Made In Heaven
After Mercury’s death in 1991, it was a reasonable assumption that Queen’s studio output was complete, so it was a surprise when the other Queen members announced the release of an album of material that Mercury had been working on before he died. The group spent the intervening time polishing up the final tracks that had been captured during Mercury’s lifetime.
There wasn’t enough post-Innuendo material to create a full album, so a lot of these tracks are reworked from the member’s solo albums, from Mercury vocal snippets, or from b-sides. Made In Heaven is much softer around the edges than any other Queen album, with a succession of ballads with almost adult contemporary production values, not surprising given the subject matter. It’s to their credit that May, Taylor and Deacon crafted a coherent album out of a few good songs and some scraps, but Made In Heaven still ranks among Queen’s lesser albums.
‘Let Me Live’, an outtake from The Works, follows the gospel stylings of ‘Somebody To Love’ successfully, with Taylor, May, and Mercury all taking lead vocals in different verses. Taylor comes up with the single ‘Heaven For Everyone’; its Utopian message is sappy (but then, so is the rest of the record), but in terms of pop melody it’s the strongest piece on the album. May’s ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’, originally intended for The Miracle, is gorgeous, while Mercury’s title track is suitably grandiose thanks to the aggressive May guitar riffs that provide it with spark, while ‘Mother Love’ is simple and affecting.
Once past these highlights, the remainder of Made In Heaven is less impressive – songs like ‘My Life Has Been Saved’ and ‘It’s A Beautiful Day’ are generic, especially by Queen’s standards, and it’s hard to imagine them making the cut if the group had time to complete the record properly. Still, if Innuendo was a grand finale to Queen’s studio output, Made In Heaven serves as a worthwhile coda.