Review Summary: Queen is crazier than ever. And better than anything, ever.
Queen's second album was released in the early 1974 with the very imaginative name "Queen II". Okay, how much that tile might lack in imagination, the music on the album does not. Queen II is 45 minutes of sheer musical madness, that probably covers more styles that other bands does in entire careers and everything is so ridicolous and overblown it's just crazy.
The album opens up with a wierd little instrumental, "Procession". This is really just an intro to the next track, the über-epic progressive stadium rocker "Father to Son", written by guitarist Brian May. Progressive because it suddenly turns away from all the happy sing-a-long chanting to some brutal heavy metal that was probably among the heaviest music ever recorded back in the days. After two minutes of this onslaught of musical chaos, it calms down to almost balladery for the rest of the song. Overall, the track is great and really shows you that Queen doesn't *** around.
More calm moments are to come after the ending of the suberb album opener. The next song is called White Queen and is also penned by Mr. May, and is so extremly beautiful. I can't find words for it, really... Okay, the lyrics is true crap at moments (So sad/Her eyes/As it began) but they chatch up and it turns into a heartfelt metal ballad of sort. It also got an almost symphonic middle-section, but in live performances and the alternative version recorded in the BBC studios (I got bootlegs...), the symphonic part is replaced by yet another piece of heavy metal. Overall, the track is very impressive and contains some of Queen's finest balladery ever. Far less impressive is the next song, the psychedelic ballad Some Day, One Day. The most interesting thing about this song is the triple solo guitars playing towards the end. Very elaborate and Queenish, altough the rest of the song is quite avarage. But the song is notable as it is the first song that Brian May sang lead vocals on.
Some Day One Day is followed by an out-of-place filler by Roger Taylor, "The Loser in the End". It features some hard rocking guitar work, and also features him on lead vocals. Nothing impressive though; I've never liked Roger's voice. This is the end of the first side (or white side, as it is called) of the album, a consistant piece of music with two real highlights in the start; the awesome epicness of Father to Son and the beautiful balladery of White Queen.
The second side (or black side) is entierly written by Mercury and consists out of Mercury kicking everybody in the world's ass when it comes to songwriting. It kicks of with the best song ever, Ogre Battle. This is a speedy, exciting metallic rocker with a poppish melody and brutal riffing. Also featured is the funniest lyrics ever, strange effects (the intro is actually the end of the song played in reverse) and excellent work by everyone in the band. Except of John Deacon's bass, which I can find distracting from the more than excellent guitar work. Sorry Deacy, but they should have mixed that bass down just a little bit.
Anyway, the best song ever is followed by two short tracks, the first got a long murdering title and is called "The Fairy-Feller's Master Stroke" and is some fine psychedelic rock with the usual crazy fantasy lyrics that was Mercury's almost trademark at this time (needless to say, Ogre Battle is about fantasy). Interestingly enough, the song is based on a painting and is the only Queen song with a harpsichord (or however it's spelled). It is followed by the short but amazingly beautiful ballad Nevermore, an underrated moment (it's just a minute long) that always chatch my attention and leaves me with a "goddamn, that was a nice ballad"-feeling.
It is followed by the most probably sickest piece of music ever, The March of the Black Queen. It is a almost seven minutes long progressive epic that switches genre and mood at least twice each minute. It got irrelevant fantasy lyrics revovling around some evil queen (or maybe even Freddie Mercury) that rules of all men and makes them do her bidding, while killing and ruling... Or something like that. Those lyrics are just so random and crazy, you'll do better by just ignoring them. Still, I wonder if it really is evil to not dot your I's?
After this piece of sheer crazy awesomeness comes the sole bad song on the album, the extremly corny pop parody Funny How Love Is. Ugh, this song is just so stupid. I know it's meant to be stupid, but still... I'm so sick of it I swear I'll kill myself if I hear Freddie wailing "Funny how love is [insert something stupid here]" again.
The albums picks up alot towards the last song, the piano driven, fast pop-rocker Seven Seas of Rhye. It was the only single released from the album and was a reasonable hit, and is probably the only moderatly known song on the album. Still, it kicks ass and got the same fun fantasy as everything else here.
So this album gets:
Production: 10/10 (Everything sounds perfect)
Ideas: 11/10 (It's crazy!)
Diversity: 9/10 (No ragtime, but that's the only flaw)
Guitar work: 11/10 (Brian May is god)
Bass work: 8/10 (Would have been higer, but, Ogre Battle is unforgivable)
Drums: 8/10 (Good but not perfect, sounds a bit strange in spots)
Vocals 11/10 (Freddie is god's god)
Artsyness: 9/10 (Sudden tempo changes, overall wierd sound)
Crazyness: 12/10 (Freddie got to release all of his crazyness here)
Heavyness: 10/10 (Some moments are pure brutal)
Procession/Father to Son: 9,5/10
White Queen: 10/10
Some Day, One Day: 6,5/10
The Loser in the End: 6,5/10
Ogre Battle: 10/10
The Fairly Feller's Master-Stroke: 7,5/10
The March of the Black Queen: 10/10
Funny How Love Is: 3/10
Seven Seas of Rhye: 9/10
Best song: Ogre Battle
Worst song: Funny How Love Is
Styles covered: Arena rock, progressive rock, heavy metal, balladery, psychedelia, hard rock, pop, glam rock, pop rock