A Kind of Magic (1986)


 
1. One Vision 2. A Kind of Magic 3. One Year of Love 4. Pain is So Close to Pleasure 5. Friends Will Be Friends 6. Who Wants To Live Forever 7. Gimme the Prize (Kurgan's Theme) 8. Don't Lose Your Head 9. Princes of the Universe 10.Forever

 

As the decade of the 1980s progressed, Queen found themselves slowly evolving as a bit more adult-contemporary and a bit less loud and flamboyant. Yes, they could still rock, and they could rock hard, but their music was....well....let's just say that they were aging right along with their fans. And their fans were still thrilled by the band's output as they should be. Queen was still an immensely talented band that seemed to adapt to the changing times just fine.

1986 found them once again writing full length pieces for a movie. This time it was the fantasy epic "The Highlander". Unlike their work on the Flash Gordon, they wrote a lot more actual songs for this project. So much so, that they basically decided to release all of the songs (along with a few more) on their own release and not give it over to the actual soundtrack - maybe thinking it would get more attention as a "full length" release. Regardless, the formula works. Yes, at times these songs seem like they "belong somewhere else" (i.e. on a soundtrack), but for the most part, the pieces are very strong by themselves, and my guess is many would have a hard time figuring out what songs here are "movie" songs, and what songs were done independently.

The feeling here is a bit more majestic and sweeping. There are a lot of orchestral backgrounds that accompany the boys this time, yet this sort of aura is really perfect for a band such as Queen, and you wonder why they never did more of songs such as Who Wants To Live Forever and One Year of Love. The only song that suffers from movie dialog banter is the hard rocking Gimme the Prize (Kurgan's Theme). It's a very strong song, and had they cut the overlapping of dialogue, it would have made the track a better listen. Also very powerful is the album opener One Vision that ranks as one of their best all-time songs.

Really, the only disappointment, is the tepid dance number Pain is So Close to Pleasure which kind of feels horribly out of place here. Otherwise, though, the record has a very consistent feel throughout, and ranks as one of the most unique, yet enjoyable Queen records because of the familiarity. They also proceeded to go on a mammoth tour (not in the U.S. They were still ignored for some strange reason) and, sadly, would prove to be their last due to Freddie Mercury's soon to be diagnosed illness.

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