Queen II (1974)


 
1. Procession 2. Father to Son 3. White Queen (As It Began) 4. Some Day One Day 5. The Loser in the End 6. Ogre Battle 7. The Fiary Feller's Master Stroke 8. Nevermore 9. The March of the Black Queen 10.Funny How Love Is 11.Seven Seas of Rhye

 

Queen's second album is exactly what every second album should be. It has many many similarities as the band's first record, yet manages to make many improvements at the very same time. The sound here is a bit leaner, a bit more direct, and it really does sound like the guys were simply channeling their energy better. When a band can always keep the exact same members throughout its history, this is always a bit easier to do. It also seemed to help that even though these guys were diverse, they always seemed to be on the same page musically. So whatever styles they pursued (and they would pursue many) it never seemed forced or uncomfortable. Mostly what we have here, though, is a style very similar to their freshmen release.

They're still singing about fairies, queens (white and black) and ogres, so they haven't left the fantasy trademark behind. They still seem a bit more "glam" and not quite "rock", but the rock side definitely shows its face. Brian May has already established his killer wailing guitar sound, while Freddie Mercury proved to have one of the strongest, melodic voices of the rock and roll genre for his time. He's perfectly comfortable belting out rockers as he is the slowed down ballads - and they are both featured here a-plenty. Then there are the harmonies. Yes, these guys had that department licked as well way back then, and it's nice to hear that this distinction never left the band.

Something that may appear as a bit of a drawback here, is that this album really doesn't have any stand out songs. A quick glance at the tracks won't help many people who aren't hardcore fans. This really isn't much of a deterrent, though, since the whole album seems to flow as a whole. As a matter of fact, side 2 of the album almost plays like a complete piece, and you have to wonder if they were really trying to record something like Bohemian Rhapsody (from A Night at the Opera) here, but maybe chickened out since the idea was so strange, and they may just not have quite had the confidence. You can definitely hear similarities, though, and it's hard to imagine any fan of this band not liking this album, even if it doesn't have that trademark killer single somewhere.

Roger Taylor gets a turn at the mike, this time on The Loser in the End which seems a bit out place, but still is satisfying. His drum work on the track is impeccable as well. The only song that sort of slows down the pace is Brian May's Some Day One Day which is a bit tiresome. Yes, the closing track Seven Seas of Rhye is the same title of the last track on Queen, and it is essentially the same song. This one adds lyrics and is a bit longer. A bit weird. It's as if they wanted to "fix" the version from the first album.

Although many critics always hated this band, smart music fans could probably tell that these guys were winners, and it would only be a matter of time before they broke out big.

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