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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Hollywood Records

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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
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Film Soundtracks - Released October 19, 2018 | Hollywood Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

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
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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

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
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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

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
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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

Following their massive 1986 European stadium tour for the A Kind of Magic album, Queen took an extended break. Rumors swirled about an impending breakup, but it turned out the break was brought on by a painful marital divorce for guitarist Brian May (who subsequently battled depression and contemplated suicide), and Freddie Mercury being diagnosed with AIDS. Instead of sinking further into misery, the band regrouped, worked on each other's mental state, and recorded one of their most inspired albums, 1989's The Miracle. Lyrically, the songs tend to reflect on the band's past accomplishments ("Khashoggi's Ship," "Was It All Worth It") as well as the state of the world in the late '80s (the title track, "I Want It All"). Produced by the band and David Richards, The Miracle packs quite a sonic punch, recalling the rich sounds of their past classics (1976's A Day at the Races, etc.). Split 50/50 between pop ("Breakthru," "The Invisible Man," "Rain Must Fall") and heavy rock (the aforementioned "I Want It All," "Khashoggi's Ship," "Was It All Worth It"), the album was another global smash, even re-establishing the band stateside (going Top 30 and attaining gold status). Along with The Game, The Miracle is Queen's strongest album of the '80s. ~ Greg Prato
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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Hollywood Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Hollywood Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

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
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released February 9, 2018 | Queen - Add-Ventures Records, Inc.

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Rock - Released November 4, 2016 | Hollywood Records

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Back in 1989 -- or 1995, if you're an American -- Queen released a collection called At the Beeb, which featured two BBC sessions recorded in February and December, 1973. The 2016 compilation Queen on Air trumps this by adding a July 1973 session along with two sessions from 1974 and one from 1977, all adding up to the band's complete appearances on the BBC. Comprehensiveness is a feather in the cap for Queen on Air for collectors, but the additional material reveals that Queen got better as they stuck around. Those early 1973 performances have a couple of classic songs -- namely, two different versions of "Keep Yourself Alive," and maybe "Great King Rat" -- but these sound thin and tentative compared to the recordings from 1974 and 1977 on disc two, where the band feels bigger and bolder, recognizing the value in space. Queen can still wander into amorphous territory -- "It's Late" descends into echoing mush -- but their muscle seems defined, as does their camp: by ending the set with "My Melancholy Blues," there's no question that Queen is arch, delivering each of their tunes with a wink. Such revelations are interesting, but the relatively limpness of Queen on Air does mean it's an archival release designed only for fans. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Hollywood Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Hollywood Records

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Hollywood Records

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It seemed like as good a moment as any for Hollywood Records to release a new Queen compilation: the recent Queen + Paul Rodgers tour, live album, American Idol appearance, and PBS concert special/DVD were generating plenty of publicity. There is already a slew of Queen compilations available, and given all this recent activity, one might expect a record company to release yet another in the hopes of cashing in, but Stone Cold Classics is still a good best-of disc. However, this album isn't a particularly well-rounded sampling of Queen's discography. Though no one could deny that these are all strong and important songs for any Queen fan or curious newcomer, it is odd that classics like "Killer Queen," "Under Pressure," and "I Want to Break Free" are mysteriously absent. With the singular exception of "These Are the Days of Our Lives," every song on Stone Cold Classics represents the hard rock side of Queen's repertoire. This is undoubtedly an area of strength for Queen, but by no means the group's only one. Especially with 1997's Rocks compilation taken into account, a greatest-hits CD featuring an 11-song smattering of the band's most well-known rock hits seems redundant, but the bonus tracks included at the end of the disc are very telling. Two live tracks of Queen and Paul Rodgers playing "All Right Now" and "Feel Like Makin' Love" -- hits the frontman made popular with '70s rock outfits Free and Bad Company -- serve as reminders of why this disc was released in the first place. Rodgers' raspy take on arena rock singing makes for an altogether heavy sound when he and Queen collaborate, one that isn't very well suited to the band's lighter material. Thusly, assuming that the selections on Stone Cold Classics were made in order to draw in new listeners to the original Queen recordings, then these tracks may well be the best possible choices. For potential fans whose first Queen experience has been with the new lineup -- and very likely during their appearance on American Idol -- this mix will create an easy transition from the new to the old. ~ Cammila Albertson
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Soul - Released June 13, 2018 | Grafton Entertainment

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Hollywood Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

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
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Rock - Released January 1, 2015 | Hollywood Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Hollywood Records

In one regard, Queen II does indeed provide more of the same thing as on the band's debut. Certainly, of all the other albums in Queen's catalog it bears the closest resemblance to its immediate predecessor, particularly in its lean, hard attack and in how it has only one song that is well-known to listeners outside of their hardcore cult: in this case, it's "Seven Seas of Rhye," which is itself more elliptical than "Keep Yourself Alive," the big song from the debut. But these similarities are superficial and Queen II is a very different beast than its predecessor, an album that is richer, darker, and weirder, an album that finds Queen growing as a band by leaps and bounds. There is still a surplus of ideas, but their energies are better focused this time around, channeled into a over-inflated, pompous rock that could be called prog if it wasn't so heavy. Even with all the queens and ogres that populate Queen II, this never feels as fantastical as Genesis or Uriah Heep, and that's because Queen hits hard as a rock band here, where even the blasts of vocal harmonies feel like power chords, no matter how florid they are. Besides, these grandiose harmonies, along with the handful of wistful ballads here, are overshadowed by the onslaught of guitars and pummeling rhythms that give Queen II majesty and menace. Queen is coiled, tense, and vicious here, delivering on their inherent sense of drama, and that gives Queen II real power as music, as well as a true cohesion. The one thing that is missing is any semblance of a pop sensibility, even when they flirt with a mock Phil Spector production on "Funny How Love Is." This hits like heavy metal but has an art-rock sensibility through and through, which also means that it has no true hook in for those who don't want to succumb to Queen's world. But that kind of insular drama is quite alluring in its own right, which is why Queen II is one of the favorites of their hardcore fans. At the very least, it illustrates that Queen is starting to pull all their ambitions and influences into a signature sound, and it's quite powerful in that regard. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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