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Queen - Hot Space CD (album) cover




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1.88 | 342 ratings

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3 stars 'I mean it's only a bloody record! People get so excited about these things!'

... said Freddie on a lovely June evening in 1982 on a packed Bowl in Milton Keynes, some two weeks after the release of Hot Space. Yes, the Album-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, the wizardry Queen world's very own Voldemort; the fans' Bogeyman who comes to eat their children at night, the equivalent of 'Hannibal ad portas' for the honest Roman Queen society. However, as Freddie, who has constantly defended it, said 'it is only a bloody record', and fact of the matter is, what we have here is superior in terms of cohesion to the likes of Innuendo for instance.

Queen's most controversial album, might have come as a result of their hitting it big with Another One Bites the Dust and The Game in general in the United States, and wanting to go all-funky synths and drum-machines for a change. Yes, not a dull moment with the lads. Thus, as expected (or not) side A, which is the most disco-funk oriented subdivision of the album, debuts with a very dynamic synthesisers driven track, which surprisingly features John Deacon on rhythm guitar instead of his then traditional Fender Precision. Horns were also embedded on Staying Power to add to the song's credibility, along with, of course, Freddie's versatile and larger than life vocals. With the appropriate atmosphere installed, in comes the disco tsunami with Dancer - a rather unpretentious yet fabulous dance-worthy piece, as its name suggests, oozing with Brian May's archetypal multilayered guitars and a very catchy beat courtesy of Roger Taylor, a piece whose only blemish is the absence of John Deacon and his bass playing; Back Chat - welcome back John with your bass, electric guitars, synths and this charming pop-funk oriented tune; Body Language - possibly the most infamous track in Queen's catalogue, is Freddie going wild with the new technology, hence the other members' almost lack of participation on the recording, it is your typical provocative funky tune, which seems to suit Freddie so well; Action This Day - a Roger-Freddie duet, with more of a pop-rock feel to it due mostly to the heavy percussion, both electronic and acoustic. The second part of the albums seems like it wants to ease that disco tension and blasts a heavy Brian May synthesisers-free rocker, followed by Freddie's touching tribute to John Lennon via the delicate Life Is Real. Calling All Girls and Brian's ballad are up next, the latter with the chorus sung in Spanish as an honour to the beautiful public in Latin America. Another criticised track emerges as the album heads towards its end - Cool Cat, where Deacon's guitar playing and Mercury's falsetto manage to generate a rather drowsy reggae mood. Last but most definitely not least, the amazing collaboration with David Bowie, one of the most acclaimed rock compositions of the 20th century, the track containing one of the most recognisable bass lines ever created, the song that needs no further introduction, (the few) Ladies and Gentleman, Under Pressure!

And thus ends the exciting odyssey through an album with a clearly distinct approach from what these rock mastodons have acquainted us with. In the end, whether it is perceived as progress or decline, Hot Space is part of the straightforward legacy of Queen's fortunate failure of stagnation.

3.5 stars... to my ears anyway! Ohhhh I can't believe you're dancing...

Lizzy | 3/5 |


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