Odd song placements on albums

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Young Music Fan
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Odd song placements on albums

Post by Young Music Fan »

A really random thread but to me certain Queen songs seem to have a weird spot on an album.

Here are some of my top ones:

• Now I'm Here [Sheer Heart Attack] - it just seems odd that with a title like this should open an album not be the last on album side.
• Let Me Entertain You [Jazz] - the same reason as Now I'm Here.
• One Vision [Greatest Hits II] - it opens the AKOM album but I can see why not this album due to it not being the most famous or biggest song album. But that doesn't explain why it has to end the album instead of The Show Must Go On, the most obvious choice. I've realised on compilation albums Queen don't like having two tracks consecutively if they're from the same album so it's not just a simple case of swapping TSMGO and OV because then OV will be next to Friends Will Be Friends.

Does anyone else have any other songs?

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Black Wings
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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Black Wings »

These two...Party and Khashoggi's Ship. Just weak to lead off a or any Queen album, IMO.

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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Young Music Fan »

Black Wings wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:55 am
These two...Party and Khashoggi's Ship. Just weak to lead off a or any Queen album, IMO.
I totally agree, Party has the most pathetic drum sound to start an album.

I also get annoyed by Fat Bottomed Girls and Bicycle Race being split by Jealousy. Just swapping BR and J would sort this out!

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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Good Apothecary Man »

A Day at the Races was my first Queen album. Poring over every detail of it as a young kid, I used to think it was a ‘rule’ that two songs written by the same person could not be placed side by side. Once all four of them were writing, it was certainly unusual.

Those early albums, in particular, flow so beautifully that, for me, nothing really stands out as being oddly placed. If I had to name one, I would say Loser in the End, which sits a little uncomfortably both lyrically and musically in the wake of a succession of Brian’s magnificently dark and introspective songs.

The songs on the early albums are so consistently good that we don’t (in my opinion) get a run of two or more weaker songs side by side that would have been better split up. Peaks and troughs are a bit more of an issue with later albums, however. For example, I would have moved A Kind of Magic and used it to split the run of songs from One Year of Love that concludes the old side one.

‘Odd’ song placements are probably going to be most striking at the beginning and end of an album. It is worth bearing in mind that, in the days of vinyl, albums had two openers and closers — for side one and side two respectively.

There was a discussion on the old board about the best/worst album openers. I made the point that for these discussions to go anywhere (as opposed to ‘I think this … I think that …’) you have to start with some criteria. What are the things you think make for a good opener? You can then talk about songs in that context.

If memory serves, I think I said that a good opener for me does one or more of the following:

It is dramatic or striking in some way (eg Innuendo)
It conveys the mood or theme of the album as a whole (eg Staying Power)
It in some way suggests a ‘beginning’, either musically or lyrically (eg the opening to A Day at the Races)
It is a classic (Radio Ga Ga is the obvious one here, with its ‘Queen are back’ anthemic quality)

When I get time, I will rewrite it. The short version is that I thought all of Queen’s openers were good choices (and therefore not ‘odd’ in the context of this discussion), with the exception of Party.

Similarly, the best album closers will fit one or more of these:

Be of real quality (we’ve saved something really powerful to last eg Bohemian Rhapsody ... followed by God Save the Queen)
Have an anthemic quality and leave us feeling upbeat (eg Teo Torriatte)
Suggest an ‘end’ in some way (eg Was It All Worth It)
Provide a taster of what is to come (the Tomorrow Never Knows test! — eg the Seven Seas of Rhye snippet on the first album)

In the Lap of the Gods ... Revisited ticks all of the above haha.

So, bearing all that in mind …

I understand the point about Now I’m Here. It worked brilliantly as a set opener. I just think that Brighton Rock is such a powerful opener (it’s my favourite Queen song): we’re back and we have a unique sound. Plus there’s the continuity with the seaside music from the end of Queen II.

Let Me Entertain You is an album opener every day of the week. ‘Let me welcome you, ladies and gentlemen / I would like to say hello’ halfway through the album?! Daft.

I can see the reasoning behind starting with Mustapha — it is such a quirky, original song and it certainly has a very distinctive opening. Maybe Let Me Entertain You could have been placed second, following on immediately after Mustapha. It was there in the live set, of course, part of a double-whammy with We Will Rock You.

Two songs I think are oddly placed are My Melancholy Blues and More of That Jazz, both album closers.

