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ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:01 am
by BrandonSquared
One of Queen's most popular records and released during an artistic peak for the group. Some think this is their best, others think it's too "ballet" or lightweight. I can understand both sides but I certainly think this was one of their best albums and one that flows beautifully together (like ANATO I like to hear the album in full, not just individually on an iPod) - it's their softest album with a lush, often romantic layering to it that never becomes saccharine (expect for the final track). Some people don't like their Queen to be quiet and smooth but I've always loved their softer tunes as well and it never gets samey thanks to the meticulous, fresh arrangements. It includes two great rockers that add some variety and extra textures. Not quite as great as Opera but just about. I'll take soft Queen over their late 80s overdone hard rockers anyday of the week.

Choosing a side, I think I'd go with Side 1, by just a little bit. Yes, even with STL on the second. There's not a weak song on the album nor one that I don't enjoy in some way. I just think the first side songs are a bit more interesting to me or appeal to me a bit more. But at the same time side 2 is equally as fascinating. Side 2's fault for me is small but for me Teo T is a bit too soppy for me with the sing along, even with Freddie's haunting vocals the song is thrown off with the other lyrics and voices.

SIDE 1:
1) Tie Your Mother Down
2) You Take My Breath Away
3) Long Away
4) The Millionaire Waltz
5) You And I

SIDE 2;
6) Somebody To Love
7) White Man
8) Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
9) Drowse
10) Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together).

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:35 am
by sebastian
Love them both, but I'd take side one.

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:45 am
by MillionaireWaltz'd
Side I, quite easily.

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:29 pm
by devogue
It’s a seriously brilliant album, and I feel that it is slightly overlooked because it as unfairly seen sometimes as the stuff that didn’t make ANATO. Choosing a favourite side is extremely difficult and requires a death match of sorts!

Tie your mother down v White Man
On the surface the boisterous thunder of TYMD should make this an easy win but while it is enormously good fun it’s also musically unadventurous and simplistic, whereas White Man displays the group’s mastery of song structure and timbre. The lyrics are exceptional and this rare political foray is still apposite today. Side two wins.

The Millionaire Waltz v GOFLB
TMW is one of the greatest slices of invention in the Queen catalogue. Sublimely precise keyboard work, detailed bass work from John (as a bass player myself his echoing of orchestral waltz bass moving from crotchets to dotted minims is a really telling touch showing how clever Queen were), and stunning harmonic work from Brian set off one of Freddie’s most memorable vocal performances. GOFLB is a really accomplished and sweet song, but it falls short here. Side one wins.

YTMBA v Somebody to Love
Once again, the depth of Freddie’s musicality and songwriting brilliance is shown in the impossibly atmospheric YTMBA (Brian’s watercolour brushes of harmony on his sparse framework showcases their magical partnership at the time), but Somebody to Love is one of the great songs of the 20th century - Queen were often derided as being a mere pastiche band but this appropriation of gospel creates something entirely new and unique. It’s a riot, a joyous chocolate box of aural pleasure underpinning a genuinely anguished and desperate lyric. Side two wins.

Drowse v Long Away
Drowse is magnificent - delta blues meets Vaughan-Williams English folk song with a turquoise blend of Mississippi and Cornwall which Roger somehow manages to meld. It’s a seriously strange song with fascinating lyrics, and it never ceases to surprise and astonish. Long Away is in the Some Day One Day mould, the thoughtful Brian that I really enjoy (though many don’t so much). It’s mainstream, perfectly formed and executed, and it sits nicely on the album as an antidote to the blistering invention around it, but it doesn’t win this head to head. Side two wins.

You and I v Teo Torriate

You and I is a great musical idea, but for once I think that Queen’s decision making failed them. The serious piano, the bubbling bass and tight percussion create a perfect sense of tension to mirror the sexual expectation and longing of the grown up lyrics, but when the vocal harmonies come in and the Deaky-amped guitar it all starts to sound a bit cheesy. I know this is rated very highly by fans but this is one where Brian should have stepped back (as he did when the “long lost guitars” were correctly removed from Don’t Stop Me Now a few years later). Teo Torriate has its faults (the child choir...why oh why?... and the bonkers drum rolls leading in to the choruses) but the melody, structure and sentiment are so honest and beautiful they can be forgiven. Side two wins.

I’ve surprised myself because it’s a landslide! Side two wins 4-1 :cool:

I know the match-offs could be changed around but I think that’s a fair result overall :-D

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:03 am
by BrandonSquared
devogue wrote:It’s a seriously brilliant album, and I feel that it is slightly overlooked because it as unfairly seen sometimes as the stuff that didn’t make ANATO. Choosing a favourite side is extremely difficult and requires a death match of sorts!

Tie your mother down v White Man
On the surface the boisterous thunder of TYMD should make this an easy win but while it is enormously good fun it’s also musically unadventurous and simplistic, whereas White Man displays the group’s mastery of song structure and timbre. The lyrics are exceptional and this rare political foray is still apposite today. Side two wins.

