Hot Space (1982)


 
1. Staying Power 2. Dancer 3. Black Chat 4. Body Language 5. Action This Day 6. Put Out the Fire 7. Life is Real (Song for Lennon) 8. Calling all Girls 9. Las Palabras de Amor (The Words of Love) 10.Cool Cat 11.Under Pressure

 

Well, it was probably destined to happen at some point, as it does with a lot of great bands during some point in their career - Queen manages to release a turkey. It's not that hard to speculate given the surroundings, though. They had just conquered the world with their most diverse album ever in 1980's The Game, and it was a new decade with new styles and tastes, so this is probably why the band sounds the way they do on this record. This is basically a dance record - or at least the first half of it. Whereas they explored this genre a bit on The Game, on that album they managed to mix things up somewhat with their straight-ahead rock and roll feel. Here, though, they've managed to go all out in the dance tunes, and it leaves most fans with a sour taste in their mouths.

The rumor was that there were a lot of disagreements in the band with just what direction this record needed to go. Front man Freddie Mercury, not surprisingly, was the accused along with Bassist John Deacon of making this thing much more dance oriented. It was Brian May and Roger Taylor, supposedly, that were opposed. Well, this was bound to happen - especially since all four of these guys proved that they were strong songwriters on their own. Whether or not it was intentional or not, this record almost sounds like a compromise. Side one is mostly the dance-able tunes, with side two being more of a normal Queen record. Apart from the o.k. single Body Language on side one, the rest of the side sounds generic, monotonous, and just plain out of character on the band.

Side two leads off with the only rock track, the heavily-political Put Out the Fire which (I think) is a protest over guns (or something). They manage to also do a touchy tribute to John Lennon on Life is Real and Las Palabras de Amour (The Words of Love) isn't too shabby as one of those nice, likable love songs. Other than that, there's sadly more dance music. Oh, yeah - the album closes with the best thing on here, the duet with David Bowie Under Pressure that I'm guessing was added at the last minute - being that it was recorded (and released) several months earlier and doesn't really sound like much else on the record.

You could sum this record up by saying that side 2 is "o.k." and side 1 is "awful", which results overall in a mediocre Queen album. Not surprisingly, it's mostly forgotten among the faithful.

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