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3.49 | 488 ratings

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2 stars One of the things I respect about the band Queen is their commitment to allowing each band member to consistently contribute songs to each album. This time out, Mercury writes 5 songs to May's 4, with Deacon and Taylor both contributing 2 apiece.

Overall, the music is a little more edgy and powerful than on their previous outing. If Mercury wears his rock star alienation a little to prominently on his sleeve during "Let Me Entertain You", Brian May does his best to cover it over with chunky slabs of electric guitar. Brian May contributes the best rocker on this record with the frenetic "Dead on Time".

It is 1978 and the race was on to find ways to create rock versions of disco. Something powerful enough to not alienate loyal rock fans, yet something consistently plodding enough to qualify for the elusive jackpot sweepstakes of the dancing single sales dollar. Queen wisely gives their disco test run with "Fun It", a tune featuring banging drum fills and the razor-rock sharp vocals of Roger Taylor.

Next year, The Kinks would make it work with their smash hit "Superman", Kiss would cash in on "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and Queen would go multi-platinum with "Another One Bites The Dust". But it was "Fun It" that first tested the waters that eventually opened the floodgates of "Hot Space". Even so, it is an interesting combination of mechanized power drumming, whistle, and hard rock vocals. Certainly interesting enough. Not a bad song if you like that sort of thing.

Lyrical mainstream pop is where John Deacon's star usually shines brightest. But May's yearning for a time of simplicity conveys a sense of bitter-sweet nostalgia on the album's strongest pop offering "Leaving Home Ain't Easy". Mercury's "Jealousy" and Deacon's "In Only Seven Days" are unconvincingly pleasant in comparison.

Brian May is still over-dubbing guitar parts like a maniac! Instead of doing it on hard rock - art rock songs like on Queen II, he's now doing it on whimsical bluesy numbers like "Dreamer's Ball".

"Don't Stop Me Now" is half rock song, half show tune, and all Freddie Mercury. And there is plenty more where all of that came from on this collection of popular rock and hard rock tunes. Rate it higher as a popular rock record if you will, but it simply cannot be rated as an "excellent addition to any prog rock music collection".

progpositivity | 2/5 |


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