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Queen The Works album cover
2.93 | 293 ratings | 19 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Radio Ga Ga (5:49)
2. Tear It Up (3:28)
3. It's A Hard Life (4:08)
4. Man On The Prowl (3:28)
5. Machines (Back To Humans) (5:10)
6. I Want To Break Free (3:20)
7. Keep Passing The Open Windows (5:21)
8. Hammer To Fall (4:28)
9. Is This The World We Created...? (2:13)

Total time 37:25

Bonus tracks on 1991 remaster:
10. I Go Crazy (previously released as b-side) (3:42)
11. Radio Ga Ga (Extended Version) (6:50)
12. I Want to Break Free (Extended Mix) (7:12)


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Freddie Mercury / lead & backing vocals, piano, keyboards, sampler (1)
- Brian May / lead & acoustic guitars, keyboards, lead (10) & backing vocals
- John Deacon / bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards & programming (6)
- Roger Taylor / acoustic & electronic drums, sampler & programming (1), vocoder (1,5), keyboards (5), backing vocals

- Fred Mandel / synth (1,6), "candy-floss" ? (8), piano (4)
- Reinhold Mack / Fairlight programming (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Bill Smith with George Hurrell (photo)

LP EMI ‎- EMC 24 0014 1 (1984, UK)
LP Parlophone - QUEENLP 11 (2010, Europe) Remastered

CD EMI - CDP 7 46016 2 (1984, UK)
CD Hollywood Records - HR-61233-2 (1991, US) Remastered by Eddy Schreyer with 3 bonus tracks
CD Parlophone - CDPCSD 136 (1994, UK) Remastered
CD Island Records - 277 176 7 (2011, Europe) New 2011 Bob Ludwig remaster

Thanks to tuxon for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Works by Queen (2008-01-01)Works by Queen (2008-01-01)
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QUEEN The Works ratings distribution

(293 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

QUEEN The Works reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars Well sometimes a change of rules does produce side effects. The weighing factor, installed to prevent reviews as bad as the one you are about to read, has forced me to actually write a review. I had been content on giving a low rating to bad Queen albums (this means from The Game until Innuendo), but now it has to come out , just like Freddy Mercury did his coming out (I'd rather Freddy Kruger doing his coming out than Mercury >> less gory ;-) once more with the awful and atrocious Radio Gaga. Unfortunately, this track is not the only bad one on this album! Actually, if you can believe Radio Gaga is almost an average track on such a crappy album.

So here is my coming out: AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Review by Cristi
4 stars A lot better than Hot Space, Queen found their way again. There are pop songs on The Works but by far superior to those on their previous album. The album starts with Radio Gaga, a Roger Taylor song, poppy and full of synths, but inspired and catchy, overall an enjoyable track. Tear It Up is a nice rocker, written by May. It's a Hard Life is a great Freddie Mercury number, amazing vocals IMO. Man on the Prowl is a rock'n'roll song in the manner of Crazy Little Thing Called Love from "The Game" album. Machines is a collective effort, electronic, full of synths again but also with some great guitar from May; Freddie's vocals are amazing (again). I Want to Break Free is one of the most popular songs ever written (thank you John Deacon), amazingly enjoyable, a great treat. Hammer to Fall is another Brian May rocker, one of the best songs of the album. My favourite song for the moment is Keep on Passing the Open Windows; it is indeed one of Queen's best songs ever. The album closes with Is This the World We Created, a sensitive ballad with sensible lyrics, nice acoustic guitar from Brian May and great vocals from Freddie.

Queen's The Works is a great pop-rock album, but it won't work for prog purists. There is a lot to enjoy on this album to satisfy the listener, rockers or prog-rockers. This album is an excellent addition to any music collection, but prog purists had better stay away from this one.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is another album that I do not favor but the album itself was quite popular, especially through the song "Radio Gaga" which I never understand at all. For me "Radio Gaga" is a song with a boring composition and repetitive loops as rhythm. But for some reason that I never understand, this song was one of major hits of the band, even from friends around me. I'd rather listen to "Tear It Up" which is much more rockin' than the Radio gaga hit. "It's a Hard Life" is another good song that represents the old style. I can hear clearly during Brian May's guitar solo at the interlude part. Freddie Mercury vocals seem so powerful and clear. Another major hit is "I Want To Break Free" which, again, for me sounds so boring as well. "Keep Passing The Open Window" combines the piano and repetitive bass guitar lines continued with a pop beat that sounds boring too.

