This is the kind of album Queen fanatics either love or despise, as it presents the band doing hardcore dance music. And in 1982, dance music had synthesizers everywhere, electronic drums, and horny lyrics. I don't know what Queen were trying to do, either they were just fiddling with synthesizers, or just wanted to have some fun in the studio.
Fun or not, this album sounds horribly dated. Whilst this stuff was hot in 1982, it's nowadays only recommended for people who are really into Queen, or people who just want to witness this kind of music. The production is a kind of echoey airy sound, with the drums going 'pisssh! pisssh! pisssh!'.
The album does include a couple of gems though, because the 'dance' stuff was concentrated on Side A, and Side B had more 'mellow' spots. The album's most famous track is probably the closing "Under Pressure", added here against the band's wishes. It's a famous duet with David Bowie, with the groovy bass/piano riff and the improvised vocals. It's a nice song, not a classic, but definitely entertaining. But it has nothing to do with the rest of the album.
Mercury's compositions make me think this album was his idea. "Staying Power" and "Body Language" are the two signature songs, but the latter really really blows - it's an absolutely disgusting and aggressive, insulting piece of tripe that I refuse to enjoy. I liked "Get Down, Make Love" because it was quite weird, but this is not weird - this is stupid and downright offensive, musically void and insubstantial. Mercury just moans and groans his way through the song, not delivering a single melody worth a penny. "Staying Power" on the other hand is a goodie, with some clever vocal lines and groovy synthesizer work. The disco vibe doesn't affect me in any bad way, even though it does have the worst Queen lyric ever, in blow, baby, blow
. Still, the song is fine provided I avoid singing along to it.
by Reviewer: Fernando Canto
(blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct]