Now to continue the feel of 'Old Man Rock' which seems to have been the word of the blog today, I am listening to an album that I am sure I have owned at some point, heard most of it; yet I have never knowingly listened to it. A brief history listen about Queen around the time that this was released - their previous album was the much disliked 'Hot Space' which has seen the band move away from their rock roots and more towards a electronic sound. After the subsequent tour of 'Hot Space' the band went their separate ways for a bit - Freddie Mercury worked on a solo album, Brian May made 'The Star Fleet Project' with Eddie Van Halen, Roger Taylor worked on 'Fun In Space' and John Deacon worked with Man Friday and Jive Junior. So the band came back fresh from their separate adventures and ready. According to legend, the band got the name for the album when Roger Taylor upon the start of the album said "Let's give them the works". Well, did they do that or it this one of the biggest cases of mis-advertisment ever?
Well this album is held as a Queen classic by the fan base, indeed our own Chris Chaney is a fan of this album. It has four of their biggest hit singles ("Radio Ga", "Hammer To Fall", "It's A Hard Life" and "I Want To Break Free") and when it was released it was an instant classic around the world. Now, it only has nine tracks on the album, this is just over 37 minutes and goes along at a nice pace. The band had got a bit of their fire back and on the singles and "Is This The World We Created...." they had the best part of an album that propelled them back up the charts and re-established them in Europe. You have to remember at the time that they did this album, they were spent - 'Hot Space' had really damaged their standing and this album together with their performance at Live Aid in 1985 shot them back to the rock elite in the 80's.
Now you may have noticed that I have not yet mentioned the other tracks on this album. It is feeling like an elephant in the room, but here goes - the songs are just filler at best, and to be honest they are not that good even as Queen filler. You cannot expect every song that they write to be gold, but they just don't reach the heights of the single which is why they are left on the album. The best of the bunch is "Machines (Or Back To Human)" which sounds like the bridge breakdown section of "Radio Ga Ga", the other tracks are just substandard and should have been left off this to make it a quality EP.
So how does it rate in the overall scheme of things in the Queen back catalogue - well, it is a decent album that I cannot deny. It is well play (to be expected especially with the players involved) and I cannot not find a big fault with it. It has a couple of my favourite songs - for the record "It's A Hard Life' and 'I Want To Break Free' - but the overall finished product is just a little too empty for me. It does not gel as well as other releases from this band. It is not one of the records I would rush out to hear again, it is not bad, but it is not good either. File under average at best and that is being generous.
5 out of ten - It could have been a bit better
You can purchase the album on Amazon here
You can visit the official Queen site here
You can listen to the album here
Here are the videos to "I Want To Break Free" and "It's A Hard Life"