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Queen - A Kind Of Magic CD (album) cover




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3.00 | 377 ratings

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3 stars I just noticed, that after reviewing every sound Queen has slapped on record, I somehow missed this disc, a late 1980's Queen that was little by little trying to find their old sound. After their comeback in 1984 with The Works (and I say comeback because of the tragedy that was Hot Space in 1982), this is just another step in the direction they were attempting to achieve, with the regular number of ballads, rockers, and middle-of-the-road pop. I honestly don't feel like writing one of those 10 page reviews like I did for their other releases, so I'll make it pretty short and sweet.

This opens with the Queen rocker One Vision, written about their triumphant Live Aid appearance in 1985. Pure rock that leads into the pure pop of the title track. Most of this album was written as the soundtrack to the movie Highlander, A Kind Of Magic included. Listen, however, to the BETTER and more stripped down version that plays over the end credits of the movie. This poppy album version is the worse of the two. We then move on to the first ballad One Year Of Love. Another track from the movie, this is actually a very beautiful and emotional song that includes a wonderful sax accompaniment. We fall into the not-so-great-pop of Pain Is Close To Pleasure with Freddie's falsetto vocals killing what may have been a much better song, and then into Friends Will Be Friends, an 80's anthem in the vein of their 1977 Champions.

Who Wants To Live Forever, yet another of the soundtrack songs, could possibly be one of Queen's most emotional ballads. It not only showcases an orchestra, but also Brian singing lead vocals for the opening portion...a rarity of 1980's Queen, although it did happen one or two other times. Not counting Don't Lose Your Head, as this die-hard fan finds this piece of garbage a complete throwaway Queen song, the remaining two tracks Princes Of The Universe and Gimme The Prize are amazing slices of hard rock, even bordering on heavy metal at times. Freddie's vocals are simply amazing as he basically growls and shrieks through these numbers like a man possessed...Highlander movie star Christopher Lambert has a cameo in the video for Princes which until recently one one of the harder to find video released in Queen's catalog.

As before, I mentioned unreleased tracks and oddities on all the other releases, but from this release there really wasn't more than some instrumental remixes and 12 versions. There are a few very rare, obscure demos floating around on the net, including a version of Heaven For Everyone and several of Freddie's piano / vocal slave tracks...apart from that, what you hear is what you get. Their follow-up album, The Miracle was much better in almost every way, but this is certainly worth the price of the CD just for the amazing ballads and the few hard rocking tracks that actually feel a bit inspired.

silversaw | 3/5 |


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