Review Summary: Coincidentally “Made in Heaven” was going to be the name of Freddie’s first ‘solo album,’ before he went with “Mr Bad Guy.” To the credit at least has a new album feel to it, although all of the remakes don’t stand near to their originals.
In ‘1995,’ five years after the death of lead singer ‘Freddie Mercury,’ ‘Queen’ released what would turn out to be supposedly their last bunch of songs (With Freddie on vocals anyway). Well some are new whilst the others are re-makes of previous ‘Freddie Solo’ material (“Made in Heaven,” “I was born to love you”), old 80’s single b-sides (“My life has been saved”) and there’s even a re-make of a song by ‘Roger Taylor’s’ short lived band ‘The Cross’ (“Heaven for everyone”). Even a past ‘Brian May’ hit has Freddie seemingly singing it from beyond the grave (“Too Much love will kill you”).
Coincidentally “Made in Heaven” was going to be the name of Freddie’s first ‘solo album,’ before he went with “Mr Bad Guy.” To the credit at least has a new album feel to it, although all of the remakes don’t stand near to their original predecessors.
As for the rest they seem more like leftovers from ‘1991’s’ “Innuendo,” admittingly not bad leftovers, but still not great either. This, when you really look into it, makes Made in Heaven more a B-side or redo collection than an actual album release.
The album actually, for a change, starts of like the name of the album title. We have some misty heavenly synthesized sounds, before a piano belts a chord and ‘Freddie bellows “It’s a beautiful Day.” The song is a fine, if not decent mellow tune. Freddie goes on about how “No one is gonna stop him now,” and how he can become ‘very, very sad.’
The first ‘Freddie solo’ song covered is “Made in Heaven.” Sadly the roaring guitars of Brian cannot do as well as the Freddie Piano solo on the original “Mr Bad Guy” release, actually some of the things that made the song great ‘honesty and cleverness’ are lost here as the band try to make it into a rock anthem instead of a song.
Next up is a newbie called “Let me Live.” I am not sure if it was ever truly finished because it’s actually has Freddie, Brian, and Roger on vocals. Saying that though it does work, although the gospel chorus seems more forced than great. A decent if not average tune anyway.
The mellow “Mother Love,” was actually the last ever Queen song to be recorded (Well up until No one but you and that 2008 album I’ll be reviewing in a couple of reviews time). It’s a good one too. Freddie starts with:
“I don’t want to sleep with you,
I don’t want those feelings too”
Whether or not this song is about Freddie looking back on the fact that he has aids or not, is actually interesting. Brian also lends a hand on the vocals too, again like “Let me Live” one has too wonder if this song was actually ever finished before Freddie’s death.
“My life has been saved” was originally a b-side to ‘1989’s’ top 30 UK hit “Scandal.” Whilst the original was a ‘80’s’ style ‘Power Ballad,’ this version has been revved up to ‘90’s’ standards. It’s no better or worse than the original, although the ‘woo’ ending is an improvement but there’s no “I’m and I’m blind, I don’t know what’s coming to me,” speech from Freddie, that ended the original, which is kinda sad.
“I was born to love you,” was originally a brilliant Freddie Mercury Pop Song, which was clever and witty. Sadly the ‘Queenified version’ on Made in Heaven has taken all that out and left us with a POWERPUF ROCK BALLAD. OK it’s not terrible but when you think back to how great this song was originally it does kinda make you mad. There is something great though even to this. At the end Freddie belts out “It’s Magic,” referring back to the ‘1986’ hit “A Kind of Magic,” before Brian belts back “What?” that was admittingly kind of funny.
The single from the album comes next. “Heaven for Everyone,” which was originally from Roger Taylor’s band ‘The Cross.’ That version had Freddie on vocals. Whilst the original was whimsical, this version was more tune/commercially accessible orientated. This is no bad thing. The beginning with the heavenly vocal style of “This could be heaven” also brings back the intro of the first song “It’s a beautiful day.” It kinda brings back memories of Queen’s ‘1976’ hit “Somebody to Love,” but done in a more chill out mode, which also is no bad thing. A definite highlight of the album.
“Too much love will kill you,” turns out to be one of the best things on the album. A few years earlier Brian released his own version of the song which would be a big hit worldwide (except the US naturally). His version was very delicate and the middle section acoustic solo is perhaps one of his most finest hours. On this version Freddie sings with a lot of passion, and instead of an acoustic middle section we get a rip-roarious rock solo.
It also has one of the bands most memorable opening lines since ‘1986’s’ “Who wants to live forever.”
“I’m just the pieces of the man I used to be,
Too many bitter pills are raining down on me.”
An absolute gem and it doesn’t matter what version you prefer because both are great.
Next comes ‘chill out, dance tune’ “You don’t fool me.’ It actually sounds as if it wouldn’t have been out of place in ‘1982’s’ “Hot Space album, as it has that “Las Palabras de Amor” feel to it. Although the synthesizers of the 90’s definitely outdo the synthesizer’s of the 80’s. Still when Roger bellows out gently “You don’t fool me,” with Freddie’s ‘La, la, la’ chorus section, it does end up being a cool ending to an otherwise average chill out, dance number.
“A Winters Tale,” has a ‘Christmas style’ feel to it. Not like the awful “Thank God it’s Christmas,” but more of an old man reflecting on what’s around him and how beautiful life really is.
“Dreaming- So quiet and peaceful,
Dreaming- What a magnificent scene.”
Freddie’s last words on this song are “Oh it’s bliss,” and the song is kinda bliss too.
The last song (bar untitled instrumental) is a ‘reprise’ of the first song “It’s a beautiful day.” It’s very similar to the first version, only that at the end there’s a belting ‘Brian May’ guitar solo, that eventually sends the song to a crescendo ending.
OK, so bar the 23 minute piece that I’m gonna call “Yeah- It’s a Beautiful Day,” because a track says ‘Yeah,’ no really. And the rest is a 23 minute, chill out extension of “It’s a beautiful day.” So you get it?
OK so was “Made in Heaven” really made in heaven? Or was it really hell? Well here’s a little heavenly recap.
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Average, chill out song. Starts well but kinda goes no where. 2.5/5
MADE IN HEAVEN
Rocking beats take out the original honesty of this song. 2/5
LET ME LIVE
Gospel Choir kinda ruins this. 2/5
It’s a good reflective song, not quite good enough to be great though. 3/5
MY LIFE HAS BEEN SAVED
Below average affair. Was that back in 1989 and still is in 1995. 2/5
I WAS BORN TO LOVE YOU
How to make a great pop song, dreadful. Only the ending ‘MAGIC!’ section saves this 1.5/5
HEAVEN FOR EVERYONE
One of the rare moments of excellence on this album. 4/5
TOO MUCH LOVE WILL KILL YOU
Another rare moment of excellence. Best mellow tune since “Who wants to live forever” 5/5
YOU DON’T FOOL ME
Average Pop/Chill Out/Dance tune. 2.5/5
A WINTERS TALE
Good reflective song. But like Mother Love not quite excellent. 3/5
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY (REPRISE)
Kinda pointless as it just repeats the first song and offers nothing really new. Still the guitar solo ending was cool. 1.5/5
That gives Made in Heaven an average of 2.72.
So to compare to others.
Queen II 2.59
Sheer Heart Attack 3
A Night at the Opera 3.96
A day at the races 2.59
News of the world 2.4
The Game 3.15
Hot Space 2.86
The Works 2.33
A Kind of Magic 2.44
The Miracle 2.8
Not a bad album, but it doesn’t really have any truly redeeming features either. Other than “Heaven for Everyone” and “Too much love will kill you,” the rest comes out as average. Yes, I’ll admit it has a different feeling to normal ‘Queen Albums’ but there’s nothing really special on offer here. It does at the end feel like a collection of songs forced together than an album (although it has been done reasonably well) still that doesn’t make this a bad album, just not a good one.
Greatest Hits III
The Platinum Collection
On Fire- Live at the Bowl
The Cosmic Rocks
Then I’ll be getting to something different.