Queen are one of those rare bands that reach out over generations. A silly amount of people own at least one Queen record, old and young, and with a back catalogue of hits that put other bands to shame, they show today’s one hit wonder televised talent show society just how you make music that lasts forever.
Some people may argue this is just another Queen Greatest hits album, but its much more than that. Featuring three new tracks which have been taken from previous recordings, stitched together with new sounds and re-mastered, this provides a new side to the ever evolving Queen, and brings Freddie back in for the ride where he belongs.
Let’s talk about the newies first. The album kicks off with Let Me In Your Heart Again, which is from around the same era as Radio Gaga and starts where the album means to go on – in big ballad territory. The track rises up amongst newly added tones and instrumental work with a gentle but powerful nature in a way that only Queen can do. Next we have Love Kills; its stripped back acoustic guitar sits perfectly next to Freddie’s vocals, which have been grabbed from an earlier dance track. It does feel a bit stringent and forthright for the band this time, but still hammers home the ballad feel much better than most. Finally we have There Must Be More To Life Than This, which is an interesting concept. Taking the vocals of not one, but two deceased megastars in Freddie and Michael Jackson, it gives you a weird feeling as you listen, and brings you right back to the present in the knowing that this wouldn’t have been attempted until recently– I wouldn’t put it past someone trying to arrange a holographic duet in the near future. This background does give the song a strangely beautiful innocence however, but maybe feels a little overblown in its present state. It also get’s a little Beatlesesque at the end which sounds a little out of place.
So we have a mixed bag for the new tracks, but what really helps out the album is the choice of songs to complement the new material. A lot of work has gone into choosing the right tracks in the right order with the right mentality, and it really shows. It’s a Hard Life reminds us of the bands ability to bring a tear to your eye, Who Wants to Live Forever shows off the cream of the crop when it comes to Queens many soundtrack efforts, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love helps us remember that they are just as good at pop as they are at balls out rock. These tracks are all placed in a way that is a continuation of the ballad feel, but without getting bogged down in it and feeling bland. In fact blandness doesn’t even enter your mind with the amount of originality on offer here.
What saves this album is the way the tracks complement each other, and although the new songs will never be hailed as classics, the old songs invite them in to huddle around their body warmth and cling to them like a new born baby. If ballads are your thing, this is a good album to but to see how it’s done by the greats.