A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

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A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby Pingu » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:36 pm

There, I've said it. Since nothing seems to happen here I thought I'd start a contentious thread.

And I'm not kidding either. I had a bit of an album marathon recently and once again as I got to ADATR I instantly got fed up.

But why?

It's a combination of factors for me - until ANATO I feel the band was moving forward, although they lost a little momentum with ANATO, despite getting very, very good at writing hits.

But with ADATR for the first time they've got too comfortable. They've had a massive hit, they've established a huge and loyal fanbase (Hyde Park?), they've found a formula. So they repeat it, to a degree.

I think the band knew, and admitted, at the end of ADATR that they'd somewhat played that style/approach out. I actually think it was played out with ANATO and they should have moved on, sharpish.

The other problem is that ADATR for me epitomises the whole ballet tights and champagne era which dated Queen more than any other. Especially in the time of punk and new wave. It just made them look soppy and frivolous where less than two years before they'd been hard and incisive. I think what are (for me) a lot of insipid songs on ADATR are a big part of that.

Here's what they should have done - drop the ADATR album and concept. Instead issue Queen's first EP; Somebody To Love, Tie Your Mother Down, Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy and Drowse. The best tracks from that album by a mile. Then follow up with NOTW the year after.

The rest of the tracks? I honestly wouldn't care if I never hear them again. YTMBA is sub LOML. Long Away is sub '39. White Man is sub Prophet's Song. Millionaire's Waltz - technically it's impressive but as a song I can easily live without it. It's Ballet Shoes Era exhibit A for me, all flouncing and theatrics with none of the charm of Seaside Rendezvous or Leroy Brown. Teo Torriate - it's OK, but I won't miss it that much. If you must, release it as a Japan only single with You and I on the B side (where it belongs IMO), and we'll all spend the 1980s going mad looking for original 7" singles.

There. Now stop sitting on the bloody fence, QOL, and get discussing. :)
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby action » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:37 pm

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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby soxtalon » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:22 pm

I would say that your assertion is not out of left field. To me it kind of depends on what their intention was. If you believe the band they wrote and recorded (or at least started) a lot of the material at the same time as ANATO then it's not a progression halted, it's a companion piece.

If you look at that as a bullshit excuse than you are right it was a play it safe album.

All we know is what we were told and the idea that they used the same motif, the same cover, a similar title. Was it a companion or was it meant to ape their biggest success? Either are plausible.

I enjoy a lot of ADATR possibly because it is less overplayed that ANATO. Those "sub" songs to you are nice "alternative versions or companion versions" to me.

With that in mind, I'd say the progression stopped more with Jazz.

But as for it being not enough rock and roll. Action once again you seem to be liking the wrong band. Queen's always been a band that did some rock, but part of their greatest appeal was their ability to bounce between genres. It's like saying being a fan of Metallica and signing up for their forums and then complaining there aren't enough ballads.
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby action » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:46 am

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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby stagnation » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:56 am

I always thought that if you put ANATO and ADATR together you could have a great double album
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby Leigh Burne » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:19 am

action wrote:passing the open windows, machines, man on the prowl

"Rock n' roll".

:lol:

Not to mention A Day at the Races has "Tie Your Mother Down" and "White Man", two of the heaviest songs they ever did.
"I always knew I was a star. And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." — Freddie Mercury
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby soxtalon » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:03 am

action wrote:there are '70s and '80s albums which have more rock n roll than this 1976 piano / ballet nonsense.


The piano "nonsense" is a HUGE part of Queen's ouevre...

i dont agree that Queen isn't about rock n roll. yes they had experimental tracks like lily of the valley but they could fill up a whole live setlist with nothing but rock songs, and the live versions of songs are "rocked up" in most cases, like the hot space tracks.


