Review Summary: A melancholic album that sums up an historical journey, redeeming the band from the mistakes of the previous works
Innuendo or the testament of Queen.
After the Eighties, in which the predominant musical approach was a simple formula for everyone, with the beginning of the Nineties, and particularly with the release of this album, the place is given to a new musical research, which in his complexity it can only postpone to the first works of the band.
However, the substancial difference between Innuendo and works like A night at the opera is the gloomy and melancholic atmosphere that surrounds the entire album. Freddie Mercury, which knows that hourly his serious disease will deprive the world of his voice, sings with his last forces reaching the peak already in the immense opening track: a mini-suite that sums up the whole musical journey of the band with great artistic maturity. It starts like an hard rock march (inspired by the spanish bolero), then goes to the unexpected flamenco solo played by the superb Yes guitarist, Steve Howe, to flow immediately after in a classic bridge that reminds the opera session of Bohemian Rhapsody, until the Brian May solo and the final hard rock march structured in complex odd timing (5/4 alternated to 3/4). The sound core of this track it only can constitute an effective union of progressive rock, glam rock and opera: an authentic return to the seventies baroquism.
Therefore, it cannot miss the theatrical taste of I’m going slightly mad: a vaudeville in glam sauce, as fun as it is melodramatic and gloomy, where Mercury ironizes on his state of madness, implying his physical condition. The track structure is characterised by a rigid and tight rhythm that gives it a disturbing and tense atmosphere. The only dinamic elements are the keyboards pattern that replaces the guitar phrases, the guitar solo on the bridge, and obviously the voice line, which enters in an experimental view with All god’s people: a track overloaded of high notes where is possible to listen the highest notes ever recorded by Mercury. All god’s people is an atypical and suggestive gospel (very far from the hilarity of Somebody to love) that flows into a soul/r & b bridge characterised by unexptected accelerations and decelerations of rhythm.
With Headlong and I can’t live with you returns the hard rock soul of the band: in the two tracks predominate, in fact, the wild and cutting riffing of May, and the enthralling drums of Taylor. The hitman follows the same direction, but in a sound way much more violent and heavy, while the rock ride of Ride the wild wind puts aside the guitar riffing to leaves more space to the bass line’s fullness of Deacon.
However, the melancholic atmosphere of the album is spread at his maximum in which that are some of true “musical farewells”. The delicate and touching pop ballads: Don’t try so hard and These are the days of our lives, where the vitality of Mercury's voice it collides with his inexorable fate; the guitar crying of Bijou, roused by the short but deep starting vocal session, and the last song of the band: The show must go on. A pure and emotional art rock, in which Mercury, now at the end of his life, decided to leave to his audience his last masterpiece, succeeds to reach very high notes without the use of falsetto.
On November 24 in 1991 Freddie Mercury died of pneumonia caused by Aids. The magical story of Queen closes with this sad event.