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Queen - Jazz CD (album) cover




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3.49 | 483 ratings

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2 stars In 1978 Queen was pretty much on top of the world. With their previous album they had given the planet a universal chant to rock with and an ode for every champion to warble from now till doomsday. But, as they admitted themselves, the show must go on and it was time to crank out another collection of tunes in order to keep everybody happy and prosperous.

As was their habit, the band expected all four members to contribute songs and that always produced mixed results. Freddie Mercury's "Mustapha" is the opener and it is downright silly and weird. Maybe it wasn't intended to make any sense at all and if that was the aim it succeeds on a grand scale. Brian May's "Fat Bottomed Girls" will forever be a classic and monumental rock and roll song. When Freddie yells "Get on your bikes and ride!" I grin every time. Can't help it. The mental images this tune inspires are hilarious. Mercury's "Jealousy" is an okay song but it's his incredible vocal and harmony work that confirms his place in music history as one of the all time greatest singers. The only progressive-sounding track on the album comes next with the quirky "Bicycle Race." It's a mini epic that has everything including bike handlebar bells gleefully jingling. The band's inventiveness makes this truly a fun listen. John Deacon's "If You Can't Beat Them" is nothing more than generic rock filler and Freddie's "Let Me Entertain You" was obviously written to be a showy concert piece. Brian's "Dead On Time" is a hyper-speed electric guitar clinic where he displays why he's considered one of the premier axe men that could blaze his way through a lead break with the best of them. Deacon's "In Only Seven Days" is a sweet contemporary tune that could have been written by Burt Bacharach. And that's a compliment, not a knock. "Dreamer's Ball" is a Dixie blues ditty where May creates the horn section with multiple overdubs of guitar and it's one of the better moments on the album. But Roger Taylor's "Fun It" is an embarrassing and blatant attempt to produce a disco hit. All it really is, though, is boring. Brian's "Leaving Home Ain't Easy" is a pleasant acoustic guitar song with smooth harmonies. Freddie's true colors are flying on "Don't Stop Me Now" and it would be a lot more at home in the middle of a Broadway musical than on a rock and roll album. Roger Taylor is the least talented composer in the band and his odd "More of that Jazz" proves my point. It's anything but jazz and there's a strange recap medley of all the songs stuck on the end for reasons only they might know.

"It's Late," the terrific and dynamic song on their previous LP gave me hope that this album would find them going more in that direction. But one spin through "Jazz" made it clear that they weren't. This is a hodge-podge of musical styles that was meant to try and appease everyone but failed to fulfill anybody's expectations completely. With the exception of one cut there's nothing progressive here at all and I would only recommend this to a true fan of the group.

Chicapah | 2/5 |


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