Friday, 19 October 2018

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody - The Soundtrack

  

The thing with groups like Queen is that their legacy is so damn good, there will always be multifarious ways of recycling it and long-time fans, like myself and many others, will still enjoy bits of it. However, this exercise seems pretty superfluous to me, musically. Obviously it functions as a movie sountrack, but as regards the musical content, it is a bit here and there, for me. I have all the tracks, and all the live ones apart from the “Live Aid” ones, so it is those I am interested in, and in the studio tracks which have received some re-tweaking.

So I won’t particularly go through the album track by track, but pick out those tracks which are of interest to me.

At the beginning, it is nice to hear the Twentieth Century Fox theme with a bit of added Queen guitar. The majestic “Somebody To Love”, though, seems to be the same to me. The studio tracks are the Bob Ludwig 2011 remasters, which all sound superb, anyway. They are the definitive ones, no need for any further messing around with.

Now, “Doing All Right” is a song from “Queen” that I have always liked and I was interested to hear the new remix of it. It is great to hear Tim Staffell “rejoin” on vocals and the new mix has even more of a trippy, dreamy folk-rock feel but thankfully it has kept the heavy guitar and drum part from the middle in it, which sounds sumptuously powerful. I am a “heavy” Queen fan as opposed to a “whimsical” one, as my reviews of all the individual albums state ad nauseam.

The “Keep Yourself Alive” live recording I already have, but it still good to hear it in isolation. The sound quality and muscularity is excellent. Great bass on it, and drums too. “Killer Queen” as presented here, has a few additional Brian May guitar bits stapled on rather pointlessly, in my opinion (maybe, although listening to it again, I'm not sure there are any changes) Anyway, I don’t subscribe to the view that May’s tinkering is some insult to Mercury’s memory, however, any more than the remixing of “Doing All Right” is. On this occasion, I simply don’t think there was any particular need for it.

It is good to have a thumping rocking live version of the lyrically-preposterous “Fat Bottomed Girls”, as the studio version has always come up short, for me, due to its odd verse/chorus sound imbalances.

“We Will Rock You (movie mix)” is a mix of studio and live versions of the song, which, personally, I can’t really see the point of. Either have it as a studio version or a live one.

Now, the “Live Aid” material. Because “We Will Rock You” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” are included in other versions they are not included, which is a shame, as I would have liked the whole performance. It is great to hear the crowd’s cheer as they launch into “Radio Ga Ga”. Such memories of watching it on the day and my pleasure at seeing my old seventies favourites giving it some. Until that point I had been a bit underwhelmed. After sitting through Nik Kershaw, Paul Young and Howard Jones can you blame me? That “Hammer To Fall” riff changed all that. What is the quote? Oh yes - “sheer bloody poetry”. Freddie strutting around during this stole the show.

The remixed version of “Don’t Stop Me Now” was included previously on the remaster of “Jazz”. It is beautifully heavy. Love it.

All in all, I am not quite sure of the point of this, other than its purpose as a soundtrack. “Greatest Hits” type customers will want the actual greatest hits. I guess this is just of interest to completists, to be honest. I have to say that the sound quality throughout the whole album is absolutely top notch.

B-

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