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Queen - A Night At The Opera CD (album) cover

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

Queen

 

Prog Related

4.27 | 659 ratings

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clarke2001
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Along with the "Queen II", this album is often being used as a proof that QUEEN must be considered "progressive". However, if you try to do not-so-deep analysis of all the track included one by one, you will soon find out that this album is not very progressive at all, except for the few tracks. It's very good, nonetheless. We heard "Bohemian Rhapsody" on airwaves so many times (despite the lengthy clocking) that this masterpiece became almost annoying.

The album provides plentiful of good tunes, the opener "Death On Two Legs" is an excellent example, with it's nasty lyrics and unusual chord progressions. "I'm In Love With My Car" is another brilliant piece of hard rock, sung by Mr. Taylor the drummer and with outstanding drum passages. I'm often wondering why he didn't used to grab the microphone more often. He's got harsh, rocky, ballsy voice similar to Joe Cocker's, if not better.

Another nice hard rock tune is "Sweet Lady" often overlooked by the fans themselves, but not bad at all.

As the opposite of the hard rock songs, we have a bunch of vaudevillian mockeries, such are "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon" (with unbeatable Freddie's voice mimicking pre-WWII pronunciation), "Seaside Rendezvous" and "Sweet Lady" utilising ukulele, and vocal imitations of woodwind and brass instruments by band members. I really appreciate when someone is able to make a masterpiece and without any hesitation implement a solid amount of good humour inside. "You're My Best Friend" was the first huge success written by the band's quiet man, Mr. Deacon. The first (and perhaps the only one) appearance of the electric piano on Queen's track., but aside from that fact, it's nothing special.

"Love Of My Life" is another very lovely ballad, usual ingredient of Queen's concerts. Quite poppy, but excellent work. One gem often overlooked by progressive rock fans is one of Brian's masterpieces, country-blended "'39". Progheads are reluctant to listen or analyse this song because most of them are not fans of the country 'n' western music. Well, neither am I, but hereby I'm responsibly making a statement: this song is a masterpiece of progressive rock. Why? I know that lyrics are less important aspect for defining a genre, but...did you've ever heard about the relativity of time? Of course you did. You know, there's that phenomenon that good old Einstein noticed for the first time - the fact is, if you travel with a , let's say, spaceship close, similar, or even faster than the speed of light, the time will not be passing with the same speed for you and for someone that you left on the ground outside of your faster-than-light vessel.

(Warning: Spoiler following.) Anyway, in the year of '39 a group of astronauts-volunteers started to look for the new home in the stars, and they had left their wives and families. A bit later, they came back to their planet, and one of them recognised his infant daughter in a grown-up lady because her eyes reminded him of eyes of her mother passed away long time ago... Beautiful. Touchy and tear-jerking. This tremendous story is wrapped with simple country guitar chords, but with the multi-vocal chorus that resembles the real science-fiction atmosphere. Again, no synthesizers.

On the other hand, "The Prophet's Song" is a real prog rock piece even form the purist's point of view. Magnificent vocals and guitars, and all the other song's attributes can gain only superlatives. I dare to say that this song is the first progressive metal song ever.

And last but not the least, "God Save The Queen", a brief adaptation of British national anthem will be their concert-closer for many years to come. This one is much more majestic than GENTLE GIANT's version labelled "The Queen".

One more thing must be mentioned: Queen's ability to float the songs smoothly from one to another, giving the album almost conceptual feel. The best example is interlude between "The Prophet's Song" and "Love Of My Life"; it's really difficult to say where one song is ending and another one beginning.

There are a few more things that could be mentioned, but they are not so relevant, and I think I exposed more than enough parameters to present my vision of this album. For overall rating, count the stars carefully.

clarke2001 | 5/5 |

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