The Millionaire Waltz v GOFLB
TMW is one of the greatest slices of invention in the Queen catalogue. Sublimely precise keyboard work, detailed bass work from John (as a bass player myself his echoing of orchestral waltz bass moving from crotchets to dotted minims is a really telling touch showing how clever Queen were), and stunning harmonic work from Brian set off one of Freddie’s most memorable vocal performances. GOFLB is a really accomplished and sweet song, but it falls short here. Side one wins.

YTMBA v Somebody to Love
Once again, the depth of Freddie’s musicality and songwriting brilliance is shown in the impossibly atmospheric YTMBA (Brian’s watercolour brushes of harmony on his sparse framework showcases their magical partnership at the time), but Somebody to Love is one of the great songs of the 20th century - Queen were often derided as being a mere pastiche band but this appropriation of gospel creates something entirely new and unique. It’s a riot, a joyous chocolate box of aural pleasure underpinning a genuinely anguished and desperate lyric. Side two wins.

Drowse v Long Away
Drowse is magnificent - delta blues meets Vaughan-Williams English folk song with a turquoise blend of Mississippi and Cornwall which Roger somehow manages to meld. It’s a seriously strange song with fascinating lyrics, and it never ceases to surprise and astonish. Long Away is in the Some Day One Day mould, the thoughtful Brian that I really enjoy (though many don’t so much). It’s mainstream, perfectly formed and executed, and it sits nicely on the album as an antidote to the blistering invention around it, but it doesn’t win this head to head. Side two wins.

You and I v Teo Torriate

You and I is a great musical idea, but for once I think that Queen’s decision making failed them. The serious piano, the bubbling bass and tight percussion create a perfect sense of tension to mirror the sexual expectation and longing of the grown up lyrics, but when the vocal harmonies come in and the Deaky-amped guitar it all starts to sound a bit cheesy. I know this is rated very highly by fans but this is one where Brian should have stepped back (as he did when the “long lost guitars” were correctly removed from Don’t Stop Me Now a few years later). Teo Torriate has its faults (the child choir...why oh why?... and the bonkers drum rolls leading in to the choruses) but the melody, structure and sentiment are so honest and beautiful they can be forgiven. Side two wins.

I’ve surprised myself because it’s a landslide! Side two wins 4-1 :cool:

I know the match-offs could be changed around but I think that’s a fair result overall :-D


I love how precise and detailed your responses are! I don't agree with everything in terms of which song is better in each match up, but when most of the songs are of such high standard that's okay. The whole thing shines with an aural luster that just ten years later was lost to generic, cheesy 80s pop/rock. The lovely, darkly shaded atmosphere on Races is exquisite, and even if it has too much of a "light touch" for some, there's no way they can't appreciate it.

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:07 am
by action
too much piano, too much plodding and boring parts

there is not really one song I like on the album. the rockers sound forced and convoluted. the blame is on brian for the most part. weak lyrics, weak riffing and weak vocals on his songs. TYMD is okay, but if this is your best rocker you know you're in trouble.

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:07 pm
by hardwired
action wrote:too much piano, too much plodding and boring parts

there is not really one song I like on the album. the rockers sound forced and convoluted. the blame is on brian for the most part. weak lyrics, weak riffing and weak vocals on his songs. TYMD is okay, but if this is your best rocker you know you're in trouble.


Wow really?? TYMD??? STL ??? TT??? For me this album is complete and their best.

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:22 pm
by BrandonSquared
action wrote:too much piano, too much plodding and boring parts

there is not really one song I like on the album. the rockers sound forced and convoluted. the blame is on brian for the most part. weak lyrics, weak riffing and weak vocals on his songs. TYMD is okay, but if this is your best rocker you know you're in trouble.


It's the most "classical" album by far, largely subdued in terms of rock sensibility and focused more on lush pianos and nuances. I can see how you would not like this change and prefer the harder sound, but this for me is a totally successful immersion into a different, chocolate box (is that a phrase?) sound. I love that at the height of their fame as rock stars they release a more pop, lushly orchestrated album where the rockers took a back seat. TYMD is one their best rockers, very hard and memorable and a great live song too. When you compare it to Let me Entertain You or If You Can't Beat Em, it looks even greater in quality. White Man is a polarizing tune but I think it's pretty good, very dark and brooding and vivid in imagery. Worked just as well live as it did on record.

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:01 pm
by Action This Day
Side I for me although I love the entire album. Always viewed as the 'poor relation' to ANATO but I find it's a more focused and better album than its more celebrated predecessor.

Re: ALBUM SIDES: "A DAY AT THE RACES" (1976)

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:17 am
by The__KingOfRhye
I call this one a draw. I can't vote one side over the other. I start to think it's side one, but every time I do, there's Somebody To Love and Teo Torriate saying "hey, what about us?"