A Kind of Magic!

The studio albums, live releases, compilations and box sets
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Frank
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A Kind of Magic!

Post by Frank »

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A Kind of Magic is certainly not my favorite Queen album. Not by a long shot. In fact, I think it's too short (only 9 songs) and there isn't really anything all that interesting aside from the singles, which makes up the vast majority of the album. But I also think it gets unfairly shafted because it's an album that can't decide what it is...is it a soundtrack album? A traditional Queen album? It lies somewhere in the middle.

But the album is very Queen. It's eclectic, featuring a wide range of styles in only 9 tracks -- hard rock, soul, weird motown, ballad, heavy metal, and perhaps their poppiest tune ever. But it all works. And yeah, I know some people put their noses up at a song like Pain Is So Close to Pleasure, but I actually love that one. It's such a pretty melody, and Freddie sounds so sincere it's infectious. Plus there's some surprisingly great guitar work on it -- arguably the best part of the song.

What does every one else think of the album? Any special memories? Controversial opinions?

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Black Wings
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Black Wings »

I .over it. What stands out to me the most is the grit and growl of POTU, the emotion in WWTLF, vocally and lyrically and, the pure pop of AKOM, even the chesse that is FWBF.
It's too bad that the album is so short. I enjoy it very much, I guess because I like the pop sounds Queen had at times. They never were in a box.

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Frank
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Frank »

Black Wings wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 7:57 pm
They never were in a box.
Exactly.

You simply can't pin them down as anything. And critics have tried. In the early days they were instantly compared to Led Zeppelin, which is one hell of a compliment, but that title could never contain Queen. They wanted to write in every style imaginable. And with four strong songwriters with four very different tastes they accomplished an incredibly diverse collection of songs - second to none, I would argue. And as I've said, A Kind of Magic is no exception.

What I find fascinating is that Freddie and John worked on two tracks together - Pain Is So Close To Pleasure (a personal favorite) and Friends Will Be Friends. And what's more, the only song Freddie contributed entirely on his own was Princes of the Universe, which came COMPLETELY out of nowhere. He hadn't written anything that heavy in years. It's refreshing, isn't it? Think about it, this was only a short while after Mr. Bad Guy with all its bubble gum pop. But this was a REAL rock song. And one of their heaviest in the 80s. And the song is more complex than one might think. It goes through so many changes....the song just keeps chugging along riff after riff, great harmony after great harmony...and all done in 3 minutes. Incredible.

This album also features the first Brian solo vocal performance since The Game (and to a lesser extent I guess Flash Gordon). I wish the band had used Brian more often. His voice is greatly suited for those more mellow, somber moments. Such as Who Wants To Live Forever.

But anyway, I'd like to share this 3 hour long podcast that does an excellent job of picking apart the album. Someone else shared their podcasts...I forget who, I'm sorry. But whoever you are, thank you so much. The Permanent Record Podcast is a treasure.

http://permanentrecordpodcast.com/queen ... 986-part-1

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action
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by action »

this and NOTW are my favorite Queen albums. the former defines the 80s, the latter the 70s.

on AKOM, I love freddies's voice, I love all the songs, the instrumentation, the creativity.

too short? The works also only had 9 songs. Queen I only had 9 proper songs. A day at the races: 10 songs, only one song more.

Barcelona: only 7 songs and one compilation track.

9 songs is somewhat the common lenght to Queen albums. It's lenght is fine. 9 songs is perfect for one listen. In fact, this thread made me wanna listen to the album again

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Frank
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Frank »

action wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 9:25 am
this and NOTW are my favorite Queen albums. the former defines the 80s, the latter the 70s.

on AKOM, I love freddies's voice, I love all the songs, the instrumentation, the creativity.

too short? The works also only had 9 songs. Queen I only had 9 proper songs. A day at the races: 10 songs, only one song more.

Barcelona: only 7 songs and one compilation track.

