The second artist to be covered on Aphoristic Album Reviews, Queen were a favourite of mine as a teenager, although I didn’t go beyond the Greatest Hits albums. It wasn’t until my twenties, when my Queen obsessed friend lent me their individual albums, that I gained a deeper appreciation for them.
Queen focused on albums for their first few years, primarily dealing in bombastic hard rock. Starting around 1980’s The Game, they became more of a singles band, and became more diverse, dabbling in styles like disco and pop. So while their early albums are stronger, their best singles are spread quite evenly over their discography, especially for a band that enjoyed a twenty year career.
Queen’s second album, Queen II, is my favourite, an ambitious concept album with a White Side and a Black Side. Here’s a gorgeous song written by guitarist Brian May:
1974’s Sheer Heart Attack was also excellent, but the band’s best known album is 1975’s A Night At The Opera; the album featured ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, as well as plenty of other strong songs like this Freddie Mercury piece:
1977’s News of the World feels like their most overlooked album. It kicks off with the monster singles ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champions’, but there are plenty of great album tracks. It’s not often mentioned, but in my estimation ‘Fight From The Inside’ is one of drummer Roger Taylor’s finest moments in Queen, with Taylor contributing everything except the lead guitar:
While Queen maintained popularity in the UK throughout the 1980s, I generally find their work less satisfying. They scored big hits with pop-oriented material like ‘Radio Gaga’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’ from 1984’s The Works, but this Freddie Mercury song revisits their pompous best with its operatic opening:
The band rediscovered their focus with their last albums, battling against Mercury’s ill health to produce more music. This Brian May song from 1991’s Innuendo is one of the band’s best, with a emotional underpinning that wasn’t always a strength of a theatrical band:
For more in-depth analysis of Queen and reviews of their individual album, please visit https://aphoristical.wordpress.com/reviews/queen/
Do you have a favourite Queen song?