A Day at the Races (1976)


 
1. Tie Your Mother Down 2. You Take My Breath Away 3. Long Away 4. The Millionaire Waltz 5. You and I 6. Somebody to Love 7. White Man 8. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy 9. Drowse 10.Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)

 

It's very typical that when a popular recording artist, or group, suddenly explodes with a killer album that they try to immediately go back into the studio and replicate the effort. It shouldn't be a surprise, that when you look at this album cover, it would seem that this is exactly what Queen did. The picture is almost identical as last years A Night at the Opera and even the album title, like its predecessor, comes right from a Marx Brothers movie.

In many ways, this record is a sound-alike, but to be fair, it honestly sounds like everything that Queen put out in the 1970's. What really distinguished A Night at the Opera from everything else this band did was that the songs were all outstanding. They really had all of the same traits on that record that they had throughout their entire career. So, really, then, this record shouldn't really be compared to the one before, but simply evaluated for its music. Fortunately the band wins big in that particular category.

By now, the formula is pretty straightforward - some killer rock tracks (in this case, one of their best ever in Tie Your Mother Down and the somewhat depressing White Man), a song a piece by drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon (Drowse and You and I, both very good, but far from the strongest here), a lot of Brian May guitar crunching, a lot of soaring vocals from Freddie Mercury, and harmonies, harmonies and more harmonies. As a matter of fact, there are so many, that in many ways, this record sounds more opera-ish than it's predecessor. This is witnessed on such songs as the single Somebody to Love and the underrated You Take My Breath Away.

Brian May does sing on one track (unlike Deacon and Taylor, he usually takes up about half of the writing credits, though) and his Long Away showcases him as someone who, surprisingly, never really made it on his own. Surprising because his singing, guitar playing, and song writing seem strong enough to survive, perhaps, as a solo artist. So the album is "typical" Queen. There was nothing on here that dominated the charts such as on the album before or the album after, but if you're a fan of the band, this album does all the right Queen things in all the right Queen places. Forget any style comparisons, it's just a great record.

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