The Game by Queen

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The Game by Queen
The Game by Queen

Album Released: 1980

The Game ::: Artwork

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1.Play The Game3:30
2.Dragon Attack4:18
3.Another One Bites The Dust3:35
4.Need Your Loving Tonight2:48
5.Crazy Little Thing Called Love2:44
6.Rock It (Prime Jive)4:31
7.Don't Try Suicide3:52
8.Sail Away Sweet Sister3:32
9.Coming Soon2:50
10.Save Me3:48


For years and years, I would've sworn The Game was one of the best albums ever made. But that’s only because it was my favorite album when I was eight years old!

Back in 1980, cornerback Jimmy 'Spiderman' Allen recorded “Another One Bites the Dust”, which became the anthem for yet another non-championship season for the Detroit Lions. And when I discovered that some group named Queen had 'covered' it, I naturally had to get that version too.

The Game stayed on my Radio Shack cassette player for months and months, as I swooned to the luscious harmonies, dug the ferocious basslines, and pondered why Freddie Mercury insisted I’m not adopted!. Then, upon turning nine and discovering Billy Squier, I left The Game behind, but I recently dug it out again for another spin.

What’s immediately apparent is that this is one hell of a listenable album, with really fine production values and pop instrumental performances. Queen as always deliver vocally (Mercury must've been about the most powerful rock singer ever), particularly on “Play the Game”, with its cascading sheets of vocals, unfortunately rendered goofy by synthesizer tricks straight out of Flash Gordon, and “Don’t Try Suicide” (a song that I took entirely seriously as a kid, but now appears to be mostly about getting it right and really killing yourself, as opposed to simply attempting the deed).

Surprisingly, Brian May doesn’t get in as many moments of the glorious guitar orchestration that made their 70’s work so interesting. Instead, he provides one of the great filler tunes of all time in “Dragon Attack”, which even makes a drum solo interesting by virtue of the magnetic power of the guitar riff, plus a couple of ballads that kind of creeped me out as a kid - both “Sail Away Sweet Sister” and “Save Me” provoked mental images of shipwrecks!

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by Reviewer: Steve Knowlton (blogging at Steve's Record Reviews)

By 1980, Queen had become more oriented toward cleaner punchier pop numbers, with a view to creating radio-friendly staples - the days of novelty numbers and glitzy glam were behind them.

There's nothing wrong with writing radio songs of course, but I miss the band's former silly glitz, which is what made me a fan in the first place.

But I don't lament the band's transition too much when listening to an album as good as this. After all, The Game includes "Another One Bites the Dust", a post-disco classic. Deacon was directly inspired by Chic's "Good Times" when he wrote it, and the infectious bassline he came up with is widely considered one of the best ever written.

Making it even better is Mercury coming in with a flashy adrenaline-fueled vocal performance, which amazingly doesn't take my attention too much away from the bass (also, according to Christian evangelists, if you play the song backwards you'll hear the words 'It's fun to smoke marijuana'. I tried listening to it backwards and came to the conclusion you'd have to be high to hear that!).

The other famous song here is an Elvis send-up called "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", which is catchy and a whole lot of fun. The 50's-rock styled electric guitar throughout is cute, skilled and stylish, and I also find Mercury's Elvis impersonation endearing.

A song I like even more however is "Dragon Attack", a tight and punchy rocker with a clean 'n' catchy guitar groove ... there's just something clean about this whole record, kind of like Mercury's new haircut!

Another thing you'll notice about this album is that it has *gasp!* synthesizers on it. In the 70's, Queen bragged about never using synthesizers. However, it seems all bets were off with the new decade. With that said, there's not a whole lot of synthesizer here - there's a brief synthy introduction to "Play the Game", and synthesizers are also incorporated minimally in the groove of "Rock It (Prime Jive)". Both of those songs are pretty awesome by the way - the former is a nicely-written mid-tempo number, and the latter a danceable and raucous bit of New Wave.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

Jazz might have been the last 'classic' Queen album, but it wasn't the last good Queen album. For no matter how The Game might be different - bringing in synthesizers - it's far from being one of the band's worst albums.

Unlike Jazz, this album is extremely 'pop', in the conventional sense. As such, The Game is probably the band's tamest album so far, in that there's no weird little twists, everything is fairly predictable and easy-going, but as far as predictable easy-going songs go, these ones are close to the top.

This is also Queen's most democratic album to date. Ten songs, fairly divided among the four members, and they do a dang good job. Brian May wrote my favourite - "Dragon Attack" - a fiery and exciting performance with a little tint of funk, but concentrating on a kickarse riff, plus Taylor's Tyranossauric pounding, and lots of cool solo spots. The harmonies in the chorus are cool too!

Mercury provides two classics as well. "Play the Game" will always be one of the band's nicest 'ballads', alternating sweet little vocal melodies with sudden blasts of electric guitar and synthesizers. I like that! But "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is the true classic here. I don't know if the 50's vibe is really genuine, but the song is pure fun.

Deacon provides a classic too. I'm talking of course about "Another One Bites the Dust", quite possibly the band's most famous song after "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are the Champions". The funky rhythm and bassline are enough alone to make the song memorable, but Mercury's delivery, and the blasts of synthesizer fading in all the time, make great additions to the song. And Deacon's second song, "Need Your Loving Tonight", is more of that cute pop he does so well, this time going with a speedy 50's rhythm and strumming guitars.

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by Reviewer: Fernando Canto (blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct])