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Queen - The Singles Collection Volume 4 CD (album) cover

THE SINGLES COLLECTION VOLUME 4

Queen

 

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2.17 | 4 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars You Don't Fool Me!

This is the fourth and final installment of the Queen Singles Collection box sets. Exactly like the previous three, this fourth box set also contains 13 discs which are CD versions of another 13 of the band's original singles. All but one of these 52 singles has entered top 40 somewhere around the world which is an impressive achievement! The present box, being the last in the series, naturally covers the band's late period just before and after the tragic death of Freddie Mercury. The singles are primarily taken from Innuendo and the posthumous Made In Heaven album. However, the particular singles featured and their respective b-sides make this a rather sprawling set that contains material that goes back as far as 1974 all the way up to 1999!

As expected, the first disc here is the one missing single from the Miracle; namely, the title track from that album. All the previous singles from The Miracle album were featured in the third singles box. The b-side here takes us back to the 70's with a live recording of Stone Cold Crazy. This sounds rather out of place in connection to the 1989 tune The Miracle and it is also completely out of place in this collection as a whole. I also think it was rather lame to go to the vaults and search out a b-side for this single at the time, surely they could have found a more fitting song. Still, it is a good song. Then, again just as expected, we get the five singles from Innuendo; Innuendo, I'm Going Slightly Mad, Headlong, The Show Must Go On and These Are The Days Of Our Lives, the latter being a double a-side single with the classic Bohemian Rhapsody. It might have made sense at the time to re-release Bohemian Rhapsody as this double a-sided single was released just after Freddie's death and was issued as a charity single to raise funds to HIV victims, but the inclusion of this song here is lame as it was already included in the first box set!

All of the singles released from Innuendo are great and the title track is a stunning masterpiece, but for anyone who already owns that album this box set offers almost nothing new. There is only one short track offered here from the Innuendo-period that was not included on an original album and that is not even a proper song! Queen Talks is just a collage of snippets from interviews with the four members of the band. It is funny, but the fun only lasts for a single listen. What I find particularly disturbing is the absence of Mad the Swine which was track #3 on the Headlong single and Lost Opportunity which was track #3 on the I'm Going Slightly Mad single. The fact that these hard to get non-album b-sides are not included is a major disappointment and indeed a lost opportunity!

Up next is the five singles from Made In Heaven. Again, the b-sides are rather uninteresting for anyone who already owns the album. Only Rock In Rio Blues is new and that is a recording from 1985 of a live improvisation. Interesting for hard core fans perhaps, but again only a single listen is warranted. The rest of the b-sides are either taken from the album or consist of old live recordings or remixes.

The last two singles are No One But You (Only The Good Die Young) and the 1999 "Rah"-remix of Under Pressure. The former is a good song that the three remaining members recorded in tribute to Freddie some years after the release of Made In Heaven (which was itself a kind of tribute to Freddie!) and was never featured on any album. The inclusion of this song is a positive feature, but again the b-sides are disappointing. They consist of remixes of We Will Rock You and Gimme The Prize respectively. Under Pressure (the original version) was already included in the second of these boxed sets and this remix adds nothing of value unless you happen to love remixes (which I certainly don't!).

Thankfully they were at least wise enough to exclude the embarrassing Queen+ collaborations with George Michael and others! Had they done that, this would probably be a one star item. I have awarded two stars to all four of the singles box sets, but this last box is actually the least interesting of the four. The second and third volumes offered a bit more interesting non-album material. There is indeed some great music here too, though, particularly the Innuendo material. But unless you are a a major Queen fan and collector, I would certainly recommend sticking with the original albums. These box sets are, after all, aimed primarily at such fans and collectors. Any fan of the band will want to have the albums from which these singles were taken anyway, and those beginners looking for an introductory compilation album will not want to buy an expensive box set just to get an insight into Queen's late period.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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