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3 stars I suppose I'm the first to review this, maybe there is a reason for that, maybe not. I will be the first to say that I waited years for the release of this album and I was let down when it finally came out in 1995. There's really only five NEW songs on this CD, these being the very final recordings of Freddie Mercury in 1991. Both versions of "It's A Beautiful Day" aren't anything really amazing, and although they contain all of the Queen elements, there is something missing. The end "Day" is slightly better with a different arangement and a heavier rock piece at the end, but it doesn't help the song much! It just feels pieced together.

"Let Me Live" was the masterwork everyone had been hoping for and Queen didn't let us down on this track. This song could have come from "A Night At The Opera" or "A Day At The Races" and you wouldn't have known the difference. This is a beautiful song, once again incorporating all of Queen's elements including the beautiful harmonies and the unmistakable guitar of Mr. May. My Queen trivia is a bit rusty, but I believe this is the only song to feature all three vocalists (Freddie, Brian, and Roger) on a single song!! Excellent!!!

"Mother Love," the last song Freddie Mercury ever sang on. Not an exciting song by any means, quite depressing actually, but Freddie's vocals are in top form, and you can tell he's singing from the heart on lyrics such as "I'm a man of the world, they say that I'm strong / But my heart is heavy and my hope is gone." Not a bad song, just not a great song. "You Don't Fool Me" is possibly the oddest new track, fitting into something of a pop / dance track and quite different even by Queen standards. The final new track is also a wonderful bonus! "A Winter's Tale" seems to find Freddie in a very whimsical mood in his final hours, writing these lyrics about his beautiful view at Montreux, Switzerland. These would be the final lyrics ever penned by Freddie, and sadly these new tracks were recorded only months before his death and remained unfinished until the remaining members of the band polished them off and released them here in 1995.

As for these new tracks, it was great to hear what Freddie and the boys were working on at the end, but as a whole the spirit of Freddie seems to be missing from these recordings, making them depressing and bland at times, and yet more poignant at others. If "A Winter's Tale" doesn't put a smile of pure joy on your face, then there may be something medically wrong with you.

The remaining tracks on this album (not counting the 20 minute waste of time bonus track of noises) are all songs Queen fans had heard before, only re-recorded for this release. "Made In Heaven" and "I Was Born To Love You" were originally recorded for Freddie Mercury's solo album "Mr. Bad Guy" in 1985. "My Life Has Been Saved" was a Queen B-side from 1989!!! "Heaven For Everyone" had been recorded with Freddie on vocals back in 1986/87 for Roger Taylor's band "Cross" on the album "Shove It." Possibly the best of these tracks was "Too Much Love Will Kill You", a song recorded in 1989 for the "Miracle" album but never released. Brian May recorded it in 1992 for his first solo album "Back To The Light" taking over lead vocals, and re-recorded it again here with Freddie's original vocals added!!!! Sure, these songs are all hugely improved upon, but perhaps they lack because they weren't Queen songs to begin with!!!!

I'm not going to say these songs aren't good because they are, but any Queen fan already had the songs in the first place. I personally feel that they shouldn't have put these covers on here as they make the album feel very derivitive! All of the Queen trademarks are here...

...but Freddie Mercury was dead!! These songs just feel wrong somehow, missing the fun loving, happy go lucky attitude of other Queen albums. Perhaps having the remaining members of Queen perform this final tribute to their fallen brother needed to be done. Unfortunately most of this album feels just like it was done out of necessity and that all feeling and heart were gone.

Freddie can never be replaced - rest in peace Fred, I'll never forget!!!!

Report this review (#40938)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The very first thing you notice when you here this album is that there are not typical Queen songs. To Queen fans would be rather disapointing.The is much more organ in this album than in the previous ones, when they only used piano. May's riffs and solos are intact, that's the best of all, i think. It looks like a Freddie Mercury tribute album rather than a Queen album.

I love that psicodelical hidden track at the end, makes me remember Pink Floyd, with that laughs.

