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Queen - The Game CD (album) cover

THE GAME

Queen

 

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2.82 | 398 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "I gotta be cool, relax, get hip, get on my tracks"

Queen entered the 1980's with something of a resurgence after a couple of sub-par releases in 1977 ("News of the world") and 1978 ("Jazz"). "The Game" is notable simply for the fact that the band used a synthesiser for the first time, thus ending the proud "no synthesiser" boasts which appeared on previous album sleeves. It is fair to say though that the synthesiser usage is kept well in check, even if it is immediately noticeable as the first solo instrument on the opening (title) track.

During this period Queen's focus moved perceptibly towards world domination through multi-million selling singles and albums. "The game" therefore has ten single length tracks, any of which could have been a hit. In the event, four massive hit singles were selected, "Play the game", "Another one bites the dust", "Crazy little thing called love" and "Save me". Two of these, "Another one.." and "Crazy little thing.." signal a significant move for the band into a much funkier, pop orientated domain. "Another one bites the dust" is notable for John Deacon's much sampled bass line, the song's signature.

While they retained much of their unique character, the originality which differentiated the band in their early years was largely suppressed in the quest to be the best pop band. The track "Need your loving tonight" for example could be by any retro influenced chart group, were it not for the undeniable quality of the performance. The irresistible "Crazy little thing called love" comes straight from the rockabilly world of "Blue suede shoes" Elvis, Freddie even doing his best to sound like The King.

The other two singles mentioned ("Play the game", "Save me") are more orthodox Queen power ballads, which sit somewhat apart from the rest of the album. The most bizarre track is "Don't try suicide", which puts an upbeat jaunty melody to a troubling, not to say weak lyric: "Think you're gonna slash your wrists this time, baby when you do it, all you do is get on my tits."

The bottom line on the album as a whole is, take away the wonderful pop of the hit singles, and you are left with a bunch of pretty average album tracks, only partially saved by some fine performances. This is probably one case where the "Greatest hits" packages are the better bet.

The sleeve photograph of the band is now somewhat amusing, portraying them as young rockers complete with short hair and black leather jackets. They look like extras from "Grease"!

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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