Queen and Paul Rodgers
The Cosmos Rocks


2.5
average

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
September 28th, 2008 | 22 replies | 6,967 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Queen - Freddie Mercury + Paul Rodgers =/= rockin' good time.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

We all knew it was coming.

Anyone with a functioning brain could easily tell you that Queen died with Freddie Mercury’s tragic passing in 1991. This has not stopped guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, however, from cashing in on Queen. It started with the posthumous Made in Heaven- pushing the envelope a little, certainly, but a nice enough send-off to the classic line-up. From here, however, May and Taylor (without bassist John Deacon, who wisely retired in 1997) didn’t so much push the envelope as rip it open, turn the paper into confetti and throw it over Mercury’s grave. From soulless reworkings of Queen hits with commercial pop stars to a superfluous (yet admittedly enjoyable) musical entitled We Will Rock You, the remaining half of Queen were willing to put their name to anything.

Enter Paul Rodgers. Up until this point, Rodgers had been best known as the vocalist in bands like Free and Bad Company, his masculine roars miles away from Freddie’s layered falsetto and eccentricities. Regardless, May asked Rodgers to sing lead vocals in a new collaboration, and Queen + Paul Rodgers was born. After a few years of greatest hits tours, the trio finally did what we feared all along- releasing new material under the Queen name without the man that made the band who they were.

With this little history lesson in tact, you would certainly be forgiven for going into The Cosmos Rocks a sceptic. The million dollar question, however- if one removes the subjectivity and bias towards Mercury, is this album really worth the effort? For the most part, the answer is unfortunately a no.

Despite Brian May’s claims of a real chemistry between himself and Rodgers, this is certainly not present for the bulk of the album. A lot of the time, it really does not sound as if Rodgers is connected with his musical surroundings at all- a separate entity entirely, almost competing with May’s big rock licks and Taylor’s big rock drums. There is no real qualm to be had with Paul Rodgers as a singer- he was nicknamed “The Voice” in his prime for a reason. However, it is almost immediately noticeable how out of place Rodgers sounds at times on the album.

The horrendous lyrics that haunt the record’s entirety don’t help this much further. The subject matter boils down to two hugely ludicrous themes. The first is having a rockin’ (always without the g) good time- see all of “Cosmos Rockin” or the affirmation in “Still Burnin” that “rock’n’roll will never die!”, complete with a sample from “We Will Rock You”. The second is realising your dreams/having them come true- “Surf’s Up…School’s Out!” boasts “For a perfect life, find a perfect girl/You gotta follow that dream to a perfect world”, whilst “Time To Shine” gets sickeningly pseudo-inspirational with the chorus of “Raise up your voice!/It’s time to shine!”. None of these men are above average lyricists, this is a given- Taylor, after all, is responsible for a song entitled “I’m In Love with My Car”. However, the preposterous drivel that is spouted here is certainly not a demonstration of what these men are capable of.

When the cheese is layered on in The Cosmos Rocks, the boys don’t do it by half measure- it comes in thick masses without a trace of irony or humour. The six-minute travesty that is “We Believe” is quite possibly the worst song to be written this century- and given its stiff competition, this is a bold statement to make. But just to think the band created this ghastly power ballad with a straight face- packed with space synth, marching rhythm and why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along lyrics- comes close to making one feel physically ill. Not to be outdone, “Say It’s Not True” will have fans screaming the same thing. Whilst its intentions are sweet (AIDS is bad, it could happen to anyone, etc), the song is so ridiculously overproduced that any sentiment is lost the second Taylor’s horribly multi-tracked higher-octave whine kicks in.