It's recommended only for completionist.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Queen dropped so low during their last three albums that at some point they have to release another good album to satisfy the disappointed and early fans, don't they?

But when you listen to "Radio", you can't really be overwhelmed by this "machin-chose" (can't translate this). Same disco-electro beats than during most of the disgusting "Hot Space". The only difference resides in its melody. Maybe.

Is it to keep some rock fans awake that the band is recording the poor AOR-ish "Tear It Up". Awful drum noises (sorry Roger). It sounds almost as a Gary Glitter track. Press next of course.

It's a hard life, the one of reviewer. At times there are such poor works from once great bands. But in this case, "It A Hard Life" is the next track... Almost a relief after these two opening numbers. A melodic track, with nice vocals, great guitar from Brian, like he used to produce ages ago. Of course, it is a very commercial ballad but it sounds so much as a breathe of fresh in the midst of so much mediocrity like "Man On The Prowl" which is one of the worst track on "The Works".

My feeling are pretty mixed about "Machines". Isn't it the poorest song out here? Or just only one of them? Dreadful beat (similar to ""Tear It Up"). The second average moment is "I Want To Break Free" the second hit single from this album. Good vocals from Freddie and catchy melody are much appreciated. Finally a good song.

And even if "Keep Passing The Open Windows" is rocking alright, it is far from being great. At times it reminds me of the very good "Stepping Out" from Joe Jackson. But that one was a great song. The queen one only average.

My fave (if any) is "Hammer To Fall". I guess that it should be the song that most early days "Queen" fans should tolerated (but these heavy drumming are annoying at times). It is almost a classic Queen song. The highlight.

Did the band got inspired by the great Worksfrom ELP that they chose the same title for this album? Who knows. This album is slightly better than their later ones and I rate this one with two stars. I can't really understand those high ratings here.

Is it necessary to tell you that you shouldn't expect any prog in here. Maybe for their next album?

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars A return to formula perhaps, but not yet a big return to form

With the previous Hot Space album, Queen tried out a slightly different approach compared to earlier albums. This led some critics to accuse them of abandoning their Rock based sound. This was only partly true, but Hot Space was a rather weak album anyway, so with this album they reverted somewhat to the formula of The Game. Man On The Prowl, for example, is a blatant try at making another Crazy Little Thing Called Love (which was not very good in the first place!). However, there were also new elements introduced to the ever evolving Queen sound. The Works is the most electronic sounding Queen album, most clearly noticeable on Radio Ga Ga and Machines (or Back To Humans) which almost seem to be influenced by the likes of Kraftwerk! Side by side with the traditional Rock 'N' Roll influences, this creates a quite interesting mix, I must say.

By this time in their career, Queen had transformed into more of a singles band than an albums band. Keeping this in mind we ought to expect some fillers on their albums from this period, and indeed there are some fillers here like the aforementioned Man On The Prowl and Keep Passing The Open Windows. Tear It Up is also not a particularly strong number and it certainly doesn't offer any surprises. Radio Ga Ga and I Want To Break Free became big hits, but they have never been favourites of mine. However, the latter has a keyboard solo that shows the band having fun in the studio, I love that solo!

The rest of the tracks are pretty good though, even if the lyrics to Machines are hard to take seriously (I'm thinking of Kraftwerk's Man Machine album). The strongest tracks are It's A Hard Life, Hammer To Fall and Is This The World We Created?, the latter two closing the album on a high note. The guitar work of Brian May, when it is present, is very strong as always, but while his presence is stronger here than on Hot Space, it is still weaker than on future albums like A Kind Of Magic and The Miracle.