9 songs is somewhat the common lenght to Queen albums. It's lenght is fine. 9 songs is perfect for one listen. In fact, this thread made me wanna listen to the album again
Maybe it feels short to me because the majority of the songs were released as singles. One Vision, Friends Will Be Friends, One Year of Love, A Kind of Magic, Who Wants To Live Forever, and Princes of the Universe make up well over half of the album. The only song that I don't think was released as an A or B side was Don't Lose Your Head (and yes, A Dozen Red Roses was released, but that's not the same as the album track). Could be wrong though. But regardless, there aren't really any hidden gems. This is in stark contrast to an album like Queen I where the only hit was Keep Yourself Alive. Everything else isn't. It's a world all itself. And so revisiting it is always refreshing as opposed to visiting A Kind of Magic and feeling like it's a hits album. Which isn't a bad thing, mind you. The fact that it had so many singles, and overall the tunes were very successful, means you've got one hell of an album.

Glad this thread inspired you to listen to it again. I think you'll enjoy the podcast too if you have time to spare. Cheers.

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action
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by action »

I can easily make a case for AKOM being Queen's "thriller"

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Frank
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Frank »

action wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 4:18 pm
I can easily make a case for AKOM being Queen's "thriller"
You have my attention. Please proceed.

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action
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by action »

Frank wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 5:57 pm
action wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 4:18 pm
I can easily make a case for AKOM being Queen's "thriller"
You have my attention. Please proceed.
like thriller, the album is full of hits. roughly same running lenght. probably the album that most casual fans can recall as it was supported by the magic tour. same fusion of pop and rock. the theme of wonder and magic could easily be jackson's etc

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Sir Didymus
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Sir Didymus »

I've long since held the belief that A Kind of Magic suffers from being an album made by accident, rather than design.

What should have been was a bonafide Highlander soundtrack album. Instead we got the highlights from that plus some half-baked extra songs that weren't really fit to be more than B-sides, and a bolted on pre-existing single for good measure because even Queen realised 8 songs wasn't enough for the record.

Don't Lose Your Head is ok, but Friends Will be Friends has to be the worst song in their catalogue for me. A warning sign of some of the more pedestrian, soft-rock smudge that would permeate The Miracle, too.

Time for a revisit... and on that note... I was planning on posting the next Restructuring thread in a few weeks, but maybe I should just share my revised tracklisting here instead? ;)

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Sir Didymus
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Sir Didymus »

action wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 9:25 am
too short? The works also only had 9 songs. Queen I only had 9 proper songs. A day at the races: 10 songs, only one song more.

9 songs is somewhat the common lenght to Queen albums. It's lenght is fine. 9 songs is perfect for one listen. In fact, this thread made me wanna listen to the album again
It's interesting, isn't it? This album always feels half-arsed to me... and I think it's because it's basically four songs from Highlander, two songs SORT OF BUT NOT QUITE from Highlander, then two filler tracks and a pre-existing single that was 7 months old by the time the album was released.

But, you're right in terms of it's actual length. It's actually in the middle of the pack length wise.

70:21 - Made in Heaven (47:45 on original LP)
58:46 - The Cosmos Rocks
53:48 - Innuendo (46:55 on original LP)
44:39 - Jazz
44:24 - A Day at the Races
43:29 - Hot Space
43:08 - A Night at the Opera
41:22 - The Miracle
40:42 - Queen II
40:42 - A Kind of Magic
39:10 - News of the World
38:52 - Queen
38:41 - Sheer Heart Attack
37:15 - The Works
35:42 - The Game
35:01 - Flash Gordon

Still, in terms of song counts, The Works and AKOM are definitely bottom of the pile.

18 songs - Flash Gordon
14 songs - The Cosmos Rocks
13 songs - Sheer Heart Attack, Jazz
13* songs - Made in Heaven (It's 12. Yeah is not a song. Fight me.)
12 songs - A Night at the Opera, Innuendo
11 songs - Queen II, News of the World, Hot Space
10 songs - Queen, A Day at the Races, The Game, The Miracle
9 songs - The Works, A Kind of Magic

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