Review Summary: Queen goes out with a bang due to a concentrated effort from the band to produce one final album. This features classic Queen tracks such as "Innueno", "These Are The Days Of Our Lives", and "The Show Must Go On"."There was all that time when we knew Freddie was on the way out, we kept our heads down."
This reflects the state of Queen circa 1990. Having just recently released The Miracle
in 1989, the band members knew that they needed to act fast, as it was becoming obvious that Freddie Mercury's time was limited. Rumours were still circulating about his diagonosis of AIDs, which at the time had yet to be confirmed to the public as true. Overall, Innuendo
is in a similar style to The Miracle
, but some may notice a slightly more mature sound, as the band is beginning to come to terms with Mercury's impending death. The album was praised by critics and reached strong commercial success, being their first album to go gold upon release since 1984's The Works
. The album also went to #1 in the UK along with several other European countries.
Starting off the album is Queen's most progressive song since the 1970s, Innuendo
. A song with quite a Brian May feel, even though Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor wrote most of the song. With a slow, marching feel during the verses, Mercury tends to take the center stage for all but the middle section of this song. It is during the middle in which the song begins to shine, with a cameo from Steve Howe of Yes
in the flamenco interlude. Once Brian May starts it back up on the electric guitar it comes out in full force until things wind back down into one final chorus, and then the end of the song.
I'm Going Slightly Mad
is another Mercury track, and a single as well. Much of the lyrics deal with his own illness and the dementia that he sometimes suffered from it.
"I'm one card short of a full deck
I'm not quite the shilling
One wave short of a shipwreck
I'm not my usual top billing"
Although the lyrics may be quite interesting, this song is musically lacking, as a repeated synth line is all we get that stands out in the song, with the drumwork being very generic on this track. Things pick back up again with the lead US single, Headlong
, a very upbeat song which features some heavy guitar work from Brian May. I personally enjoy the drumming from Roger Taylor in this song as well, as it works quite during the whole song. Generally a fun song that can easily be enjoyed.
I Can't Live With You
is another song that Brian May had originally written for his solo album, but it was converted into a Queen song. This is my least favorite song on the album, mostly due to the very pop-style of it, and the vocal melodies exceptionally weak. The track has a feel like it was a second tier track off of The Miracle
, due to the similarities in feel between the opening two tracks off of that album. After this is a quite underrated song, Don't Try So Hard
. A simply beautiful track in which Freddie Mercury displays an amazing vocal performance, entirely in falsetto. Dealing with trying your best, but not overshooting, this song can be taken as a very AIDs related song. For the most part, Freddie Mercury steals the show vocally, but also provides some great ambient keyboard work. Brian May also chimes in with a classic guitar solo.
The next two tracks show a dip in quality on the album. Ride The Wild Wind
is another Roger Taylor song that definitely had plenty of potential, but this is one of the few songs in that Freddie Mercury's vocal melodies do not sufficiently add to the song. For most part, it feels like the song is building up, but never ends up going anywhere. All God's People
is a song that came from Mercury's Barcelona
project, and is definitely a very unique track. For the most part it is an acquired taste, as the somewhat gospel-esque feel of the song can turn off several people, like me.
But thankfully Roger Taylor came through again with the lovely These Are The Days of Our Lives
. While the theme of the song and even the lyrics are extremely mellow, Freddie Mercury is able to sing it in a passionate way, looking back on his life in a positive manner. Brian May displays some amazing fills during the verses, and also one of his greatest guitar solos ever in what is quite possibly the most beautiful Queen song ever. John Deacon tosses in some solid basslines, and Taylor's drumwork fits in perfectly with the song. The music video for this song would be the last time Freddie Mercury was ever recorded on video, and I highly reccomend watching it.
Up next is a song devoted to Freddie Mercury's cat, Delilah
. While it is a fun song, nothing in the song stands out to the listener. It is one of the weaker tracks on the album, but it does serve as a nice twist to the themes of Mercury's death that are displayed on the album. The Hitman
is easily Queen's heaviest song ever, and is a great one as well. A very heavy metal like track, and it was actually written by Mercury, but Brian May changed the riff around slightly to make it heavier. Through the constant onslaught of May's guitar, one can find that John Deacon mixes it up on the bass to provide a great contrast to the feel of the song during some of the breaks. One of the stronger tracks on the album.
These last two songs are closely related if you ask me. Bijou
shows Brian May's most emotive guitar playing to date, and Freddie Mercury gives more immensely emotional vocals during the bridge. This song serves as a prelude to the final track, although the two are nothing alike musically. It is the calm before the storm, before the final burst of music, and the end of Freddie Mercury's career with Queen, and his life. Once the song ends, we enter The Show Must Go On
, one of the greatest Queen songs ever recorded, and in my opinion Mercury's greatest vocal performance ever. Following a format in which the same chord progression is repeated throughout the song, it is argubaly the only track in which every band member contributed. Brian May begins with some keyboard work, and continues with it through the whole song. The song finally picks up once we reach the first chorus, and doesn't stop from there. Throughout the song things get louder and louder, with more vocal harmonization and more of Brian May's lead guitar into the mix. He manages to cook up a classic guitar solo which segues into the beautiful bridge, when Mercury's vocals take a turn for the best. The chants of "I'll face it with a grin/I'm never giving in/On with the show!"
always send a chill down my spine. May's final guitar solo is always killer, and the final cry of Mercury at the end is an amazing end to the final track on Queen's final album.
Nine months later, Freddie Mercury would pass away due to complications from AIDs. He and the rest of Queen put forth their best effort to finish one last Queen album, and recorded a good one in the process. However, The Show Must Go On is not the last song Mercury ever sang on. Queen put in a few more recording sessions after the release of the album, and the last song he sang on was Mother Love
, featured o 1994's Made In Heaven
Queen - Innueno