Thursday, May 31, 2012

Queen - Greatest Hits

When I was a young whippersnapper I was only aware of two Queen albums: Greatest Hits and Classic Queen (there was only one store in my hometown that sold CD's and those were the only ones they had). Naturally I bought them both as soon as I was able because Queen is one of the greatest bands ever and one of my all-time favorite bands (number four in my top five).

There has never been nor will there ever be another band like Queen. Freddie Mercury's vocals are absolutely untouchable, and yes I do think less of Paul Rodgers for trying. Brian May has one of the most recognizable guitar sounds ever. John Deacon and Roger Taylor are a rhythm section beyond reproach. Beyond the virtuosity of the band's members, Queen had a theatricality that simply cannot be replicated. The simple fact that they created "Bohemian Rhapsody" and did it with the limited technology of the day (piling nearly 200 tracks onto 24 track tape) is a testament to the fact that there will never be another Queen.

Accolades for the band aside, Greatest Hits is a very effective overview of the band, especially when combined with its companion compilations. Greatest Hits compiles the best songs from Queen's strongest albums. Even if you don't think you know Queen, there are at least 3 songs on this album that you know by heart. "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" have been so overplayed at sporting events that their brilliance can easily be overlooked. Also, I can't imagine anyone not knowing "Another One Bites the Dust." The rest of the album may not work quite as easily for jock jam purposes, but each and every track represents the type of brilliant songwriting and genre-defying that only Queen could deliver. I recommend that you buy all of Queen's albums (even the Flash Gordon soundtrack, which has some great moments despite being generally viewed as subpar) but if you can't, I recommend this compilation as well as the one I'm going to review next.

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