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Queen - The Works CD (album) cover




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2.94 | 320 ratings

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4 stars An excellent album from the 80's, bordering progressive genre.

After a terrifying disco attempt "Hot Space", the guys are back on the right track with their "Works". To be very honest, most progressive thing from this album is the cover itself, which reminds a lot of EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER's "Works" (One and Two) album. Design is similar, the album title is similar, the font is similar. Coincidence?!?

Anyway, QUEEN's "The Works" does not sound like a ELP's namesake (luckily). The album is sort of a mixed bag, but overall it's very good. There are few hard-rock numbers such are "Tear It Up", often played on gigs with zeppelinesque intro added, and "Hammer To Fall", neat glam-metal tune with lyrics about desperate struggle in everyday's existence. "Man In the Prowl" resembles rockabilly style already seen in "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" five years earlier, but it's not even close. Forgettable and weakest track which doesn't fit into album sci-fi/machinery spleen at all. "It's A Hard Life" was a huge hit, borrowing intro from the Leoncavallo's opera "Pagliacci", but connection with prog rock is ending here, because rest of the track is poppish and chorus is literally the carbon-copy of their 1979 hit "Play The Game".

"Radio Ga Ga" and "I Want To Break Free" are the most known hits from this album both ranking very high on charts, and both gained an anthem-like status. High quality-pop songs with nice bass guitar and synth work on "Radio Ga Ga" (including band's use of a vocoder - Roland VK330 - for the first time in their career), and "I Want To Break Free" houses the highlight of the solos - that famous synth solo that was played so expressive, full of pitch bending and guitar-like pronunciations. It's NOT Brian's guitar, it's a keyboard! I do not want to sound like a snob, but I guess you have to be a keyboard player to fully appreciate this.

"Is This The World We Created...?" is a lovely acoustic ballad with lyrics so typical for the mid-eighties, and "Keep Passing The Open Windows" is one of the best unknown songs that QUEEN ever did, with relatively simple chord structure, beautiful melodies and bass & piano driven pattern that is really making driving impression (they will do the similar thing on "Breakthru" five years later, but the result wouldn't be even close). Brilliant!

For the very end, the track that deserves all the rating stars for itself: "Machines (or Back To Humans)": perhaps one of the finest examples of science fiction genre in (prog!) rock music. This track is just perfect, with perfect amount of lobotomising-dehumanising sounds, mechanical rhythm, and excellent rock vocals and guitar. It's like the mixture of PINK FLOYD, Peter Gabriel circa "Shock The Monkey"-era and the best KRAFTWERK's moments, all that wrapped in the perfectly digestible 5-minute pop package. You must be both genius and highly-experienced professional to create this.

At the end of the day, this album deserves four stars. It's fantastic, and you won't get any closer to prog than this - we are talking about the famous band in the middle of the 80's. Get it.

clarke2001 | 4/5 |


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