Friday, February 27, 2009

Queen - Innuendo


This album, the band's last release before Freddie's death, is very uneven. Some of the songs are excellent; the title track is the most progressive thing Queen wrote since A Night at the Opera, and is about a million times better than what prog giants like Yes and ELP were putting out in the late 80s and early 90's. (Ironically, Steve Howe of Yes contributes the Spanish guitar solo) "I'm Going Slightly Mad" is a sad song Freddie wrote about the AIDS-related dementia from which he suffered; I like how some of the lines don't quite fit into the meter, as it adds to the "mad" feeling. The closer, "The Show Must Go On," is a dark song written by Brian May about Freddie's refusal to stop recording music even while he was in the very latest stages of his AIDS, and is wonderfully moody.

Some other songs are just okay. "The Hitman" and "Headlong" are kinda generic hard rock songs, "Don't Try So Hard" tries to sound melancholy but only partially succeeds,"I Can't Live With You" feels like a song from one of the 80's albums that didn't make the cut, and "Ride the Wild Wind" is a Roger composition that's one of his better songs, but it's not awesome or anything. "Bijou" is mostly a guitar solo, but it's a pretty good one.

And then there are a few of the very worst songs that Queen has ever recorded. "All God's People" is a terrible gospel song that features a horribly generic blues section in the middle, while "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" recalls all the bad things about the band's '80s output and none of the good things. And then there's "Delilah," which may well be the most reviled song in Queen's entire catalog. The song is an ode to one of Freddie's cats; "Bijou" was also one, but at least it wasn't obviously about a cat; "Delilah" features lyrics about the song's subject peeing all over the place and a terrible "meowing" guitar. I'm assuming the other band members couldn't bring themselves to reject this song, what with Freddie being in the state he was.

All in all, I can't quite recommend this album because there's too much chaff, even though the good songs are really, really good.

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