I like My Melancholy Blues but it’s too downbeat to close the album (‘Another party’s over / And I’m left cold sober’). I would have closed the album with It’s Late with its big finish or bookended the album with We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, which is definitely in the wrong place.

More of That Jazz is also too downbeat (‘If you're feelin' tired and only / Uninspired and lonely’) and just a weak song by Queen’s standards, frankly. The less said about the hideous mashup, the better. And ‘Give me no more of that jazz’ doesn’t work for me as the closing message of an album called Jazz.

More of That Jazz sits unloved in the musical and lyrical shadow of the exuberant Don’t Stop Me Now, which, with Freddie’s voice soaring off into the distance, would have been a great way to end the album.

And, finally, Hot Space …

I sometimes wonder whether Under Pressure was placed where it was on Hot Space to keep people listening to the end (ouch). Having said that, it would be out of place anywhere on the album. A braver decision for me would have been to leave it off the album completely.

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Leigh Burne
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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Leigh Burne »

Black Wings wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:55 am
These two...Party and Khashoggi's Ship. Just weak to lead off a or any Queen album, IMO.
These are the two that immediately sprung to mind for me when I read the thread title.

I actually really like “Khashoggi’s Ship”, but they should’ve used “I Want It All” with the single intro to open the album.

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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Young Music Fan »

Good Apothecary Man wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:35 am
A Day at the Races was my first Queen album. Poring over every detail of it as a young kid, I used to think it was a ‘rule’ that two songs written by the same person could not be placed side by side. Once all four of them were writing, it was certainly unusual.

Those early albums, in particular, flow so beautifully that, for me, nothing really stands out as being oddly placed. If I had to name one, I would say Loser in the End, which sits a little uncomfortably both lyrically and musically in the wake of a succession of Brian’s magnificently dark and introspective songs.

The songs on the early albums are so consistently good that we don’t (in my opinion) get a run of two or more weaker songs side by side that would have been better split up. Peaks and troughs are a bit more of an issue with later albums, however. For example, I would have moved A Kind of Magic and used it to split the run of songs from One Year of Love that concludes the old side one.

‘Odd’ song placements are probably going to be most striking at the beginning and end of an album. It is worth bearing in mind that, in the days of vinyl, albums had two openers and closers — for side one and side two respectively.

There was a discussion on the old board about the best/worst album openers. I made the point that for these discussions to go anywhere (as opposed to ‘I think this … I think that …’) you have to start with some criteria. What are the things you think make for a good opener? You can then talk about songs in that context.

If memory serves, I think I said that a good opener for me does one or more of the following:

It is dramatic or striking in some way (eg Innuendo)
It conveys the mood or theme of the album as a whole (eg Staying Power)
It in some way suggests a ‘beginning’, either musically or lyrically (eg the opening to A Day at the Races)
It is a classic (Radio Ga Ga is the obvious one here, with its ‘Queen are back’ anthemic quality)

When I get time, I will rewrite it. The short version is that I thought all of Queen’s openers were good choices (and therefore not ‘odd’ in the context of this discussion), with the exception of Party.

Similarly, the best album closers will fit one or more of these:

Be of real quality (we’ve saved something really powerful to last eg Bohemian Rhapsody ... followed by God Save the Queen)
Have an anthemic quality and leave us feeling upbeat (eg Teo Torriatte)
Suggest an ‘end’ in some way (eg Was It All Worth It)
Provide a taster of what is to come (the Tomorrow Never Knows test! — eg the Seven Seas of Rhye snippet on the first album)

In the Lap of the Gods ... Revisited ticks all of the above haha.

So, bearing all that in mind …

I understand the point about Now I’m Here. It worked brilliantly as a set opener. I just think that Brighton Rock is such a powerful opener (it’s my favourite Queen song): we’re back and we have a unique sound. Plus there’s the continuity with the seaside music from the end of Queen II.

Let Me Entertain You is an album opener every day of the week. ‘Let me welcome you, ladies and gentlemen / I would like to say hello’ halfway through the album?! Daft.

I can see the reasoning behind starting with Mustapha — it is such a quirky, original song and it certainly has a very distinctive opening. Maybe Let Me Entertain You could have been placed second, following on immediately after Mustapha. It was there in the live set, of course, part of a double-whammy with We Will Rock You.

Two songs I think are oddly placed are My Melancholy Blues and More of That Jazz, both album closers.

I like My Melancholy Blues but it’s too downbeat to close the album (‘Another party’s over / And I’m left cold sober’). I would have closed the album with It’s Late with its big finish or bookended the album with We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, which is definitely in the wrong place.

More of That Jazz is also too downbeat (‘If you're feelin' tired and only / Uninspired and lonely’) and just a weak song by Queen’s standards, frankly. The less said about the hideous mashup, the better. And ‘Give me no more of that jazz’ doesn’t work for me as the closing message of an album called Jazz.

More of That Jazz sits unloved in the musical and lyrical shadow of the exuberant Don’t Stop Me Now, which, with Freddie’s voice soaring off into the distance, would have been a great way to end the album.

And, finally, Hot Space …

I sometimes wonder whether Under Pressure was placed where it was on Hot Space to keep people listening to the end (ouch). Having said that, it would be out of place anywhere on the album. A braver decision for me would have been to leave it off the album completely.
Great analysis! A Kind Of Magic has really weird track listing too. The original master had One Vision and Princes Of The Universe reversed on the album.

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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Good Apothecary Man »

Young Music Fan wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:31 pm

A Kind Of Magic has really weird track listing too. The original master had One Vision and Princes Of The Universe reversed on the album.
I didn't know that. An interesting nugget, if true.

Princes of the Universe would certainly have made for a dramatic and explosive opening. It's difficult to know where else to put One Vision. The beginning of the old side two, perhaps? Those song intros that fade in work well as album openers (Death on Two Legs is the best of them but also Play the Game).

One song I forgot to mention was Is This the World We Created. I would have swapped it with Hammer to Fall, bringing their 'Queen are back' album to end with a resounding blow. I wonder whether Hammer to Fall was originally meant to close the album (I believe Is This the World ... was written late in the sessions).

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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Young Music Fan »

Good Apothecary Man wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:19 pm
Young Music Fan wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:31 pm

A Kind Of Magic has really weird track listing too. The original master had One Vision and Princes Of The Universe reversed on the album.
I didn't know that. An interesting nugget, if true.

Princes of the Universe would certainly have made for a dramatic and explosive opening. It's difficult to know where else to put One Vision. The beginning of the old side two, perhaps? Those song intros that fade in work well as album openers (Death on Two Legs is the best of them but also Play the Game).

One song I forgot to mention was Is This the World We Created. I would have swapped it with Hammer to Fall, bringing their 'Queen are back' album to end with a resounding blow. I wonder whether Hammer to Fall was originally meant to close the album (I believe Is This the World ... was written late in the sessions).
It's not a very clear image but you can see on this page the alternative track listing. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/QUEEN-A-Kind ... 0008.m2219

Or alternatively you can download a whole file which has pictures of all Queen master tapes which features some different track listings: https://mega.nz/file/TuxyEIwS#OkxIpxD5T ... dAHV1XcP3Y

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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Sir Didymus »

Young Music Fan wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:36 pm
Good Apothecary Man wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:19 pm
Young Music Fan wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:31 pm

A Kind Of Magic has really weird track listing too. The original master had One Vision and Princes Of The Universe reversed on the album.
I didn't know that. An interesting nugget, if true.

Princes of the Universe would certainly have made for a dramatic and explosive opening. It's difficult to know where else to put One Vision. The beginning of the old side two, perhaps? Those song intros that fade in work well as album openers (Death on Two Legs is the best of them but also Play the Game).

One song I forgot to mention was Is This the World We Created. I would have swapped it with Hammer to Fall, bringing their 'Queen are back' album to end with a resounding blow. I wonder whether Hammer to Fall was originally meant to close the album (I believe Is This the World ... was written late in the sessions).
It's not a very clear image but you can see on this page the alternative track listing. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/QUEEN-A-Kind ... 0008.m2219

Or alternatively you can download a whole file which has pictures of all Queen master tapes which features some different track listings: https://mega.nz/file/TuxyEIwS#OkxIpxD5T ... dAHV1XcP3Y
Interesting find - presuming the 'wrong version' of AKOM in the note attached to that e-Bay listing is the "Highlander Version", which suggests Freddie's overhaul came quite late in the day.

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Young Music Fan
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Re: Odd song placements on albums

Post by Young Music Fan »

These are pictures of the master tapes I found online where they show alternative track listings. The most intriguing is Hot Space because if you assume the songs with the length then it comes up with an order like this:

Side A:
Action This Day
Las Palabras De Amor
Cool Cat
Body Language
Back Chat

Side B:
Put Out the Fire
Dancer
Calling All Girls
Under Pressure
Life Is Real
Staying Power

Also of interest is The Miracle as it shows Too Much Love Will Kill You was removed from the album very late on.

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