Report this review (#40953)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars OK. This album was taken from several takes that Freddie had done before his tragic death of AIDS, in 1991. Some of these takes were taken from Freddie's solo album in 1985, some from Roger's band in 1987, from unreleased queen material in 1989 and '91. Roger, Brian and John got together around 1994 to overdub the rest of the instruments to Freddie's takes( These were vocal and keyboard tapes only). Well, "It's a beautiful day" is a really good intro to the album. It has an orchestra- like intro, which is the typical one of prog-rock bands. Freddie's vocals and piano sound amazing, here. The second one, "Made in Heaven" is one of my favourites. The vocal is from Freddie's "Mr.Bad Guy". The music was recorded by the rest of Queen. This version is better than the original(1985), 'cause it sound more Queen- ish." Let Me live "doesn't sound as if it was recorded in the 90's. It sounds like the early Queen sound (It has a SOMEBODYTOLOVEISH feel).It's sung by Brian, Roger and, of course, Freddie."Mother Love" is the last song recorded by Freddie in late 1991. It's a good song. The lyrics are a bit depressing, though. You can really notice he was going to die, soon. As he couldn't finish the recording, Brian sang the last verse. " My life has been saved" was, originally, a B- side to "Scandal" in 1989. This version has got the same vocal track but the music was re-recorded in 1995. It's a good song as well. "I was born to love you" was taken from Freddie's album (1985) . The original version is the typical 80's disco-pop song. This version has Queen's instrumentation , and it sounds more rock n' roll. "Heaven for everyone" is a really good song by Roger, taken from his album with THE CROSS in 1987. This version sonunds like any other Queen song. "Too Much love will kill you " is a song recorded in 1989, and later included on Brian's solo record in 1992. This version is much better than Brian's(This one is a classic, and Brian's is a HEADACHE!). "You don't fool me " is a funky-like song with vocals by Freddie, recorded in 1991. "A winter's tale" is a very good ballad recorded by freddie in his last days (late 1991). It's a really soft and peaceful song (It's great!).The reprise for "It's a beautiful day" sarts being the same as the first one but then, BLOOM! it brusts into pure ROCK N' ROLL! The hidden tracks are a really good thing, 'cause, when you think the album is about to finish, you've got "Yea!"(it lasts 4 seconds!) and " Beautiful day (dead)" (aka untitled hidden track) lasting 22 minutes!. Although some say it doesn't seem like Queen and that it is a mediocre album, I, personally, think "Made in Heaven " is a true masterpiece, and it really sounds like any other Queen album( It has the typical mind-blowin Queen-ish guitar solos by Brian!). For serious Queen hardcore fans, this is a must. Come on, don't stay sitting there , if you haven't got this, run, as fast as you can, to the closest music store and buy it now!!!!!
Report this review (#59227)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can't understand such low mark. This CD has a great climat, and it's my favourite after Queen II. It's not as commercial as "Hot Space" or "A Kind of Magig". It has got a soul.

It's A Beautiful Day - some kind of intro, which is quite enjoyable 6/10

Made In Heaven - also enjoyable good track (previously released on solo CD of Freddie Mercury ("Mr Bad Guy" I think). Queen remastered it, and added more guitars, and drums. I really like it. 7/10

Let Me Live - this track isn't typical for Queen. Here you can hear Freddie, Brian and Roger with a choir. Something good and different. 7/10

Mother Love - one of the best on this CD. Climat, passion. Freddie died before ending this song, and the last part is sang by Brian May. It ends with a sample of a song "Going back", which Freddie released before Queen. 10/10

My Life Has Been Saved - in my opinion the worst song of this CD, but also good and enjoyable. 6/10

I Was Born To Love You - very rocky song (previously released on solo CD of Freddie). Very famous and enjoyable. I really like it. 7/10

Heaven For Everyone - famous and sentimental track. Very, very good. 8/10

Too Much Love Will Kill You - 7/10

You Don't Fool Me - 9/10

A Winter's Tale - I love this one. It is always played in my house on Christmas. Beatiful 10/10

It's A Beatiful Day - again the song from the beginning, but with a very fasy, and rocky part. 6,5/10

Yeah - the previous song ends with word "yeah". I don't know why it is a separate song */10

And the last mysterious untitled hidden song, which is very strange, and in some way beautiful. You can hear watches, laugh. Very interesting 10/10

So... Queen was able to create beautiful music. Album "Queen II", or "Innuendo" are very great (the first one is even progressive). This is a very, very good CD, but there is one thing missing - masterpiece track. We won't find here something like Innuendo, or "March of The Black Queen".

