks to the mountains of guitars Brian May has layered all over this record. If May has indulged himself, Freddie Mercury runs riot all over this album, infusing it with an absurdity that's hard to resist. This goofiness is apparent from the galloping overture "Mustapha," and things only get a lot sillier from that point out, as the group sings the praises of "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Bicycle Races." May and Mercury have an unspoken competition on who can overdub the most onto a particular track, while Roger Taylor steers them toward their first disco song in the gloriously dumb "Fun It." But since over-the-top campiness has always been an attribute in Queen, this kind of grand-scale exaggeration gives Jazz a sense of ridiculousness that makes it more fun than many of their other albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Booklet
The second volume of Queen’s Greatest Hits appeared a decade after the first; a decade after the group started its slow shift from international superstars toward ruling the world that existed outside of the United States. Apart from “Under Pressure” and “Radio Ga Ga,” all of the 17 singles here did not crack the American Top 40, but they’re well-known throughout the world, particularly the operatic anthems “A Kind of Magic,” “I Want It All,” “I Want to Break Free,” and “Who Wants to Live Forever.” Generally, the songs here favor melodrama to untrammeled rock & roll, which means while there’s nothing here that hits as hard as “Tie Your Mother Down”; there’s also nothing as light on its feet as “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” either. This is not necessarily a bad thing: nobody scaled the dramatic heights like Queen, and this captures their pomp & circumstance at its most polished. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Famously tagged as "fascist" in a Rolling Stone review printed at the time of its 1978 release, Jazz does indeed showcase a band that does thrive upon its power, thrilling upon the hold that it has on its audience. That confidence, that self-intoxication, was hinted at on News of the World but it takes full flower here, and that assurance acts as a cohesive device, turning this into one of Queen's sleekest albums. Like its patchwork predecessor, Jazz also dabbles in a bunch of different sounds -- that's a perennial problem with Queen, where the four songwriters were often pulling in different directions -- but it sounds bigger, heavier than News, thanks to the mountains of guitars Brian May has layered all over this record. If May has indulged himself, Freddie Mercury runs riot all over this album, infusing it with an absurdity that's hard to resist. This goofiness is apparent from the galloping overture "Mustapha," and things only get a lot sillier from that point out, as the group sings the praises of "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Bicycle Races." May and Mercury have an unspoken competition on who can overdub the most onto a particular track, while Roger Taylor steers them toward their first disco song in the gloriously dumb "Fun It." But since over-the-top campiness has always been an attribute in Queen, this kind of grand-scale exaggeration gives Jazz a sense of ridiculousness that makes it more fun than many of their other albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

In every sense, A Day at the Races is an unapologetic sequel to A Night at the Opera, the 1975 breakthrough that established Queen as rock & roll royalty. The band never attempts to hide that the record is a sequel -- the two albums boast the same variation on the same cover art, the titles are both taken from old Marx Brothers films and serve as counterpoints to each other. But even though the two albums look the same, they don't quite sound the same, A Day at the Races is a bit tighter than its predecessor, yet tighter doesn't necessarily mean better for a band as extravagant as Queen. One of the great things about A Night at the Opera is that the lingering elements of early Queen -- the pastoral folk of "39," the metallic menace of "Death on Two Legs" -- dovetailed with an indulgence of camp and a truly, well, operatic scale. Here, the eccentricities are trimmed back somewhat -- they still bubble up on "The Millionaire Waltz," an example of the music hall pop that dominated Night, the pro-Native American saga "White Man" is undercut somewhat by the cowboys 'n' indians rhythms -- in favor of a driving, purposeful hard rock that still could have some slyly hidden perversities (or in the case of the opening "Tie Your Mother Down," some not-so-hidden perversity) but this is exquisitely detailed hard rock, dense with minutiae but never lush or fussy. In a sense, it could even function as the bridge between Sheer Heart Attack and Night at the Opera -- it's every bit as hard as the former and nearly as florid as the latter -- but its sleek, streamlined finish is the biggest indication that Queen has entered a new phase, where they're globe-conquering titans instead of underdogs on the make. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

During the 1980s, Queen ceased to be a big record seller in the U.S., but maintained its superstar status at home. In the '90s, following the death of Freddie Mercury, there was a brief resurgence of interest in America triggered by the inclusion of "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the movie Wayne's World. But in 1995, when the surviving members got around to releasing the final recordings done with Mercury in the form of Made in Heaven, the status quo had returned. The album topped the charts in Western Europe, with its single, "Heaven for Everyone," reaching the Top Ten, while in the U.S. it was on and off the charts within weeks. Musically, Made in Heaven harked back to Queen's 1970s heyday with its strong melodies and hard rock guitar playing, topped by Mercury's bravura singing and some of the massed choir effects familiar from "Bohemian Rhapsody." Even if one did not know that these songs were sung in the shadow of death, that subject would be obvious. The lyrics were imbued with life-and-death issues, from the titles -- "Let Me Live," "My Life Has Been Saved," and "Too Much Love Will Kill You" -- to lines like "It's hopeless -- so hopeless to even try" ("It's a Beautiful Day"), "Waiting for possibilities/Don't see too many around" ("Made in Heaven"), and "I long for peace before I die" ("Mother Love"). The odd thing about this was that Mercury's over-the-top singing had always contained a hint of camp humor, and it continued to here, even when the sentiments clearly were as heartfelt as they were theatrically overstated. Maybe Mercury was determined to go out the same way he had come in, as a diva. If so, he succeeded. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | EMI

Like any patchy but promising debut from a classic rock group, it's often easy to underrate Queen's eponymous 1973 debut, since it has no more than one well-known anthem and plays more like a collection of ideas than a cohesive album. But what ideas! Almost every one of Queen's signatures are already present, from Freddie Mercury's operatic harmonies to Brian May's rich, orchestral guitar overdubs and the suite-like structures of "Great King Rat." That rich, florid feel could be characterized as glam, but even in these early days that appellation didn't quite fit Queen, since they were at once too heavy and arty to be glam and -- ironically enough, considering their legendary excess -- they were hardly trashy enough to be glam. But that only speaks to the originality of Queen: they may have traded in mystical sword 'n' sorcerers themes like so many '70s prog bands, and they may have hit as hard as Led Zeppelin (and Jimmy Page's guitar army certainly was a forefather to May's overdubs), but they didn't sound like anybody else, they were too odd in their theatricality to be mistaken for another band. That much was apparent on this debut, but one thing was crucially missing: songs that could coalesce their sound and present it in a memorable fashion. There is an exception to that rule -- the wild, rampaging opener "Keep Yourself Alive," one of their very best songs -- but too often the album plays like a succession of ideas instead of succinct songs, and the group's predilection for suites only highlights this, despite the occasional blast of fury like "Modern Times Rock & Roll." This can be quite appealing as sheer, visceral sound and, in that regard, Queen is kind of irresistible. It showcases the band in all their ornate splendor yet it's strangely lean and hard, revealing just how good the band was in their early days as a hard rock band. That might not quite make it an overlooked gem -- it remains patchy on a song for song basis -- but it sure makes for an interesting debut that provides a rough road map to their later work. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo