A Kind of Magic!

The studio albums, live releases, compilations and box sets
Jake
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Jake »

Sir Didymus wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 3:47 pm
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? ;)
I love everything about Friends Will Be Friends. I even love listening to the instrumental. I love the 12” version especially. I’m still not sure why you don’t like it so much... that song is beautiful and definitely isn’t soft rock. I’d toss out the whole A Night At The Opera album before I’d toss that track out.

Jake
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Jake »

I’ve just loved the heaviness of the single edit of Who Wants To Live Forever... it’s like going out with a bang... the album version, I don’t know, it’s as if I’m expecting something more.

Kes
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Kes »

Jake wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:33 am
Sir Didymus wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 3:47 pm
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? ;)
I love everything about Friends Will Be Friends. I even love listening to the instrumental. I love the 12” version especially. I’m still not sure why you don’t like it so much... that song is beautiful and definitely isn’t soft rock. I’d toss out the whole A Night At The Opera album before I’d toss that track out.
Anthemic rock by numbers.

The sort of style they did SO much better on LOTG(R), and We Are The Champions.

It's probably a reasonable song, but resting alongside much better songs on GHII, it really gets it's limitations highlighted.

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Sir Didymus
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Sir Didymus »

Whilst the sentiment of the song is potentially good one, lyrically it never fails to make me cringe in its over-earnest, "Rik from The Young Ones gone soppy" approach to the verses. Just looking at those verses, with their piling up of OTT problems (Do you need a friend because the value of the pound has fallen? Is this guy a stockbroker?), awkward attempt at following 'creating' with the non-rhyming 'lumber', ridiculous idea that you can't see a doctor for a pain in your chest because they're on strike, specificity of the postman delivering you a letter from your lover whose phone number you've lost but that's okay... gawd, it gets ever more preposterous.

It basically sounds like exactly what it is: some multi-millionaire rock-stars who haven't had a "normal" day in at least 10 years, trying to write a song from the perspective of Joe Public, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink (but don't worry if that's blocked - you've got friends!), and trying to make it seem like they 'get' you. A song that hints at the possibility of making an intelligent contribution to the pantheon of songs about depression and anxiety, but throws it all away because problems don't matter as long as you have your HOMEBOIS!

Throw in a schmaltzy melody, a chorus so obviously designed to be a sing-a-long but lacking any of the joy of the band's previous calculated efforts to do the same. Factor in, as Kes noted, that there's better examples of this Queen-by-numbers archetype from a time when they were inventing the wheel rather than giving it a fresh coat of paint to hide a rusty sprocket or two. Sprinkle on the almost too crisp nature of the early digital production that takes any heart and soul that was left in the song and vomits it into a song best at home on a low-budget Mother's Day compilation album, and then - THEN - throw in the band's sheer audacity to think the song was good enough to form part of their encore on the Magic Tour and interrupt the flow of WWRY/WATC - and the sad reality that better singles were left off Greatest Hits II for this pish, and you've got the one song in their whole back catalogue that I absolutely detest.

But you know... happy thoughts... happy thoughts. I've got friends. It's all okay.

Kes
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Kes »

And then lay in the fact that we got it as a second single off the album, and for us, in the UK, potentially the best track on the album, Princes Of The Universe never got a 7" release.

It almost makes you hate the song more, that it's creation denied POTU the chance of being a major hit.

On the plus side, it gave about 600 fans the chance to shake hands with the band, but as I wasn't one of them, it's little compensation/consolation.

There aren't many tracks that made it onto the three greatest hits albums, that weren't top 30 hit singles, but Princes did, on the grounds that after the event, the band appreciated that it was one of the best songs they never had a hit with in their home country.

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Young Music Fan
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Young Music Fan »

I still don't understand the love for Princes Of The Universe to be honest. I think because of that reason it probably would've made a minor impact on the UK charts. It's like marmite you either love it or hate it. 1986 really wasn't a rock year compared to others so I don't think it will have appealed to the general public as much.

As Roger said in an interview back in 1977 they find it very hard to release a hard rock track due to them not being successful. If you think about it only three "heavy" Queen tracks reached the top 10, Seven Seas Of Rhye, One Vision and I Want It All. Seeing that Queen had already released a heavy song from the album you can sort of see why they didn't do a second.

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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Kes »

I wouldn't have said that One Vision was from the album, in the same way that Under Pressure was from Hot Space, or Crazy Little Thing and Save Me were from The Game. The singles predated the albums by f*cking months. By the time you bought the albums, those singles were already historical artefacts.

Why the love for Princes?

I guess it's because Queen WERE a rock band, and "at the time" most people who followed Queen, followed them because of that fact.

They probably lost more fans, because of the "average" tracks on AKOM, than they gained in the first three years of their existence.

On your point about "heavy" songs, I guess you would say that Innuendo isn't a rock song? As it's loosely based around and inspired by Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, I'd argue the toss, and THAT went to #1.

Princes is arguably Freddie's best composition of the decade, certainly best rock styled composition.

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Young Music Fan
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Young Music Fan »

Why I don't like Princes I think is the number of tempo changes and literally none of them flow together, it sounds like a cut and paste job with no link. I do find my likeness odd as it's one of a just a small handful of Queen songs that I've never liked.

I was debating Innuendo but I've never seen it any Queen rock lists and there are some softer, quieter segments in it.

Kes
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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Kes »

Not ALL rock songs are 12-bar blues.

Try Genesis, Wishbone Ash, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, all of these bands are rock bands, but have softer moments mid-song, and often.

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Re: A Kind of Magic!

Post by Good Apothecary Man »

Sir Didymus wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 3:47 pm
... but Friends Will be Friends has to be the worst song in their catalogue for me.
While I wouldn't go quite that far, I certainly agree with comments about it being a very ordinary song — certainly by Queen standards — and that's definitely not a compliment. I also agree about the awful lyrics. For me they're trying too hard to capture the anthemic, arms-in-the-air quality of their best stadium-ready stuff. The video pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the song.

The decision to interpose it between We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions on the Magic Tour was a real error of judgement. What an anti-climax that was. I wonder whether, when they put together the set list, they were expecting Friends would be number one across Europe and another show-stopping mega-hit.

The other notable thing for me is the joint songwriting credit for Freddie and John (along with Pain is So Close to Pleasure). Hey presto, they all end up with two songs each. Others will know more about these things than I do, but I have always seen that as a sign that they were sacrificing quality on the altar of equality.
Jake wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:33 am
I’d toss out the whole A Night At The Opera album before I’d toss that track out.
Errr ... I wouldn't.

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