Not essential, but it's worth to hear it, because it's enjoyable, and you can hear last songs of Freddie.


Report this review (#68434)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars . and should have stayed in Heaven!

As a Queen-completionist I bought this album immediately after its' release in 1995. I read several very enthousiastic reviews on this album that gave me the impression it was a "must have". As can be seen from the rest of my review, it turned out to be a huge disappointment.

1) It's A Beautyful Day [4/10]
2) Made In Heaven [5/10]
3) Let Me Live [4/10]
4) Mother Love [5/10]
5) My Life Has Been Saved [2/10]
6) I Was Born To Love You [3/10]
7) Heaven For Everyone [4/10]
8) Too Much Love Will Kill You [3/10]
9) You Don't Fool Me [4/10]
10) A Winter's Tale [5/10]
11) It's A Beautiful Day (reprise) [4/10]
12) Yeah [hidden track] [1/10]
13) Made In Heaven (instrumental) [hidden track] [1/10]

Was this Queen's final chapter? IMO it was not. After Queen's superb revival back in 1991 with "Innuendo" it sadly was all over. After Freddie's demise the synergy that made Queen such a great band was gone. "Made In Heaven" is definitely missing something (or must I say someone?). The songs aren't that memorable and you can hardly call it a new album because it contains five rehashed songs, two versions of a new song (i.e. It's A Beautiful Day) and two superfluous hidden tracks. The instrumental hidden track makes it all painfully clear. It lasts for more than 22 minutes, while musically nothing really happens. But you keep on listening because you're still hoping that suddenly Freddie will start to sing a new song. However deep down inside you realize that he's gone for good, and that is sad. Sad but true ..
I recommend this album only to Queen-completionists, because it doesn't add anything musically worthwhile. Everything it contains has already been done by Queen on previous albums in a much better way.

Album rating: 32% = 1 star

Report this review (#115349)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The combination of ambient opening track "It's A Beautiful Day" (2:32) and "Made In Heaven" (5:25) is something good this album offers. The main attraction point is Freddie's transparent and powerful voice on these two opening tracks. In addition, both have great lyrics - especially it had right nuance after the death of Freddie. "Let Me Live" (4:45) has powerful choirs and good lyrics, combined with the melody made this track interesting to enjoy. "My Life Has Been Saved" (3:15) is a ballad pop song. Another love song "I Was Born To Love You" (4:49) is featured here with a combined mellow and rock style. The encouraging message under "Heaven For Everyone" (5:36) is delivered in mellow style followed with Brian May's famous "Too Much Love Will Kill You" (4:20) which became major hit in my country. "A Winter's Tale" (3:49) is a nice pop song in mellow style.

Again, this album is good for die hard fan of Queen and most people who like pop music. The rock component is very minimum in this album.

Report this review (#121025)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars You don't fool me

This album was made under some highly peculiar circumstances using some highly peculiar methods. After having released the excellent Innuendo album it was clear that Freddie Mercury's heath was rapidly failing. After Freddie's tragic death, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon assembled whatever bits and pieces they could find to construct this final Queen album. The album was then released posthumously, hence the title 'Made In Heaven' (which presumably is the place Freddie is believed to be in by those who believe in that sort of thing).

Several of the songs on this album had been released before in different versions and contexts and yet others were previously unreleased but much older than indicated by the release date of this album. The opening track, for example, is rumoured to have begun life already in 1980 as a pure improvisation by Freddie alone with his piano. Only a couple of the songs here were ones that Freddie had worked on after Innuendo. The most notable one is Mother Love.

The title track and I Was Born To Love You originally appeared on Freddie Mercury's solo album Mr. Bad Guy that was released in 1985. While the vocals are identical, the music used here is different from the originals and was recorded by the trio after Freddie's death. It is evident that they have tried to "Queenify" these songs, giving them a stronger Rock sound. But like many other songs from this album that originated in other contexts they do not quite succeed to disguise the reasons for which these songs were deemed unsuitable for Queen in the first place (not implying that all of them were ever proposed to the band, but some of the songs here were). When Freddie wrote these songs for his solo album it is clear that he wanted to go in a more Pop direction and the trio's obvious attempts to make them rockier sounds a bit forced.

The origins of Let Me Live are unknown, but this too is an older song. This one has lead vocals by Freddie, Roger and Brian and their voices really are distinctive all of them on their own and they fit perfectly together. How many bands can claim to have three distinctive voices? (The Beatles is the only example I can think of). My Life Has Been Saved originally appeared as the b-side for the Scandal single in the late 80's. Again, I think that the vocal is identical but the music is slightly different (I have not compared them side by side, though). Heaven For Everyone originally appeared on The Cross' first album Shove It (The Cross was a side project by Roger Taylor). Apparently, on some versions of Shove It, this song had lead vocals by Freddie (which is the very same vocal used on Made In Heaven) and on other versions of that album the lead vocals were by Taylor (the latter version is the one I have). There is some good guitar work in this one.

Too Much Love Will Kill You first appeared on Brian May's first solo album Back To The Light with him on lead vocals. This version has Freddie on lead vocals. I actually prefer the Brian May version of Too Much Love Will Kill You. Brian's fragile voice fits this song very well, but Freddie sings it very well too, of course.

While the previous album, Innuendo, sounded different and fresh compared to the bands 80's releases, Made In Heaven reverts to a large degree to the 80's sound and production of albums like The Works. This is not surprising since most of the material on Made In Heaven originated in the 80's. The Disco sounds of You Don't Fool Me sounds particularly dated and, I must say, a bit boring. A Winter's Tale is something of a Christmas song. Personally, I have an aversion to Christmas songs and cannot really get into this one even if it is not obviously a Christmas song. The 22 minute plus hidden track is not Queen's lost epic, but a rather tedious New Age like instrumental with some bits and pieces of Freddie's vocalisations. Maybe this is Brian's, Roger's and John's idea of what it sounds like up in heaven? Anyway, it is very surprising that they do this kind of thing!

Given the expectations for this album, and given the unusual methods by which it was made, the result is pretty decent. Still, I think that it suffers a little from the scraping-the-barrel-phenomenon. That is why I prefer to consider the excellent Innuendo to be Freddie's real swan song.

For hardcore Queen fans like me this album is something of a Godsend (pun intended), but for the rest this is probably not too interesting (and there is no question of this being Prog).

Report this review (#190080)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A few words at the beginnig which I have to say : This is the best album released after Freddie' s death. Probably majority of you this album lumps together with Cosmos Rock or Queen Rocks or some Greatest Hits. I'm not critised you, it's your opinions, but I don't think so. Everytime it gets me to nostalgic frame of mind. 'It's a Beautiful Day' only achieves Fred's life elan. No one's gonna stop him now, of course ... 'Made in Heaven' is thoughtful song. It ballanced on the borderline between pop and rock, but I haven't seen any bad things on it. 'Let Me Live' is for long, long time one of my most favourite's songs. It's not so rock, but for night's moments when I can't sleep it's very, very nice. In one time it help me survive. I can't understand to anyone who says that's trash song. Maybe I'm silly, but ... it's simply great. 'Mother Love' is slower pathetic ballad. I don't know what I have to say about it. My heart is heavy now, too. 'My Life Has Been Saved' is more optimistic that leftover of albums, but I would feel without it circumvented. But it has nice solo. 'I Was Born To Love You' is the most rock song of this album. And most romantic. I don't like love songs, but if I cut off all songs about love, I would kill music :-) 'Heaven for Everyone' is a bit of uninspired. It's not bad, but ... average song for average ears. Again I like guitar solo. Oh. 'Too Much Love Will Kill You' is song that lay me down. But the strangest thing is that I don't know why. Something must be in this songs, something ... weird. 'You Don't Fool Me' I construed as a small defiance of world. (You're telling lies...) It's not slow, not fast (and furious), it's good. 'A Winter's Tale' ...err... it could be better. And, for great success, once again 'It's a Beautiful Day' ... It's silent ambush, for the first time I've heard almost nothing and after a while it started to looking like rock! Great. I heard them piano from 'Seven Seas of Rhye' and solo like from 'Mustapha' ... But I can't give 5*. If this would be page only about Queen, I'll simply do it, but this is ProgArchives. Progressive Music. Progressive all. It's my blame that I'm mad about Queen ...
Report this review (#228518)
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars We are offered great intro. Right in Queen style. Better to cautious and give listener rock music with slowly coming from calm to wilder tone. For many Queen fans (to which I particaly rank myself) will be good enough Freddie's voice. And can we disagree ?

