Queen
The Game


4.0
excellent

Review

by Necrotica USER (194 Reviews)
May 20th, 2013 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A logical next step after Jazz.

Chapter VIII: A Bold Shift

Jazz was easily one of Queen's most controversial records, many publications believing that the band were getting too over-the-top for their own good. Indeed, the album was very free-spirited and energetic even for Queen; Rolling Stone even went on to say that the band "may be the first truly fascist rock band." As if the band didn't already get a bunch of attention for their eclecticism and bombast, this just added more fuel to the proverbial fire. So with the band's first 80s effort The Game, the band decided to switch things up a bit. Instead of their traditional campy rock and layered production sound, Queen chose to create a more focused hard rock record and mix in a few sounds previously uncharacteristic of their style.

The biggest shift in the band's sound for this album is that they finally embrace synthesizers. After years of following a "no-synthesizer" policy, the opening track "Play the Game" immediately throws the rule out the window with the frantic keyboard intro that kicks it off. That's not to say that the band had forgotten their roots with this record; they were simply expanding their horizons, as well as experimenting with sounds that were popular at the time. There's also a noticeable emphasis on dance music this time around, something that would continue with their 1982 effort Hot Space. "Another One Bites the Dust" was the biggie when it came to the band's success with this genre, with a funky bass line that beginning bassists emulate to this day. That very song represents the other big change in the group's sound: it sounds a hell of a lot more restrained than their previous efforts. There's a distinct lack of bombast and stadium-filling choruses on this record, the band instead opting for a sound that's more reminiscent of Journey or another pop/rock band of their nature at the time. The difference is that Queen add their trademark sound to this style, giving it some extra personality.

Indeed, there are still elements of the band's old style present. "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is an amazing rockabilly song filled with Freddie Mercury's typical sense of pastiche and fun, while the explosive chorus of the closing piano ballad "Save Me" is absolutely heartwarming despite the sense of desperation the song's lyrics suggest. Songs like "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Dragon Attack" are really where the change in sound is most apparent. Unfortunately, you'll have to get the hate mail ready... I don't like "Dragon Attack." It sounds like a boring mid-tempo rehash of what "Another One Bites the Dust" already accomplished before, and it's not all that exciting. The bass line, while sort of fun, wears out its welcome pretty quickly; a later highlight "Don't Try Suicide" makes much better use of John Deacon's bass work, especially when combined with the finger snaps and Brian May's Police-like guitar chords. The ballads, on the other hand, are generally fantastic; there's not a weak one here. "Play the Game" and "Save Me" are solid piano-driven numbers that benefit from infectious vocal harmonies and heavy emotional weight, while "Sail Away Sweet Sister" stands out as one of Brian May's best tunes. His somber vocals and John Deacon's melodic bass lines during the verses work together perfectly, while the chorus is extremely climactic and definitely worth waiting through the song's slow tempo to get to it.

The reason this is only a 4/5 and not higher is because some of the restrained songs really come back and bite the band in the ass. As I said, "Dragon Attack" is pretty damn bland; so are "Rock It" and "Coming Soon," both being extremely average rockers that feel like obvious filler. However, as with many of Queen's records, the songs that are good are extremely good. In fact, the goodies here can be absolutely amazing at times. So while there are some flaws and bland songs, The Game is definitely worth your time. It's more restrained, sure, but there are so many songs to root for that it doesn't really matter in the end. Their next few records, however, are quite a different story; stay tuned for Chapter IX.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Necrotica
May 20th 2013


10583 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yup.

pizzamachine
May 20th 2013


13872 Comments


I lost the game.

Great review man! 'twas basically perfect.

Necrotica
May 20th 2013


10583 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dammit, I lost too x(



And thanks! I'm just trying to make a definitive Queen discog review. I'll probably go back and re-review Queen II since I made that poem-review thing :P

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2013


11314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A really enjoyable album and once again a great review Brendan. I'll be waiting for your Queen II review as it's one of my all-time favorites.

Digging: Dio - Magica

tempest--
May 20th 2013


20626 Comments


This one is great, but I agree, it had potential, but a few dud tracks kind of hold it back.

deslad
May 20th 2013


624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. Indeed, The Game is an amusing album.

facupm
May 20th 2013


11329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Such a funny album, good review

Necrotica
May 20th 2013


10583 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the comments! Yeah, this thing's pretty awesome

facupm
May 21st 2013


11329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

its kinda inconsistent, but good nonetheless

gfdhicool
August 4th 2013


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Side 2 of this album makes me sad .

SeanEase
April 4th 2014


3 Comments


Dragon attack was fN epic. But great review

tempest--
April 4th 2014


20626 Comments


agreed user gfdhicool side two is pretty weak but its still queen i.e. the best band ever

facupm
April 4th 2014


11329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not quite but good band

manosg
Staff Reviewer
April 4th 2014


11314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Side two is weaker but still has Save Me and Sail Away so it's ok.

facupm
April 4th 2014


11329 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

comiiiin soon



agreed side 1 is quite better





deslad
April 5th 2014


624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed, side 1 is slightly better.

HalfManHalfAmazing
February 7th 2015


1968 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i thought the first two songs were pretty meh but i love everything after

MrSirLordGentleman
July 23rd 2015


11991 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Another One Bites de_dust

TVC15
May 25th 2018


9817 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sail Away Sweet Sister is so fucking nice goddam

Digging: Therapy? - Infernal Love



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