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  QUEEN
'Forever'
(Virgin/EMI)


Johnny Main

johnny main



queen

Let's be up front here and say that if you're a dyed in the wool Queen fan, then there's not much on this album that you won't have heard before. What's really new here is the inclusion of three previously unheard Queen tracks.

'Let Me In Your Heart Again' was originally featured on the 1988 'Talking Of Love' album from Anita Dobson (and wife of guitarist Brian May). This new version features all four members of Queen and dates from around 1983 with some recent re-working from May and Roger Taylor. 'Love Kills' is a more familiar track as this was originally released as Freddie Mercury's first solo recording as back in 1984, but this new "Ballad" version, again, features all four members of Queen.

The final "new" track is 'There Must Be More To Life Than This' which is co-credited to Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson. Mercury and Jackson worked together briefly in the 1980s before the relationship turned sour with this track eventually ending up (without Jackson's vocals) on Mercury's excellent 1985 'Mr Bad Guy' album, but it's good to see the Jackson/Mercury version finally getting an official release.

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The problem I can see is that these tracks are only available as part of this album, so will that be enough of a pull to get the discerning Queen fan to part with their cash and buy the whole album? I'm not too sure if I'm honest.

Beyond these three tracks, though, the rest of the album is made up of track taken from thirteen of the band's fifteen studio albums. Their 1995 album 'Made In Heaven' leads the way with five tracks featured here, including the title track itself, the rocky 'I Was Born To Love You' and the hauntingly beautiful 'Mother Love' which never fails to send shivers down my spine as the last ever vocal recorded by Mercury fades out.

'The Game', 'A Day At The Races' and 'A Kind Of Magic' are all represented well with four tracks apiece here and amongst these tracks, it's nice to see 'Sail Away Sweet Sister', 'Drowse', 'Long Away' and 'One Year Of Love' being included in place of some of the band's better known tracks.

The 1991 'Innuendo' album has three cuts here, all bunched together with 'Don't Try So Hard' and 'Bijou' being inspired choices along with the inevitable inclusion (quite justifiably) of 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives'. 'Hot Space' gives us 'Las Palabras de Amor (The Words Of Love)' whilst 'Queen II' has the less obvious 'Nevermore' featuring and, quite rightly too, as more obvious song choices are left by the wayside.

It's unfortunate that nothing from either their self-titled debut album or their 1980 soundtrack album 'Flash Gordon' aren't represented at all, but then I guess you can't keep everyone happy.

queen

What the 'Forever' album does do is miss off quite a few big hits and hard hitters from the band's immense back catalogue. 'Tie Your Mother Down', 'Another One Bites The Dust' and 'Now I'm Here' as well as (thankfully) 'Bohemian Rhapsody' are all left off in favour of a handful of more obscure tracks. I've got nothing personally against these better known songs, but it's nice not to have to trawl through them whilst at the same time, shining the spotlight of some of the more obscure album tracks – I mean, when was the last time you actually heard Taylor's excellent 'Drowse'?

Thankfully too, the album contains only studio material and isn't filled out with live tracks like some compilation albums have done in the past – 'Let It Roll: Songs Of George Harrison', I'm looking at you here!

At the same time, though, this album could have been even better by including things like the (still unreleased versions of) the Mercury only vocal of 'Who Wants To Live Forever' and the Queen version of 'New York New York', both of which featured in the 1986 film 'Highlander'.

Another glaring omission for me, is 'The Fairy Fellers Master Stroke' from the band's second album. It's a cornucopia of sound and must have been quite a revelation when it was released forty years ago, but it seems to be forever destined to be tucked away on the second side of the album.

There may be some lost chances to do something really, really special with this album but on the whole, it's a fitting epitaph to Queen's recording legacy, and a great compilation for those who are just discovering (or indeed returning to) Queen's music.

You can hear a sampler for the album here:



'Forever' Deluxe Edition Track List:
Disc 1:
Let Me In Your Heart Again
Love Kills
There Must Be More To Life Than This (featuring Michael Jackson)
Play The Game
Dear Friends
You're My Best Friend
Love Of My Life
Drowse
You Take My Breath Away
Spread Your Wings
Long Away
Lily Of The Valley
Don't Try So Hard
Bijou
These Are The Days Of Our Lives
Nevermore
Las Palabras De Amor (The Words Of Love)
Who Wants To Live Forever

Disc 2:
I Was Born To Love You
Somebody To Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Friends Will Be Friends
Jealousy
One Year Of Love
A Winter's Tale
'39
Mother Love
It's A Hard Life
Save Me
Made In Heaven
Too Much Love Will Kill You
Sail Away Sweet Sister
The Miracle
Is This The World We Created...?
In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited
Forever

Queen are:
Freddie Mercury – Lead Vocals/Piano/Rhythm Guitar
Brian May – Lead Guitar/Keyboards/Piano/Vocals
John Deacon – Bass Guitar/Rhythm Guitar/Keyboards/Backing Vocals
Roger Taylor – Drums/Rhythm Guitar/Percussion/Vocals

Queen Online:
http://www.queenonline.com
http://www.facebook.com/Queen


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5.1.2015











 


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