Next track is carriage of entire album, it's not eponymous by accident. For name of album is in lot of times chosen best track of record and indeed it's true. After not so good 80s and only slowly getting better in late 80s and 90s, he died. Suddenly, nobody was expecting this. Sad thing even from music part of view - their albums began to be good again. I don't believe that this Innuendo perfection was just last breath of dying man.

When rating any Queen album, important thing which influences final score is his voice. No one will dispute that his voice is one of the best ever present in popular music. Because of this, long time experience of playing which other members had and coming age of middle 90s, this is good album. From prog point of view slightly worse, but this is prog-related group, isn't it ? So I think that four stars would be enough. Worse 4 stars, because it would be unfair to other 4 stars prog bands.

Report this review (#231347)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Made in Heaven ? 1995 (3/5 sort of) 9 ? Best Song: ????? Only Freddie Mercury would know

I'm ambivalent to this album. I have even a hard time saying it's a Queen record in the right sense. See, Freddie Mercury passed on back in 1991, and anyone with eyes can see that this album was released in 1995. Before his death, Freddie left tons of recorded vocals to songs, and instructed his bandmates to finish the songs after his death and release them. I really don't know what was going on in his head when he recorded some of the more uplifting songs, such as the title track, but I can say that the scare of death must have knocked him back to his senses, because compared to what came before the end, this is damn great. That's a relative posturing, mind you, because I could never walk away having fallen in love with my experiences from Made in Heaven, but the title is as literal as it is figurative. Although, based on the Christians and their usual views toward the guy and his vices, Made in Hell would've been a more appropriate title. Me, I'm not swayed in either direction, so we can all agree it's 'Made from the dead', which isn't an insult but a statement of fact. In a way, I think that if Mercury were still alive, he'd have pushed the band back to what made them so interesting in the middle of the 1970's, that or jumped on another wagon and ridden it to more commercial success. I'm not a rockstar, I'd do anything in any way if I got paid enough for it. With that being said, half the album seems to be a return to form, the other half is their generic piddling around with melodies. 'Heaven for Everyone' isn't exactly eventful, ya dig? But it's much more of an 'illuminating' album that you might be used to. Take my words with a grain of salt. I don't really like Made in Heaven, but it is an interesting end to the band's long and winding career.

Report this review (#445887)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Made in Heaven' is the final studio album from Queen, one of the mosr popular art rock bands ever.

Released posthumously after Freddie Mercury's death, it consists of stuff recorded in a long period of time between 1980 and 1991, and includes re-worked out-takes from various sessions from that time, remixed songs from Freddie Mercury's solo album 'Mr. Bad Guy' and Roger Taylor's The Cross' 'Shove It', as well as a couple of songs done after 'Innuendo' sessions, which were the last ever recordings from Freddie Mercury.

Overall it's one of the brightest-sounding albums from Queen, a very quiet and tranquil album, especially after dark, tragic and menacing 'Innuendo'. Despite of lack of the new material, the album still holds listener's attention on highest level, because the re-works of previously known tracks are much superior to the versions released before, and the new songs are great as well.

