A Night At The Opera

Queen

Hollywood Records, 1975

http://www.queenonline.com/

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/17/1998

This album is what you may call a career-high. Like Zep's untitled album and VH's 1984, A Night At The Opera is the album that truly defines everything Queen was about. But I'll tell you right now to not get it as your first Queen purchase--or even your second. Why? I'll explain later. First, let's take a look at the tracks.

The album begins with the semi-rocker "Death On Two Legs" which they proceed to dedicate to someone special to them. (If you don't know, it had something to do with their first manager). The album is a strong blend of rock and of the operatic bombast that Queen made. "I'm In Love With My Car" is an even stronger rock song--not better, just different. Meanwhile, "'39" is a folk ballad telling the story of sailors gone. With just those previous sentences, I hit on one of the things that separated Queen from other bands. Each one is sung by a different band member. Freddie Mercury takes the first one, drummer Roger Taylor does the second one and guitarist Brian May is doing the last one. Their individual vocal talents add a different touch to each song.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But Queen is also well known for those vaudeville-type numbers. Here, you have "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon" (which is quirky and offbeat, but fun), "Seaside Rendezvous" (the same) and "Good Company" (which actually has a bit of a plot to it). Add the quiet "You're My Best Friend" and the rocker "Sweet Lady" and you got a very good album. To top it all off, they end with a rock version of "God Save The Queen." ('Course, if you have the re-released CDs, you'll get two extra remixes).

Finally, you have the big three songs of this album. The ones that make it a true classic. "The Prophet's Song" is a monster of a track. The only other band that would attempt to pull a song like this would be Led Zeppelin. Why? This song goes through so many changes, it's incredible. Next, you have the tender "Love Of My Life." Have you ever heard a rock band use a harp in one of their songs? Here you can. And it adds so much extra flavor to the song. This is the song I'd play if I ever got busted by my better half. Finally, there's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Time in and time out this song has been voted THE rock song of all-time in many circuits -- usually tying with "Stairway." That 20 years later this song hasn't gotten old is a testament to Freddy and his cohorts.

Now, WHY would I tell you to skip this album in favor for others in the Queen catalog? Simple. This is NOT the most accessible album written. Save a few songs, the rest of this album will most likely sail over your heads. If that happens, you may run the risk of throwing it out or trading/selling it back. Do yourself a favor. Pick up some other Queen albums and then come into this one prepared.

Top notch performances all around from the band (including bassist John Deacon--you THOUGHT I'd forgot about him, huh?), strong songwritting and a trademark sound make this album a classic. Be ready though, you must be ready to receive it properly--or you'll miss it. (In a way, it's like those commands from the alien space ship. I think).

Rating: A

User Rating: A


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© 1998 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hollywood Records, and is used for informational purposes only.