Sunday, October 14, 2012

Queen - Innuendo

Innuendo. The album which was recorded in a race against time as Freddie Mercury's condition was worsening day by day in his battle against aids. Sound-wise, Innuendo was produced excellently and put together in a perfect way, that to me made this the best Queen album of all time. As a major fan of the 80's sound which is something that was preserved on this album, it also blends perfectly with one of the bands biggest trademarks, their choir backing vocals. Something that Queen drifted away from at the turn of the decade back from the sessions of Jazz and The Game is their old roots of the more hard rock sound. That is however something that has returned on Innuendo, specially when it comes to the solos. The sound that Brian May delivers is absolutely splendid.

Something else to notice about this album and the singles that was shot out from this record is the cover art. Painted by French artist Jean Ignace Isidore GĂ©rard, generally also known by the pseudonym of Grandville. This album cover is from a series of pictures from 1844 called "Un Autre Monde", which translates into "Another World". The picture used for the Innuendo cover is called "Juggler of Universes", and originally the painting wasn't coloured and the banana seen on the picture of the cover is also something that has been edited in.

Together with its predecessor "The Miracle" from 1989, Innuendo contains some songs that have been terribly underrated in my own opinion. People tend to stay with songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Don't Stop Me Now, Another One Bites the Dust, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, and so on. Of course there is the template of different taste among people when it comes to music, but also the lack of interest to really explore a band. Worth mentioning is that Innuendo contains the song which to me is the best song Queen have ever recorded, and I am with that little statement talking about the song "The Show Must Go On."

But to start of with some of the other songs the title track which got various kinds of elements to it, it breaks of as a pure rock song with the sound of the 80's brought into it. While going through the track, in the middle it breaks down into a little bit of mariachi which was played by Yes guitarist Steve Howe, then further into what I would call a kind of balletic music where the trademark Queen choir breaks in. After these two unusual elements of music combined it breaks into the solo of the great Brian May that is really hard rock inspired, I would even say it got elements of heavy metal, which makes it really appealing to my taste. Following this opening of the album it breaks into "I'm Going Slightly Mad", and to really break it down, I would describe it as a kind of psychedelic rock song done with an 80's twist, which makes it a really unique song.

"Headlong" was supposedly a Brian May track that was 'converted' into a Queen track, and can be described as a up-tempo rock song which is very catchy and would be a perfect party cracker. Next to mention is "Don't Try So Hard", which got a real ballad sound to it, the vocals used for the verses and chorus is what really strikes me in this song, and after reading around a little in the chorus Freddie sings up to a D5 in full voice. To be honest, I don't really got all those notes under full control, but it is worth saying. "These Are the Days of Our Lives" is the last song which had a music video made for it and shows Mercury in a terrible state of life and during the shooting even had trouble standing up, and to take May's words about the song and video combined, Freddie used it to really say goodbye.

"Hitman". The track that is a pure hard rocker and really stands out from most of the album as it keeps its tempo throughout the track where there never is a doll moment. Hitman is king! Before the closure of the album is the track "Bijou" which could be thought of as a kind of instrumental mostly featuring slow solo bids from May during most of the track and drifting towards the middle of the song there is a verse which is a declaration of love. After this the track picks up from the start with the solo bids and then slowly fades out.

"The Show Must Go On". I have heard this song about a hundred times, and I get the chills every time. Lyrically the song captures the true spirit of Freddie. The fact that this track is the closure of Innuendo is a decision that literally is perfect. With bids of the lyrics like "Inside my heart is breaking, My make-up may be flaking, But my smile, still, stays on!". This description strikes a real Queen fan at the heart because it is how Freddie spent his final hour, and also with the statement "I have to find the will to carry on! On with the show!". Again a perfect description of that he had the will to carry on singing until he died. As Brian May said. Freddie used his final hours actually recording material beyond the release of Innuendo, which was later used on "Made in Heaven".

Freddie Mercury died ten months after the release of Innuendo. Finalising his legendary legacy with Innuendo, the finest Queen album you can get your hands on.