Given the bombast and harsh assault of Queen’s biggest hits, it’s a shock to find that the heart of the British quartet’s 16th album is made of soft, sweet, sticky, sentimental goo.
The goo actually goes down well: The nostalgic reverie, “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” and “Delilah” (in which Freddie Mercury makes a likable fool of himself singing a love ode to his beloved pet pussycat) both have a mellow, straightforward appeal. But Queen hasn’t forgotten how to rock--the catchy “Headlong” lives up to its name by swiping a ZZ Top electro-boogie groove. Throw in a bit of wry, very British quirkiness on “I’m Going Slightly Mad,” and you’ve got four strong tracks out of 12.
The rest of the time, Queen puts on its customary regal garb for heroic statements about undying love, lust for life, belief in God and other grand notions. It’s typical Queen, full of theatrical sound and fury with massed choruses of whooshing voices and treated guitars, all huff and puff. You know, the sort of bollocks the Sex Pistols quite rightly told us to never mind.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to five stars (a classic.)