The album opens with short and still (expect for one loud guitar burst) song 'It's a Beautiful Day', which was recorded back in 1980 and was never intended to be finished for any album, because it was a small improvisation with piano. For 'Made in Heaven' some light atmospheric synths were recorded, as well as new guitars, which made some spacey feelings to that track.

The spacey atmosphere formed by the first track is getting interrupted with a powerful rocking track 'Made in Heaven', which is based on a song Mercury released on 'Mr Bad Guy' with newly recorded heavy backing track. The only word to describe this song would be 'symphonic hard rock', because of very symphonic feel in the guitar sound, mixed with heavy drums.

'Let Me Live' started in 1983 with Rod Stewart, but the final verion doesn't includes his vocals, but rather the contribution from all three singing members of Queen. This is a powerful ballad number with gospel-like vocal chioir. Needless to say, the most interesting part of this song is the one with vocals from Roger Taylor.

'Mother Love' was the last song Freddie Mercury recorded. It was written by Brian May and Recorded in Montreaux in 1991. Originally Mercury recorded three takes of each vocal line to chose best sounding ones for the final mix, but hasn't finished the last verse, so it is sung by Brian May. It's probably the darkest song here, yet, despite of its high historical value, it remains my least favourite from the album.

'My Life Has Been Saved' was recorded during 'The Miracle' sessions and originally released as a B-side of 'Scandal' single in 1989. This is the only track on 'Made in Heaven' which is inferior to thepreviously released version, because guitar intro was replaced with pianos and some extra vocals at the end were removed. But still by and large it's a great song and if you haven't heard the original 1989 mix you won't notice any flaws here.

'I Was Born to Love You', like 'Made in Heaven', was released on Mercury's solo effort. Orignially a dancey disco song, this one turns into the fast and filled with energy hard rock track with new backing track full of heavy guitars, which fit with excellent vocals much better than poor-sounding synthy original.

'Heaven for Everyone' was originally recorded by The Cross in two versions, with Mercury's vocals and the other with Taylor's ones. Though I always prefered Taylor's version between those two, Queen's one beats them both. Only Mercury sings lead vocals here, but the song was noticeably re-done in 1995, adding great new guitar parts and overall more rock atmosphere. One of the highlights here.

'Too Much Love Will Kill You', originally released on Brian May's solo album 'Back to the Light', was originally recorded in 1988 for' The Miracle' and the version here is the same as on 'The Miracle' demo tape ? no reworking was done. Still, this version is much better than lately recorded (but earlier released) Brian May's solo track. It's a hard rock ballad with deep touching lyrics and short but powerful guitar solo, one of the most notable guitar solos in the entire Queen discography. Again, one of the brightest highlights from the album.

'You Don't Fool Me' was constructed in 1995 from bits and pieces of unfinished track started after 'Innuendo' sessions. It's a surprisingly dancey song here, but it still fits the aesthetics of that LP.

'A Winter's Tale' is another post-Innuendo song here. Though it was written in late 80's, it was recorded in 1991, noticeably all the vocals were done in a single take. Some really unnoticeable flaws in original vocal track were blurred for the final version, but that's only because of Queen's perfectionism. Still, untouched vocal take can be heard on a remixed version released as a bonus track on 2011 reissue. A bit surrealist and very psychedelic song, a great track with nice atmosphere greatly maintained throughout the track..

'It's a Beautiful Day (Reprise)' sounds a bit more intriguing that the opening part, mostly because of adding hard rock section at the end with great guitars and some nice pianos (extracted from 'Seven Seas of Rhye' though).

After it all, the album rollis into 22 and a half minutes long untitled ambiend piece which sums up the album and makes the final point in Queen's studio album discography.

This is a really good album. It retains great Queen's melodism and mixes it with excellent modern production, without 80's poppiness. It's a surprisingly consistent album from Queen, who usually, driven by their eclectism, hardly could make even two similar sounding songs on the same LP. But here all the songs bear the same spacey atmosphere - yet, without any lack of eclectism. Definitely, this is one of the finest moments for Queen after 70's.

