Sunday, 7 October 2018

Queen - The Miracle (1989)


  

Released May 1989

Recorded in Montreux, Switzerland and London

This was Queen's first album for three years and, although it stands as an example of the band's mid-late eighties material and has the faults that era inevitably brought with it, I actually quite like it (and I am firmly a seventies Queen man).

Roger Taylor blatantly steals the drum intro from Smokey Robinson & The Miracles "Going To A Go-Go" for the lively, rocking "Party". The track is vibrant and fun, full of great guitar, despite some of the synth-y backing at times. It segues straight into "Khashoggi's Ship" with a supremely heavy riff. This is an underrated Queen rocker. This is Queen rocking as they always should do.

Now begins a run of four great hit singles in a row, the heart of this album - the melodic, Mercury vocal-dominated, inventive and grandiose title track that also features some typical Brian May guitar; the heavy stadium singalong anthem of "I Want It All"; "The Invisible Man" which is a stonking slab of Queen rock, with all four members name-checked. Despite its dance-ish rhythm it is infectious and rocks seriously at times; "Breakthru" is a breathless romp when it eventually kicks in. It is another piece of dance/rock fusion and it works superbly. I love all these tracks.

The quality fades somewhat now, however. "Rain Must Fall" is a lightweight, limp Deacon/Mercury collaboration. All very pleasant, but pretty unmemorable, really. Nice guitar solo in the middle though. Despite the programmed rhythms on a lot of this album's material, they still manage to fit in some pounding drums and killer Brian May guitar throughout, which is good. "Scandal" has a huge synth riff and an infectious vocal and feel, which again integrates some searing guitar in places. "My Baby Does Me" has a superb, muscular bass line and a great funk feel and quality vocal from Mercury. I love the ambience on this one. "Was It All Worth It" is a powerful, riffy and heavy look back at the band's beginnings. It is an underrated , marvellously inventive track that samples a classical piece in its riff, but I can't think which one it is (something Russian).

Despite my misgivings of some of Queen's "Hot Space" material, I feel this album has quite a good, appealing mix. Accepting that Queen had changed somewhat in the eighties, I have to say that as eighties albums go, it isn't a bad one. It is my favourite of their albums from that period.

B-

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