Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Queen - A Kind of Magic

7/10

Queen's 1986 effort isn't their best but it's still pretty strong. It's a very 80's record, more so than their other albums during that decade, but that doesn't mean it's bad; there's some fine songwriting going on amidst all those cheesy synths. It's also sort of an unofficial soundtrack to the film "Highlander," which featured six of the album's nine tracks. The title track is an exuberant song in the traditional Queen vein, while "Pain is So Close to Pleasure" is an interesting bit of Motown pastiche, and "Gimme the Prize" is an awesome example of the motivational 80's song. "Who Wants to Live Forever" is a fine ballad; contrary to popular belief, Freddie didn't know he had AIDS when it was written, and didn't even write it (Brian May did).
I also enjoyed the use of strings in that song and "One Year of Love". However, there are still some duff tracks; "Princes of the Universe" is just absurdly cheesy, even by Queen's standards; it's practically a few overdubbed solos short of being a Dragonforce song, while "Friends Will Be Friends" just feels kind of generic to my ears, and "Don't Lose Your Head" is a dance track (although it's not as bad as most of the songs on Hot Space.) All in all, A Kind of Magic is a good album, if not Queen's highest point.

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