The Cosmos Rocks, thankfully, isn’t entirely without merit. Some saving grace emerges in the form of a fantastic single, “C-lebrity”- a song that is certainly generic and cliché in subject matter, yet rocks far too hard to care. The song’s main structure sees Rodgers confidently parade his voice over Brian May’s snarling, dense guitar that sounds like it could have even been pinched from Mick Mars’ arsenal. Even better is when the song glazes over and transforms into a vivacious U2-esque chorus, heralded by a synth-laden mantra from Taylor and an unfortunately hardly recognisable Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters fame. This is the one case where Queen + Paul Rodgers actually sound united and working off one another.
Musically, the target is pretty much nailed as well. May and Taylor may have become money-hungry pigs in the midst of a mid-life crisis, but by God they can still play. Brian’s fiery electric guitar is as bluesy and versatile as it was thirty years ago, and his self-accompanying bass tessellates surprisingly well. John’s drums, whilst tweaked beyond perfection, are rhythmically tight and fitting to the kind of songs the band is attempting.

Having said that, one outstanding track and veteran musicianship simply is not enough to save Queen + Paul Rodgers. All three of these men saw the dollar signs after the success of the first tour, and things have just gotten sour from this point.
One of the main criticisms The Cosmos Rocks is certain to receive is the fact that it’s not Queen. Tragically, there’s more to it than that- it’s just not very good.



Recent reviews by this author
The Presets PacificaLast Dinosaurs In A Million Years
Every Time I Die Ex LivesDarren Hayes Secret Codes and Battleships
Wanda Jackson The Party Ain't OverPhrase Babylon
user ratings (13)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheStarclassicTreatment
September 28th 2008



2910 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album fucking sucks.

badtaste
September 28th 2008



824 Comments


Good review. The wannabe em dashes kill me though, haha.

AtavanHalen
September 28th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wannabe em?

badtaste
September 28th 2008



824 Comments


Wannabe 'em dashes'.

AtavanHalen
September 28th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sorry, not following.

bastard
September 28th 2008



3435 Comments


Okay, while this isn't too great, it is better than Queen very last few efforts with Freddie Mercury.

Review, however, is pretty great.

johnnyblaze
September 28th 2008



2603 Comments


It hurt my feelings seeing them play C-lebrity on Kimmel.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 28th 2008



7326 Comments


Good review
Probably won't be checking this out, because as you say, it just isnt Queen without Freddie Mercury

AtavanHalen
September 28th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It hurt my feelings seeing them play C-lebrity on Kimmel.

They did? I'll have to see that, I've only seen them do it on Al Murray.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2008



20856 Comments


This was a really well-balanced review Dave. Well done, as I do not think it would at all be an easy album to sum up.

AtavanHalen
September 29th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I tried not to let my bias get in the way, but dammit this album gets frustrating.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2008



20856 Comments


I don't think you let your bias get in the way at all... In fact, I am not even certain which way your bias leans, if it exists at all. The rating seems fair with what you stated in the review and you state the positives & negatives well.

In fact, this is worthy of a positive vote.This Message Edited On 09.29.08

AtavanHalen
September 29th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

My bias is toward the original Queen, who are pretty much Gods to me.

Sciroccu
October 2nd 2008



758 Comments


If they are honest and sincere why don't they create a new band with a new name and not try to surf on queen' name (pretty much gods for a lot of people I think) ? If they are good it should work the same way.This Message Edited On 10.02.08

thelawler
October 3rd 2008



42 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's sad to see they carried on the Queen name after Freddie's passing, because Freddie's vocals defined Queen, If they wanted to continue they should have used a different name for the band, so they wouldn't get constant comparison's to Freddie (who is one of the greatest if not the greatest vocalist of all time), I tried to give this album a fair chance but it is no good!

Drew115
October 16th 2008



2 Comments


I'm sorry I'm a little confused. Can someone explain "self-accompanying bass" to me?

I noticed there isn't a bassist, so how does a self-accompaniment work?

AtavanHalen
October 16th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Brian May played all the bass on this album himself.

TNY
October 19th 2008



571 Comments


May should be lynched for allowing this to happen.

PanasonicYouth
October 19th 2008



7411 Comments


I saw them play live with Rodgers on TV a while ago and it was just.... Fucking terrible. I'm staying the hell away from this mess.

AtavanHalen
October 19th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wise decision.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy