Greatest Hits one. Maybe I’ll do my other Queen CDs or some other bands… depends how this goes. It’s my first review so I would love some feedback… good or bad its all helpful! Thanks:
From the outstanding 'Don't Stop Me Now', to the Epic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' through 'I Want to Break Free' to the truly heart-wrenching 'No-One But You'; it is hard not to amaze at the sheer striking magnificence of what Queen have achieved... Whether you are a fan or not, there will be songs that grab you. Forget the cynics who think 'The Platinum Collection' is only a gimmick to rake in the cash, another sub-standard 'Greatest Hits' collection, this is simply put, one of the most unrivalled collection of hits and classics on any CD around and a terrific choice for an introduction to a terrific band. Furthermore, this collection of three CDs is only £14.99 in HMV, and Greatest Hits I alone is that much…. CRAZY! You’d be mad not to! Incase that doesn’t persuade you to it… Here’s the review….
Disk one, is in my opinion, the stand out disk, and that’s not just because of Bohemian Rhapsody and We Are The Champions, no what truly makes this disk is the incredible songs in between. Sure Bohemian Rhapsody is to many, like a bomb going off, but how many times have we all heard about this song? Sure it’s great fun and never ceases to amaze, however this disk has more excitement to me in the following tracks so with all due respect to the song… I won’t bore you more than anyone else has. Another One Bites The Dust is again, one of those songs. People will go nuts for it, just because of its famous connotations, however, admittedly a fine song by John Deacon with one of the most renowned bass riffs there is, instantly catches you with the funky drums and bass riffs, the guitar subtly mimics the bass line before we are treated to the opening of the lyrics with a sudden “Let’s Go”. Killer Queen is where the CD kicks off for me. Opening with some lone finger clicks, followed casually by a harpsichord and Freddie’s un-failing vocals, John’s Bass fill brings it all in. Vocals aside, this is very much a guitar song, Brian May dominates the song with his jazzy rhythm, layered guitars… when he’s playing in the song that is. But come to the solo and again his playing shines through, soloing in Queen is what he is for. The raunchy Fat Bottomed Girls seems a little bit of a let down after coming down from the high that is Killer Queen, however as a standalone song, is still typical of Queen, layered vocals, simple yet incredible riffs and ideas. Bicycle Race follows, a song with a chorus that is simply impossible to forget, and a bridge section you’re gonna laugh at, whilst appreciating admirably. Built on a Call and Response style, Bicycle Race has a smart approach to the music, the lines all weave continuously together, flowing as one, emphasising the power behind Freddie’s Vocals. “Jaws was never my scene and I Don’t like Star Wars!” Whilst not one of the strongest, a great song with incredibly catchy verses.
Also taken from the breakthrough 1978 Jazz album, You’re My Best Friend is a jovial ditty, opening with an electric piano, and drum roll accompanied by the refrain, “Oohhh you’re making me live.” The un-sung hero of the song, is also its creator, John Deacon... and all due credit given to him. Underneath the classic Queen layers, guitar, vocals upon vocals, drums and if you have a keen ear, a Xylophone, the work on the bass is very nice, littered with run downs and fills. I guess this is what makes the song for me. Don’t Stop Me Now is my personal all time favourite Queen song, a song primarily built around Freddie’s piano work, also voted Top Gear’s ‘Best Driving Song of All Time.’ (For those of you that saw it.) The opening is a pure regal dream, which quickly turns into the fast paced melody that I love so much. The Lyrics are a standout point, beautifully crafted and fantastic to envisage. “I’m burning through the sky yeah, 200 degrees that’s why they call me Mr Fahrenheit.” Again, another contender for my favourite Queen guitar solos before coming along to finish, clocking in at 3.31 just as royally as the song had begun…
Save Me features some of Brian May’s best guitar work, which isn’t taking a solo; I would say ‘rhythm’ but it provides so much more, an eerie harmony with the piano, combined with the emotion in Freddie’s vocal line singing these heartfelt lyrics, are enough to sadden anyone in the right mood. And again, much underrated bass work, very well done. A poignant ballad with a hard hitting chorus, this is the song that pulls Queen together, all independent lines running along together in such perpetual unison. Crazy Little Thing Called Love, a 50’s Rock n Roll styled song, the result of a completely new recording environment for the band, is a very well known Queen song, not entirely a true representation of the Queen sound, however a brilliant chance to see how the band take to other stylings of music.
Somebody to Love is a good example of Queen’s complex multi-layered vocal arrangements. A heartfelt statement about Love basically, with a beautiful accapello (pardon my spelling??) introduction before the piano line comes in, bringing a strange feeling of loneliness… it’s weird because it works. It makes everything seem so… isolated… the song appears to start again… but properly with the entire band and instruments, “Each morning I get up, I die a little” possibly meaning more here than anywhere else because of that introduction. I’m sorry it’s just great. The chorus is a wonderful composition of vocal lines, peppered with guitar licks shortly after, and soon followed by yet another solo, courtesy of Brian May. The next highlight of this song is the break, the song falls down and again, accompanied by very little instrumentation, the vocals bring it up. Memorable to the very last second. Now I’m Here has possibly in my opinion the weakest start of the album; however, once you get into the 40 second mark, it kicks off, whilst not as ‘classic’ as some of the other songs featured on the album, nether the less still good to listen to, however you are left wondering, if it weren’t for the guitar, what drives this song?
Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy is a highly cheesy romantic song. All the clichés are there: “I can do the tango just for two; I can serenade and gently play on your heartstrings, be a Valentino just for you.” However, don’t let this deter you; a great song is hidden behind the cheesy first 19 seconds. Accompanied by simple yet highly effective and inspiring bass line and jazzy piano, the song takes a dive in the break at 1:23, slowing its pace and somewhat slowing the way the song flows, but not before Brian Boy decides to take another solo… again it fits so well it makes for such great listening. Play the Game starts with some synthesised effects drawing into a lone piano/vocal duet followed shortly by a lifting sort of bass line that flows melodically underneath. The song features some nice drum work from Roger Taylor and yet another guitar solo… however strangely we’re not tired of them yet. As always it seems to fit just as well as ever.
Flash is the soundtrack to the film ‘Flash Gordon’ a slightly more tedious number, with calls of ‘Flash’ being shouted in between a pumping rhythm, intersected with sections of dialogue from the film itself, it practically tells you the story. In fact, if you’re thinking of viewing the film, listen to this instead, it probably makes more sense, features some amazingly well sung vocals, as normal but at a standout, AND it wraps up the entire story in 2:48. Seven Seas of Rhye is an up tempo song incorporating glitzy keys work again but for once, the solo is sub par to the usual standards. A rolling type bass line, nothing much really, reflects the song in many ways but still definitely worth a listen, it may be more to your liking than mine. Oh and can’t forget the ending to the song itself, you’ve got to wonder how they got that to work… “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…” 2 minutes and 50 seconds after the beginning of Seven Seas of Rhye, we are treated to the classically familiar sounds of foot stamps and claps…
A world famous sporting anthem, We Will Rock You is effectively lyrics over everyone’s favourite easy drum beat. Bah, I wonder how long it took him to come up with that one eh? No bass and no guitar… until the end where Brian decides to show a little talent again in the form of a solo, in which he brings the song into a close. We are the Champions is again a world renowned sporting anthem… if only for the chorus. Instantly recognisable, impossible to forget, I say this because if for some deluded reason you think you’ve never heard this song before, take a listen. I guarantee you have, at some place, some time. The guitar and keys again are feature points of the song; however it is undeniably the vocals that lead the song.
Don’t Stop Me Now
Somebody To Love
Some great bass work featured on many tracks, but you have to listen for it.
Most of the guitar Solos
Multi-Layered vocals are the prominent features that take this Queen’s crown.
£14.99 for Three CDs and this is just the first…
Fat bottomed Girls
Freddie’s dead and is replaced by Paul Rogers, and John no longer plays! :(
Note: I’m dreadfully sorry if this review is too long, I understand completely, however if you like smaller parts of it, please tell me which, I’ll fix where I’m going wrong and concentrate on what you like of it. Thanks for any help and your understanding, however if you hate it all that’s equally o.k. I would just like to know.