17 August 2013

Queen - A Kind Of Magic

Not to sure on where to start with this offering from Queen. Original soundtrack to The Highlander perhaps? Can't really say as only half the album was played on the Christopher Lambert movie, and their opening track figured prominently in another, Iron Eagle. Those of you who have already seen the former film will certainly note that the Roger Taylor written title track is taken from it as well as a few "borrowed lines".

By the mid 1980s it seemed that then the English quartet had reached the pinnacle of their career following their show stealing form in Live Aid and had rejuvenated interest in their cutting of the music. Perhaps the funk was back? This was their final tour accompanying album and back then as an easily impressionable 12 year old first hearing it I felt quite endeared to it. Now I did comment recently that Queen aren't really an albums band, and a fellow bloggist has stood up and taken issue with that, so I will concede that I was probably too harsh on that front.

First of all, One Vision hasn't lost any of its anthemic punch and majestic reach to the masses, in fact, it still feels as fresh as when this take was first made. Title track as I said earlier was inspired by a few killer lines from The Highlander and I do still enjoy listening to the orchestral love theme Who Wants To Live Forever and threatens to bring out one or two goose pimples in me.

Now my concerns. There's one or two tracks of side one, if such a thing still exists, that are a wee bit over sweetened for my tastes. Freddie Mercury's falsettos aren't really adept to what is essentially a rock album, but easy to see what inspired Mika. However, you can't blame Mr. Mercury for trying something a little offbeat, like the saxophone accompanied One Year Of Love. Friends Will Be Friends as a filler was a favourite of mine 25 years ago before I started listening to their earlier stuff.

Gimme The Prize lends rather heavily on a few Highlander soundtrack clips with Brian May employing a rare Gibson Flying V fretwork. Mind you, the instrumental has some bagpipe sounding notes and reminds me of some unique riffwork in Big Country. Don't Lose Your Head features the very talented Joan Armatrading, a great pity she's not fully utilized in her contribution while final track Princes Of The Universe sounds like a wholehearted bang with May shredding on all guns blazing.

First off, A Kind Of Magic is as brief the as its predecessor The Works, but a notable improvement. On this occasion a lot of quality rather than quantity employed for this cut and they've done themselves no harm in distancing from the disco flavoured and a little embarrassing Hot Space. I did love the band as a teenager and I will retract my statement that they didn't cut good records, but my personal favourites are their to be found in their pre-Bohemian material. However, A Kind Of Magic is just as prominent and it's easy to see how they had so much staying power. The Magic Tour fulfilled the promise that Queen remained one of the greatest live acts ever to grace this earth. I've viewed both performances in Wembley and Hungary and I would urge new listeners to watch them. M. Richardson 18/08/2013.

7.5 out of ten. This is good and well worth a listen.

(His original mark was 5 out of ten - Eddie the Editor) ;-)

We've all heard the singles from the album. This one features clips from The Highlander.
Princes Of The Universe - Queen Official Video

A Kind Of Magic (Live in Budapest, 1986)

You can buy A Kind Of Magic here on Amazon

Click on here for Spotify then search for A Kind Of Magic

Official Queen website here

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