Freddie-less queen fail to recall old glories
Back in 1992, the year after the untimely demise of Queen’s queen-in-chief Freddie Mercury, your reviewer attended a press conference with Brian May at New York’s CMJ seminar. Somebody asked the poodle-haired guitarist, “Will the death of Freddie Mercury affect the future of the band in any way?” I thought it was the dumbest question I’d ever heard in my life, but unfortunately May didn’t laugh.
So, yeah, you guessed it, Queen are back – and this time they’ve got Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers with them. Obviously that ‘+ Paul Rodgers’ in the moniker is meant to reassure fans that Rodgers isn’t attempting to emulate Freddie. Which is just as well. He’s not a bad singer, but he’s no homosexual hedonist.
Musically, it’s exactly as you’d expect – solid backbeats with lots of overlong and heavily treated guitar solos – but there’s a definite dearth of the memorable melodic hooks of old. Lyrically, just about every song is plain silly. I’ll spare you any lengthy examples, but the fact that the chorus of album opener ‘Cosmos Rockin’’ (presumably astronomer and physicist May thought up the title) goes, “We got the whole house rocking/To the mighty power of rock ‘n’ roll,” should be all you need to know. And aren’t they all just a little too ancient to be singing songs with titles like ‘Surf’s Up... School’s Out!’?
I’d like to think that this embarrassingly awful dad-rock album would only appeal to diehard Queen completists and loser air-guitar enthusiasts. Somehow, though, I fear that it could sell millions.
Freddie must be gurning in his grave.