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