After shedding fans with Hot Space, The Works marks a return to mostly tried and true Queen territory. Mercury’s dropped the macho-sexual preoccupations of the previous albums and is back to idiosyncratic show tunes and fifties style rock and roll, May’s back to riff rock and Taylor and Deacon are limited to one song per album and both come up with memorable pop tunes, the two most immediately identifiable songs from the record.
It’s difficult to pick highlights on such a consistent record. ‘It’s A Hard Life’ is arguably the high point with its dramatic introduction, excellent lead vocal and memorable instrumental section, but ‘Radio Ga Ga’ and ‘I Want To Break Free’ are two of Queen’s best known singles, ‘Hammer To Fall’ and ‘Tear It Up’ are effective rockers, Mercury’s fifties excursions are fun, and the acoustic closer ‘Is This The World We Created?’ is gently thought provoking and moving. Queen are arguably less idiosyncratic than ever before; without Mercury’s distinctive vocal ‘Radio Ga Ga’ could be the work of a faceless synth pop band while ‘Tear It Up’ could be a generic hard rock group.
While The Works might be short of the inspiration of Queen’s best albums, it’s solidly crafted product nonetheless.