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Queen - The Singles Collection Volume 2 CD (album) cover

THE SINGLES COLLECTION VOLUME 2

Queen

 

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2.17 | 4 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars I go crazy

This second singles box set, like the first, contains 13 discs which are CD versions of another 13 of the band's singles. While the first box set covered the period from 1973 - 1978, this second volume covers the years 1979 - 1984. The singles featured in this box were taken from the three studio albums The Game, Hot Space and The Works as well as from the live album Live Killers and the movie soundtrack album Flash Gordon.

I wasn't too kind in my review of The Singles Collection Volume 1 box set, but I think that a slightly stronger case can be made in favour of this second volume. Here it is at least arguable that the singles are a good place to start investigating this particular period of Queen's history. This was certainly not the case with the period of the band's career covered by the first singles box set. During the period of 1973 - 1978 the best and most interesting album tracks were often not the ones that were released as singles (Bohemian Rhapsody is a notable exception, though) while during the years 1979 - 1984, this was more often the case.

Queen was always both an albums band and a singles band, but when they first started out in the early 70's they leaned heavily towards being an albums band while they became more and more of a singles band as time progressed. While masterpiece albums like Queen II and A Night At The Opera clearly works best when heard in their entirety, albums like The Game, Hot Space and The Works can benefit from a more selective listening. Save Me, Play The Game and Under Pressure are all excellent songs taken from overall less-than-excellent albums.

The more important difference between the two singles box sets is that, while Volume 1 contained only one non-album b-side, Volume 2 contains three. This is not a lot, I know, but it is more than one at least! The three non-album b-sides featured here are A Human Body, Soul Brother and I Go Crazy. A Human Body is a Roger Taylor song with him on lead vocals. It is by no means a great song, but it would have fitted in well on The Game and it is probably the best of the three non-album b-sides featured in this box. Soul Brother has the sound of Hot Space and while it would have fitted in nicely on that album, that is not exactly a compliment! Freddie uses his high-pitched voice in this one. I Go Crazy is from The Works sessions and is more of a Rock 'N' Roll number. Not awful, but also not very interesting.

Even if this second singles box set has more to offer compared to the first, I think that this is a release primarily for serious fans and collectors. Any fan of the band will want to have the studio albums from which these singles were taken anyway, and those beginners looking for a compilation album will not want to buy an expensive box set just to get an insight into Queen's early 80's period (but rather go for the much cheaper compilation albums Greatest Hits I and II or their DVD counterparts that feature most of these same songs).

The music featured here is mostly very good and it is a nice package (I don't own this box set, however, but I have seen it in the stores). But this is not enough to elevate this above being a pure collector's item. There will probably be a The Singles Collection Volume 3 covering the final chapter of Queen's career, and hopefully there will be more non-album b-sides on that one. But buying three box sets for only a handful of non-album tracks in total is simply not for everyone! It would have been much better had they released a single disc compilation with all of the band's non-album b-sides.

I will give the same advice concerning this box as I gave with regards to Volume 1: if you don't have the studio albums from which these singles were taken, buy them! If you already have these studio albums, you don't really need this box set unless you are a serious fan or collector.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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