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Queen - The Works CD (album) cover




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2.91 | 352 ratings

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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.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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