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Lacking in quality and especially quantity - A review of the bonus tracks,
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This review is from: Queen 40, Volume 1 (Audio CD)
First off - it must be said that Queen is one of my all time favorite bands. While there were some less than stellar albums along the way, on the whole, this band managed to transcend time and continue to release top shelf material right to the unfortunate end.
Per the title, I will not focus on the remastering/overall sound of these reissues. (I think they sound fabulous). There are others here who are far more qualified than I to tackle that. I am solely going to focus on the bonus material.
Overall, I am extremely disappointed in the selection, (or perhaps better said - lack thereof).
The total running times on the 5 bonus discs are as follows:
Queen I - 31 minutes
Queen II - 19 minutes
Sheer Heart Attack - 15 minutes
Night at the Opera - 19 minutes
Day At the Races - 22 minutues
So all in we get 106 minutes worth of music on five discs that could hold approximately 400 minutes worth of music.
So what about the material that is on there?
For me Queen I is by far and away the best of the bunch. Hearing the raw demos of 5 of the album tracks with Roger's drums higher and rougher in the mix than usual Queen productions was beyond fantastic. But where are the BBC sessions? Where is the song Hangman (constantly played at early shows)?
Queen II has a KILLER version of White Queen from the Odeon concert and a very cool instrumental mix of Seven Seas of Rhye where we get to hear the original natural ending. There are also two versions of See What I've Fool I've Been. A song that I've never been super crazy about, but it's cool to hear Freddie's different approaches. But with 60 minutes of space left on the disc, I am left to wonder - why not include more songs from Odeon or the BBC shows? Why not continue to use your imagination and give us alternate mixes of some of the other songs? So frustrating.
Sheer Heart Attack
Another track from the Odeon show (Now I'm Here) which sounds great. Two more BBC songs which are actually just studio mixes with a different lead vocal. (Great to hear the natural begining to Flick of the Wrist). A very cool acapella of Leroy Brown and then an extremely insulting live song from a previously released CD. (Taking a song from another available album is hardly a bonus track).
See above. SIXTY FIVE MINUTES of unused space..... SO MUCH material could have been used here. Outside the obvious BBC and concert material, how about letting us hear Lap of the Gods without Freddie's distorted voice? That would have been a real treat. Or how about letting us hear how Now I'M Here naturally ended in the studio. They were still rocking it out during the fade. Grrrr....
Night At the Opera
Previously available Keep yourself retake. Utterly useless acapella version of the Bohemian Rhapsody opera. (It pretty much was already acapella). Two very cool alternate mixes of You're My Best Friend and I'm In Love with my car. And two VERy cool live tracks from 1977 and 1979. See above. How hard would it have been to include an additional 8 to 10 songs from each show on the bonus disc?
Day At The Races
Very fun instrumental version of Tie Your Mother Down. Another insulting inclusion from available live album. And then for me, the hands down best track of the five discs. Freddie solo playing You Take My Breath Away. Beyond gorgeous....
Two more alternate mixes that are nice, but not vital.
At the end of the day this was a massively missed opportunity to cater to die hard fans who still buy CDs.
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Initial post: Mar 6, 2012 7:16:17 PM PST
Jason W. Bellenger says:
Good review! I totally agree. The music and remastering is excellent, but the bonus material was a hugely missed opportunity for Queen.
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