Hi all and here is another album review from me. Before we get to the review itself, I should preface this by saying that I’m not a professional music geek or even a music writer. I’m just a fan of music who happens to have a passion for it which goes beyond listening to it, not unlike those who actually right about albums in magazines for a living.
Today, the long anticipated new album by Queen is out called Forever. I will start it off by saying, if Queen Rocks showcases the bands harder rocking material, then Forever is meant to highlight the ballads and softer songs. The exception to this (sort of) is I Was Born To Love You, which rocks as a Queen song but is more dance Flavored as a Freddie Mercury solo single.
The album starts off with Let Me In Your Heart Again, which was written by guitarist Brian May, who has written the majority of the bands heavier songs and sings the ones which are of more of a personal nature to him. There are a few of those songs on this album with his voice as lead and we will get into them as we go along.
This track was originally recorded for The Works in 1983 and you can tell because there is Brian’s guitar sound from a regular Vox amplifier and a Rock Man, which was used on The Works and A Kind Of Magic as the main amp on most songs. Just listen to the last 3 albums from Boston and some Deff Leppard songs from the 80s and you will hear what I mean.
The track features not just the original band and vocal track from Freddie but some new backing vocals from Brian as well. This was the first track I heard but not the first single or song available on iTunes for purchase. It is actually not a bad song for what the band were doing back in 1983. I don’t know how it would have fit on The Works with the rest of the songs which eventually appeared on it in 1984. This song should have been released years earlier, to hopefully revive the bands popularity in the US, whiched had wained from 1982 until 10 years later. However, it starts this compilation off nicely here. There is also a remix by William Orbit available on iTunes and I like that it brings out Freddie’s vocals more. All though the keyboard bass sometimes overpowers the other instruments. However, it is only a remix and I won’t complain about it.
Love Kills is the next track and this time it is a stripped down acoustic ballad as apposed to the original dance track it became in 1984 or the funky rocker in 1992. This is one of the few songs in the history of rock, which works well as both a funk rock track and a ballad. The playing by Brian and Roger is as good as it has ever been and really, what else can you say about the song?
There Must Be More To Life Than This comes next and is mixed by William Orbit. This track also features Michael Jackson and the original band track and Freddie’s vocals was taken from the Hot Space sessions. However, if you listen you can hear some new guitar parts from Brian near the end of the song. I actually like this version better than the original Freddie version on Mr. Bad Guy in 1985.
Now, as for the rest of the tracks on the album, it is not a compilation of the bands hits, not unlike Queen Rocks and there are some interesting trimmings that were done to some songs too.
Play The Game and You Take My Breath Away had the wash of synthesizer and vocals eliminated from the beginning and the end of each respective track. Play The Game normally starts with the wash of synth and then Freddie sings “Open up your mind and let me step inside.” The rest of the song is as it has always been and maybe this could be done for radio but I’m not sure.
You Take My Breath Away is intact except for the wash of vocals which are “take my breath away” that comes in at the end, after the piano rings out the last few notes. Again, I’m not sure why this was done. Maybe it was because of CD length but I’m not sure.
The tracks: Long Away, ’39 and Sail Away Sweet Sister are all sung by Brian May on the original and here as well. I’m glad that some songs that Brian has sung are getting further recognition on a compilation such as this. You can also say the same for Roger’s song Drowse from A Day At The Races, which also appears here too.
The track I Was Born To Love you fits because it is a love song in my opinion and thus, is the heaviest song on the album. However, I am glad it is here because it is a nice chnage of pace from the rest of it, which focuses more on the ballads and songs which are not necessarily hard rock.
The Miracle, Friends Will Be Friends and Who Wants To Live Forever were all big hits in the UK when they were released but not so much in North America. Thankfully they are also here as testaments to their greatness as Queen songs and as fan favourites. I am also glad that all 3 have been put here untouched except for the quicker faid of The Miracle. But despite this, it doesn’t edit out any important part of the song.
Lilly Of The Valley and Nevermore are interesting because on their respective albums they are linked with the previous track. On Queen ii Never More is linked with The Fairy Feller’s Master-stroke and on Sheer Heart Attack, Lilly Of The Baley is linked with Flick Of The Wrist. When I first read that both tracks were to be included I was rather unsure about how because of the links above. However, it was done and they bot now sound like separate songs, as they are.
Everything else on the album has appeared on other compilations except for the final track Forever, which is simply an instrumental piano version of Who Wants To Live Forever? which appears as a bonus track or on the 2011 Deluxe version of A Kind Of Magic. It serves as an appropriate ending to the album and thus, the title.
Over all, it is a very good compilation in its own right and as I said earlier, it can be said to be a companion piece to the Queen Rocks compilation released 17 years ago.
Another thing about this and the previous compilation is that both serve as a framework for the three volume compilation Deep Cuts, which came out in 2011, as all the Queen albums were rereleased on Universal Music everywhere but North America. All you need to do is go on Wikipedia and compare the track listings with all 5 albums and you will see there is a reason why those lesser known tracks appeared.
The other thing about both Queen Rocks and Forever is that they also included some hit singles which also were left off Deep Cuts. The two albums together plus the Greatest Hits compilations make up a large part of the Queen catalog. Although, there is no deluxe version of Queen Rocks and there is one for Forever. This makes me wonder if Queen will ever consider rereleasing Queen Rocks in 2017 as a standard and Deluxe version. I think there is enough material in the heavier side of Queen for a 2 or 3 CD set. Forever has a 20 track version and a 36 track deluxe version! Why not rerelease Queen Rocks with both?
Anyway, I hope you get a chance to either purchase it from iTunes or physically. This compilation is indeed worth it.