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Queen - Innuendo CD (album) cover




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3.87 | 490 ratings

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3 stars Oscar Wilde meets Led Zeppelin...

Last Queen's album (if we don't count posthumous tacky swan song, "Made In Heaven") is a potpourri of different styles that will please many tastes but will also leave a lot to be desired. The effort is mature and eclectic, but certainly not 100% cohesive or focused although the main motifs are life, death and religion. No wonder, knowing that Freddie was about to die, and very aware of that (he was suffering of very strong pain during the recording).

The cold, clinical, reviewing eye (and ear) reveals a bunch of below par pop tunes, a few good rock numbers and one masterpiece, labeled progressive rock. Indeed the song Innuendo is masterpiece that will please many a sophisticated taste; utilising great guitar works, collaboration with Mr. Howe, excellent lyrics, tight playing and goose bumps atmosphere. This is progressive rock as it should be, with homogenic structure, great parts, and nothing too protracted or overplayed. The best thing that happened and could happen in the year of 1990. The video spot is great too, sort of "Oscar Wilde meets Led Zeppelin" thing (as described by one of the band members, I don't remember exactly who), utilising animated clay puppets, Harlequins and paiazzos and some great stop-motion artwork. The aforementioned tag about Irish writer and hard rock monster could be applied to the song itself too, as well as to some other parts of the album.

The rest of the songs vary in quality and expression: I'm Going Slightly Mad is not much more adventurous than an average 80's QUEEN pop-rock song, but the atmosphere is great and the song is enjoyable. And unusual, due to the weird timbres provided from the Korg M1 digital synth. Video spot reveals Freddie with one foot in the grave, frighteningly slim (tons of make-up was not enough to hide it), but still as great entertainer who rules the scene. The video spot is no less bizarre than the song (which also hit the UK chart).

Headlong can be bunched together with The Hitman; although Headlong reached the charts, they're both not-so-inspiring, very heavy songs with lack of melody on par with the band's level. The initial band's idea was to make Headlong as a slow, keyboard-based song with little or no drums at all. One could only wonder what would the album sound like...speaking of that, there's a rumour that band record an untitled song, powerful, progressive, similar in atmosphere to the song Innuendo, but it was never published because of various reason and the the tape is lying somewhere in the recording studio now...of course that could be only a false rumour, but such stories were always tangled around Queen's path.

Delilah and Ride The Wild Wind are another two sub par songs. Delilah is just ridiculous. Freddie dedicated the song to his cat (he loved cats and had plenty), so I won't say anything else. The nice sparkle is Brian's skilful "meaow" on guitar. Which I can't say about the other song which is some sort of ride, with sampled sound of racing car passing useless. Especially if we recall that during the A Night At The Opera period Brian did not need any recorded samples to make his axe roar like an engine.

I Can't Live With You is another bubblegum pop-rock tune without much common sense (and with stupid lyrics again), but this will probably appeal to an average QUEEN fan because it has that certain band's bravurosity. I like it, I have to admit.

All God's People touches the question of religion again, but not as a title song do; basically this is a soul song, and souls is a genre that band utilised rarely (Jesus, 1972, Somebody To Love, 1976, Soul Man, 1981, Breakthru, 1989, and several times in Freddie's solo career), but soul fits QUEEN nicely and this one is just a decent song.

These Are The Days Of Our Lives is slow-paced ballad, again with resemblance on (Freddie's) life and again with a hint of soul within. A bit tacky, poppish. I can't help myself but every time listening to this song (or simply seeing the title on a track list) I remember that Lisa Stansfield's interpretation...ugh. The less I say, the better.

Bijou is three-and-a-half minute long and it's beautiful. It's a closest thing to progressive rock after the title song. It's a lovely tapestry of Brian's guitar weepings layered together in pleasant atmospheres, with some nice chord progressions (and keyboards), but the song is, in my opinion, spoiled with two or three lines sung at the very end. The should have left it as an instrumental.

Finally, the grand finale: The Show Must Go On, borrowing the title (and, let's admit it, a few harmonies too) from the PINK FLOYD song, but everything else is pure QUEEN: a great song to close a great album and a career of a great band. Not prog, but who cares...powerful song, lyrics are shining again, music is great. I wish there's more songs around that are half as strong and crafted as this one.

A the end of the day (and, alas, the career) this is good album, far from perfect, with two or three great (or little) gems and majority of fillers. It's not great, but it's a good final chapter perfectly representing a turbulent career (and songwriting) of a unique band with all ups and downs, masterpieces, mediocrity, failures, experience, intelligence, wittiness. And eclecticism at first place. Thank you, Queen.

clarke2001 | 3/5 |


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