I don't disagree that they are a great rock and roll band. I'm not claiming they are not. But at their heart they are so much more than that. And to be dismissive of anything the band did as it wasn't rock and roll enough is imo missing the point....
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby Jimi » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:55 am

Its an interesting postion you take on ADATR.
For years , (and I go way back !) I regarded it as in my top 3 Queen albums (along with SHA and 2) for no other reason than it always seemed to flow well to me and of course it has Somebody to Love on it.
But over the years I have become less satisfied with it. Maybe its just the passing of time or discovering other facets of their other work that I previously dismissed ; or possibly its just not as good as I thought it was. Now of course anything like this is going to be subjective but you raise very good points.
Off the top of my head I do feel if they had dumped long away and /or MW (which is too similar to GOFLB) for a kick ass rocker the album would 'feel ' much stronger. More robust even.
Bands make different albums of course for a variety of reasons but I do agree that I think they knew the time was up for this type of album and they happily turned tail and created NOTW.
ADATR Is a very 'accomplished' album,. Smug almost? Very assured and 'grown up'
But it isn't the be all and end all of Queen ....
7/10
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby action » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:00 pm

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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby Wild/Wind » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:00 pm

ADATR in term of production is the best of the first five albums. In term of musicality and music statement by the band is pioneer not pseudo progressive. Maybe is the more free albumfrom the first 5.

The public Joe wanted same old classic rock, Queen was not a band to give this kind of easy, unispired music, even when they played synth pop.

This album like Queen II, Innuendo and some flash Gordon tracks, want time and open mind in order to understand - see what beautiful, pioneer music art lies inside them.
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby YAFF » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:18 am

Pingu wrote:There, I've said it. Since nothing seems to happen here I thought I'd start a contentious thread.

There. Now stop sitting on the bloody fence, QOL, and get discussing. :)


ADATR is a masterpiece. Your opinion sucks. ;) And so does action (oh, and his opinions too)
"I don't dislike Freddie and have said he's hands down the best singer I've ever heard." - magicshoes
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby Pingu » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:32 am

YAFF wrote:
Pingu wrote:There, I've said it. Since nothing seems to happen here I thought I'd start a contentious thread.

There. Now stop sitting on the bloody fence, QOL, and get discussing. :)


ADATR is a masterpiece. Your opinion sucks. ;) And so does action (oh, and his opinions too)


That's the spirit!
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby sebastian » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Since I love statistics so much, here's a quick run down of how much acoustic piano there is on each Queen album:

Queen: 50% of tracks have piano, 30% are piano-based.
Queen II: 54.54% have piano, 45.45% are piano-based.
Sheer Heart Attack: 69.23% / 53.85%.
A Night at the Opera: 50% / 33.33%.
A Day at the Races: 70% / 70%.
News of the World: 45.45% / 45.45%.
Jazz: 46.15% / 38.46%.
The Game: 50% / 40%.
Hot Space: 26.26% / 9.09% *
The Works: 44.44% / 33.33%
A Kind of Magic: 33.33% / 0.00%**
The Miracle: 30% / 0.00%
Innuendo: 33.33% / 0.00%
Made in Heaven: 40% / 30%***

* I'm counting 'Las Palabras' as guitar-based as most of the time the main accompaniment is provided by the Martin acoustic. The backing track 'may' have been on piano but on the final cut it's mostly an overdub and only prominent in the third verse.
** Though piano is arguably the main instrument of the 'Friends Will Be Friends' backing track, I don't think that's a piano-based song at all, is it? I mean, not at all compared to, say, 'Don't Stop Me Now' or 'Play the Game.' Same applies to 'The Miracle'. That would cast some doubts as to whether the Queen-ised version of 'I Was Born to Love You' should be considered piano-based or not. I vote 'no.'
*** Piano on 'Too Much Love' and 'My Life Has Been Saved' was digital, not acoustic, so therefore I don't count either. If I did, I'd have to count 'Best Friend' as well and so on.

So, how much acoustic piano did each album have?

In terms of it being the main instrument:

1. A Day at the Races.
2. Sheer Heart Attack.
3-4. Queen II & News of the World.
5. The Game.
6. Jazz
7-8. A Night at the Opera & The Works.
9-10. First and last.
11. Hot Space.
12-15. Magic - Miracle - Innuendo.

In terms of having acoustic piano as an overdub but not as main instrument:

1-2. Magic & Innuendo.
3. The Miracle.
4. Queen.
5. Hot Space.
6. A Night at the Opera.
7. Sheer Heart Attack.
8. The Works.
9-10. The Game & Made in Heaven.
11. Queen II.
12. Jazz
13-14. Races & News.
John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Roger did not compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
 
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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby action » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:19 pm

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Re: A Day At The Races - my least favourite Queen album

Postby sebastian » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:50 pm

Piano? Yes
Ballet? No
Mess? No
John hated Hot Space. Frederick's favourite singer was not Paul Rodgers. Roger did not compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
 
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