by QueenQueen


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Like any patchy but promising debut from a classic rock group, it's often easy to underrate Queen's eponymous 1973 debut, since it has no more than one well-known anthem and plays more like a collection of ideas than a cohesive album. But what ideas! Almost every one of Queen's signatures are already present, from Freddie Mercury's operatic harmonies to Brian May's rich, orchestral guitar overdubs and the suite-like structures of "Great King Rat." That rich, florid feel could be characterized as glam, but even in these early days that appellation didn't quite fit Queen, since they were at once too heavy and arty to be glam and -- ironically enough, considering their legendary excess -- they were hardly trashy enough to be glam. But that only speaks to the originality of Queen: they may have traded in mystical sword 'n' sorcerers themes like so many '70s prog bands, and they may have hit as hard as Led Zeppelin (and Jimmy Page's guitar army certainly was a forefather to May's overdubs), but they didn't sound like anybody else, they were too odd in their theatricality to be mistaken for another band. That much was apparent on this debut, but one thing was crucially missing: songs that could coalesce their sound and present them in a memorable fashion. There is an exception to that rule -- the wild, rampaging opener "Keep Yourself Alive," one of their very best songs -- but too often the album plays like a succession of ideas instead of succinct songs, and the group's predilection for suites only highlights this, despite the occasional blast of fury like "Modern Times Rock & Roll." This can be quite appealing as sheer, visceral sound and, in that regard, Queen is kind of irresistible. It showcases the band in all their ornate splendor yet it's strangely lean and hard, revealing just how good the band was in their early days as a hard rock band. That might not quite make it an overlooked gem -- it remains patchy on a song-by-song basis -- but it sure makes for an interesting debut that provides a rough road map to their later work. [Universal's 2011 reissue of Queen contains a bonus disc that draws heavily from the group's DeLane Lea demo of December 1971, containing no less than five selections from that session then adding "Mad the Swine" -- an outtake previously released 20 years earlier as a bonus track on Hollywood's first round of digital reissues and the only item from that 1991 CD to cross over to this edition -- to complete this six-track bonus disc. These DeLane Lea demos are well regarded by the band and their fans, and for good reason, too: they're leaner and harder than the finished versions, perhaps more indicative of the live sound of Queen at the inception of their career. It's an excellent way to expand Queen's fitfully successful debut.]

Product Details

Release Date: 03/22/2011
Label: Island Uk
UPC: 0602527638799
catalogNumber: 2763879
Rank: 30557

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Queen   Primary Artist
Freddie Mercury   Piano,Vocals,Group Member
Brian May   Guitar,Piano,Vocals,Group Member
Roger Taylor   Percussion,Vocals,Group Member
John Deacon   Bass Guitar,Group Member

Technical Credits

Freddie Mercury   Composer,Cover Design
Queen   Producer
Brian May   Composer,Executive Producer,Cover Design
Roger Taylor   Composer,Executive Producer
John Anthony   Producer
Louie Austin   Engineer
Louis Austin   Engineer
Roy Baker   Producer,Engineer
Roy Thomas Baker   Producer
Ted Sharpe   Engineer
Douglas Puddifoot   Cover Design
Gregg Brooks   Sleeve Notes
Mike Stone   Engineer
Gary Taylor   Sleeve Notes
Dave Henschel   Engineer

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