I believe, 8/10 would be a fair rating for this excellently done LP, which would share a lot of great moments for the listener.

Report this review (#602575)
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ten months after the release of the 1991 album Innuendo, Freddie Mercury died of complications brought on by AIDS; he was 45. To this day, most people hold Innuendo dear to their hearts because it was such a solid finale with one of rock's greatest frontmen. After Mercury's death, the remaining members of Queen decided to make one last album with his pre-recorded vocals and a mix of new and old compositions. Thus, in 1995, Made in Heaven was released to much acclaim; this was the the record to bring closure to the band's career, and it seemed to be a bold success. However, this album is more than just a great record; it's a perfect musical epitaph.

The album's music is sort of a mix between 80s and 70s Queen, much like The Miracle or Innuendo. There are the typical synthesizers, melodic guitar lines, and powerful vocals on this record, although there's definitely an emphasis on the softer side of things. This is the sort of album that takes time to let the atmosphere build and let the listener breathe a bit. This is especially demonstrated in the vocal harmonies, which are as soothing as ever. The gospel-oriented intro to "Let Me Live" is particularly beautiful, with lovely female vocals and a nice buildup in dynamics before the drums (and verse) kick in. But it's not only the vocal harmonies; the way the music is arranged plays a big part in this album's quality. For instance, the intro track "It's a Beautiful Day" could have easily thrown the listener right into Freddie Mercury's introductory vocal melody, but instead submerges you in a sea of ambient keyboard work. As the dynamics build and more "nature"-esque samples enter the music, everything just becomes all the more beautiful. There's also a bit of a melancholic side that this record shows when songs like "Mother Love" and "You Don't Fool Me" start up. These songs especially benefit from Brian May's almost new-age guitar lines as he weaves many different melodies throughout the rest of the instrumentation. The band members feel like a cohesive unit on this album, despite the unusual way is was recorded; John Deacon and Roger Taylor are as solid as ever in the rhythm section while Brian May and Freddie Mercury (his voice recordings, to be more precise) keep the solid melodies and hooks coming. The point where all of this meets full circle is in the title track; everything about the song feels so complete, from Brian May's harmonized guitar work to the inspirational chorus. Nothing feels out of place; it's a perfect song all around.

I could spend all day giving a complete analysis of this record, but there's something more to it than that. Just think about the fact that we're listening to the last work of Freddie Mercury, his last time up to the mic for a Queen recording. That really got me thinking: this is the band embracing finality with a sense of joy and splendor. Yeah, there are melancholic moments, but they're certainly overshadowed by Freddie Mercury's strong resolve in the face of his own defeat. This album kinda acts as a reflection of the band's career and Mercury's own life in particular; that fact makes many of these songs more powerful than they otherwise would have been. The biggest example song-wise by far is the untitled track at the very end of the album. There's a reprise of "It's a Beautiful Day" at the end of the record that leads into a four-second song titled "Yeah"; the track that begins beneath Freddie's utterance of this word is a 22-minute ambient piece. This song is what the record is all about. This is one of the most bizarre Queen songs as well; there are no drums (with the exception of some cymbal and hi-hat sounds here and there), no guitar work, no bass work, nothing but keyboard work and some voice clips from Freddie. May people like to consider this song Freddie Mercury's musical "ascension into heaven" so to speak, and I'd actually agree with that. The reason is that, near the very end of the piece, there's a beautifully arranged symphonic section that gives off an indescribable feeling of joy and release. Other portions of the song are a bit more strange; around the sixteen-minute mark, there's a very depressing synth melody that really changes the overall mood. On top of that, the last thing that this song has to offer is Freddie Mercury uttering the word "Fab."

How are we supposed to respond to all of this? That's for you to decide. I see this album (and especially the last song) as an amazing example of perseverance in the face of darkness and death, but everything about this record is up for interpretation. Made in Heaven is a very intriguing way to end a band's discography, but it should be treasured for what it is: a beautiful epilogue to one of rock's finest bands and singers.

Report this review (#1445864)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink

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