The Works constituted an improvement over Hot Space and with every subsequent album starting with the present one, things would improve further, culminating with the excellent Innuendo. The Works features some good moments but it is still one of Queen's weaker albums.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars After the mediocre and the worst Queen album ever produce Hot space, they released in 1984 The works. An improvement is made but not expect to something great here. Another album in charts and another more than 2 pieces on top 100. To me this is a good album if you want to listen to something easy, accesible, for everybody, nothing groundbreaking here . The comercial attitude were at their peak, but with all that they manage to create something enjoyble. The music from this album is pop with some rock flavours, typical Queen album in the '80's. One piece from this album is absolute excellent: Keep Passing the Open Windows , I think one of the best they ever done, catchy tune. 3 stars for this album . Better than predecesor for sure Hot space , at same level with the nest one , not among their best but not among their worst.
Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars People are going to look at this review and think I'm crazy when they see this rating but to tell you the truth, I just don't see any bad tracks on this album. Sure it's dance music, but a lot of the time it sounds like prog-dance. (a new genre?) Anyways, if your not a prog-dance fan look no further than the excellent songs Keep Passing the Open Windows and It's a Hard Life which will please any music fan. But if your like me, I enjoy the tracks I Want to Break Free, Hammer to Fall, and the ever-so soft ballad Is This the World We Created. People may call other tracks on this album weak, and they may seem so at first listen but I assure you that they were just Queen experimenting with a new sound. They even, you must admit are at the least bit enjoyable. Queen's best eighties album in my opinion!
Review by Matthew T
4 stars Back in 1984 when I used to watch video clips a lot more frequently along comes the new Queen single Radio Ga Ga and I immediately loved it. While I would be the first to say that Queen was not my favourite band at the time, I heard them frequently as my wife and friends loved them. ( A Night at The Opera, Day at The Races etc).The next single, I Want to Break Free I heard on the radio and so found myself down at the record store on the way home.

This album is a creature of the eighties period and of course starts off with Radio Ga Ga and then straight onto the Brian May song Tear It Up and really the title says it all with that great start, Are You Ready is how the tune is introduced with a qiuck blistering guitar solo from Brian May and we are off. Wonderful song. Track 4 Man On The Prowl with its rockabilly influence which was written by Freddie Mecury is another song worth a mention but for me this album really has no weakpoints and the track selection was done to perfection for the songs on the album which keeps things interesting right throughout. Another Freddie tune that I find interesting on this album is Keep Passing the Open Window but where would it be without I Want to Break Free and even though John Deacon wrote the song,who else could have sang it but Freddie.

Although the majority will say that A Night At The Opera, Queen 2 and A Day at the Races are the high points in this bands career, it is this album that grabbed me. Also I would like to mention, miss you Freddie. Great vocalist,songwriter and last but not least showman.

This album when it finishes always makes me think,what about another play. Has to be 4 Stars

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
1 stars All we play is radio caca"

Queen followed up the atrocious disco abomination "Hot Space" with another brown jewel for the litter box that is their ninteen eighties production. Where they once wrote and performed with style and daring, they now alternate schmaltz and cliche. To make the album even more frustrating, at a few points, the band almost sounds like they are going to play something that doesn't sound fit for a dentist's waiting room, but then, every time, the song veers into the predictable MOR that Queen was then making their trademark.

"You had your time, you had the power" You've squandered away your finest hour

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
2 stars "All we hear is Radio Gagging..."

Not a good Queen album by any stretch of the imagination, "The Works" is a product of the dreaded 80s, and sounds like the saccharine synth soaked manufactured pop that churned out of the music industry. The music was chewed up and regurgitated by radio airwaves, and remains the sound of the 80s undoubtedly. 'Radio Ga Ga' is one of the main culprits complete with handclaps that crowds loved to emulate in live performances.

'It's a Hard Life' continues the harmonies and strong melodies till we get to 'Man on the Prowl' and throwaway 'Machines (Back to Humans)' with synths to the wall and Mercury as the robotic debonair capitaine. It gets unbearable with radio stalwart 'I Want to Break Free' that admittedly is infectious and clever but Mercury admits his preferences all too blatantly especially in the over produced over played videoclip. The musicianship disappears to make way for multi tracked mixing and lots of processed vocals.

'Hammer to Fall' rocks out for a while reminding us of how capable the band could play but it is all too late. This is a very outdated album and vanished in the stale onslaught of other radio friendly tripe. Not really worth the effort and not a shred of prog to be found.

Review by Necrotica
Necrotica avatar
2 stars Queen's tenth effort Hot Space alienated a lot of the band's fanbase, many believing that the group's dance influence went way overboard. It was certainly a huge departure from the normal Queen sound, being more restrained and poppy than their previous efforts. So what did they do with their next record The Works? They made more hard-rocking tunes again! Unfortunately, they also spend most of the record rehashing their old material and boring listeners to death. That's not to say every song sucks; in fact, the "average" label on its rating is pretty much accurate. It's simply an average album.

On the bright side, there's more of the classic Queen feel on this record than Hot Space, but at the same time they really don't break any new ground. Some traces of Hot Space are still present, such as with the synthrock anthem "Radio Ga Ga," but thankfully things are more downplayed in that regard. As for the good tunes, there are a good few songs you'll wanna come back to, such as "Hammer to Fall," "I Want to Break Free," "Is This the World We Created?" "Tear It Up" and so forth. "Hammer to Fall" is especially fantastic, revolving around a mammoth hard rock riff from May and leading up to a classic harmonized chorus that resembles Queen's 70s heyday. "I Want to Break Free" is a great ballad that benefits from a beautifully arranged chorus; the synthesizers really add a nice orchestral touch, and even have a nice solo in the middle near the song's bridge. "Tear It Up" is your typical hard rocking Queen affair, but "Is This the World We Created?" is really where more attention should be given. The song is based around a beautiful acoustic guitar melody as the band leave us some food for thought at the end of the record; it's a very tasteful conclusion.

But now it's time for the bad, and there's a lot of it. I'll just address this right now and get it out of the way though: I don't like "Radio Ga Ga." It just never struck me as anything special; it sounds like a bland synthpop song that could have been taken right out of an early A-ha record. Not only that, but the chorus is just cheesy beyond belief; the band's chants of "radio goo goo" and "radio blah blah" just seem really childish and unnecessary. The instrumentation isn't really stellar either; it's just a midtempo pop song with no real standout moments. Further into the record, there are many rote rehashes of previous albums by the band. "Man on the Prowl" is a fast piano rocker that tries to cash in on the success of their 1980 hit "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." It has a very similar style, but is simply not as memorable. "It's a Hard Life" sounds almost exactly like "Play the Game," so analysis is pretty limited on that one as well. Finally, we get to the biggest travesty on the record, "Machines (or 'Back to Humans')". It's pretty much "Radio Ga Ga" with even less memorability, and it even includes extremely cheesy robotic vocals that could have fit on Styx's song "Mr. Roboto." The entire song is bland and boring, taking a midtempo pop/rock approach and sucking any life and likability out of it; the synthesizers are merely ok, the vocals seem a bit average compared to Freddie's usual work, and the overall tune just doesn't do much of anything in the end.

The thing is, this isn't a bad record; it's just very, very average. There are amazing tracks and there are terrible tracks, so it sort of evens out in the end. The big negative aspect of this record is how much of a boring retread it is; at least Hot Space tried to do some new things with the band's sound and think outside the box a little. But to be fair, there are some fantastic tunes on this record; "Hammer to Fall" in particular is almost worth the price of admission alone. So I guess this is simply... average. That's about all there is.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The works is definitely not a bad album at all. While I love 70's Queen the most and wouldn't sit this among their best, it certainly showed that they had found thier feet for the 80's and this marked a new era for the band. Hats off to them I say, they had to somehow re-invent their sound wit ... (read more)

Report this review (#810167) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, August 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 "Let's give them the works!" Queen slowly returns to its roots. And that's more than good, given the mediocrity of his two predecessors efforts. Yes, there are still a lot of synthesizers here - and they will not leave most of the band - but I can not complain about them! Indeed The W ... (read more)

Report this review (#733212) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, April 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Works ? 1984 (2.8/5) 10 ? Best Song: I Want to Break Free So now we've finally succumbed entirely to the dreaded 1980's recording and production values and are forced into recording such massive hits as 'I sucked a big dick today and recorded it on sunset strip while nikki Sixx lit my ... (read more)

Report this review (#445882) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Whether it's because he realised that continuing down the Hot Space route wouldn't have been too clever an idea is beyond me, but drummer Roger Taylor was heard to remark "let's give them the works!" during the formulative stages of this album. That statement, in brief, sums up everything about t ... (read more)

Report this review (#285594) | Posted by Fuselage | Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A huge step in the right direction!!!!! For this release the band decided to leave the disco and the rockabilly alone and do what they do best, hard rock and melodic balladry! At most times, the hard rock on this disc is slightly diluted (listen to something from Queen or Queen II and see what ... (read more)

Report this review (#70564) | Posted by silversaw | Sunday, February 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Not bad songs but very commercial (radio gaga)...I like only Hammer to Fall and the initial part of Tear it Up...the rest is old pop that doesn't express the musicians feelings (and that have nothing in common with prog!!!)..Listening to this album I think: "is Queen a real prog related band or it i ... (read more)

Report this review (#65643) | Posted by Kord | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Fabulous album. After Queen's daring (and relatively failed) atempt at disco music with Hot Space they took a year off, to gather their senses, and work on solo material. After the much needed break they took a step back, and instead of their usual routine of seeking their borders maintained w ... (read more)

Report this review (#42146) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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